Monday, November 21, 2022

    Brandon Sweet
    University Communications

    Celebrate International Education Week 2022 from November 21 to 25

    Smiling international students with their hands held high.

    A message from Waterloo International.

    Today is the first day of International Education Week 2022. Every year, educational institutions, governments, and non-profit organizations celebrate international education worldwide through events showcasing global scholarship's merits. It is a great opportunity to recognize and promote the value of education and collaboration at home and abroad and the importance of internationalization on campus. We are excited to celebrate IEW 2022 with our campus community.

    Various events are planned in person and virtually throughout the week for students, staff, and faculty to learn more about other cultures and experience different perspectives. This is a collaborative effort organized by multiple departments, academic support units, and student groups coordinated by Waterloo International.

    Check out the Waterloo International events section to find out everything happening during the week.

    Please let us know how you are celebrating by sharing your activities on social media using the hashtag #IEW2022. Also, look for further articles this week highlighting ways in which Waterloo supports internationalization activities.

    Follow us on Twitter at @WaterlooINT as we document the week's events.

    Provost provides update on inclusive washroom initiative

    A washroom sign with braille beneath it.

    A message from Vice-President, Academic & Provost James W.E. Rush.

    I am proud to share that the Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Anti-Racism Office, in partnership with the Waterloo Undergraduate Students Association and the Glow Centre, is expanding gender neutral washroom options on campus. I want to sincerely thank the Waterloo Undergraduate Students Association, the Glow Centre, and other trans and non-binary campus community members for their dedication in initiating and advancing this important work.

    At least one washroom in every building on campus is being proposed for conversion. You will see signage, currently on the door of each proposed washroom, with a survey soliciting feedback on the location.

    Every building will still predominantly contain gendered multi-stall washrooms and/or will have single stall washroom options for campus users who prefer a gendered or individual washroom space. The final list of washrooms will be evaluated to ensure there is a reasonable balance of men’s and women’s washrooms available in each building. 

    Once the identified washrooms are converted following consultation, having options available to everyone in our community will be a critical step in enhancing the safety, access, and options for our trans and non-binary campus community members. 

    Future phases of this project will also include exploring opportunities to enhance accessibility features in washrooms across campus, making minor infrastructure improvements, and installing new single stall washrooms where feasible.

    Thank you in advance for your support in making the campus a safer, more welcoming space for all students, faculty, and staff.

    Please email if you have any questions about the project.

    Waterloo startup testing nanotechnology to reach better postoperative patient outcomes

    A person uses a handheld device near an anatomical medical model.

    By Etta Di Leo. This article was originally published on Waterloo News.

    Youssef HelwaGrowing up, Youssef Helwa was fascinated by his mother’s stories about the patients she cared for as a surgeon. Those conversations became the inspiration behind his company, FluidAI. FluidAI, formerly NERv Technology Inc., is currently developing a smart monitoring system that will examine biological data and alert health-care providers to possible complications following abdominal surgery. 

    The current standard of care sees an average of eight per cent of all abdominal surgeries developing serious post-operative complications. The complications are typically clinically silent, presenting no symptoms until the issue becomes serious and life threatening. By the point of symptom onset, the complications can carry an average mortality rate of 12 per cent. 

    “The best way to comprehend the problem is to think about the operative care journey for patients,” says Helwa. “Patients come out of surgery, and unfortunately, a subset of these patients ends up developing some sort of complication. They start becoming sick with symptoms, and doctors must start playing the game of investigating why these patients are feeling sick.” 

    FluidAI’s smart monitoring system removes some of that guesswork by helping caregivers identify leaks, bleeds or potential infections much earlier than the current standard of care. Detecting these clinically silent issues before the onset of detectable symptoms allows the health care provider to intervene before the complication becomes critical. This reduces both mortality and the length of stay at the hospital in recovery. 

    “Right now, the timeline between investigation of the root cause and treatment is a problem. If you can pick up on the complication from the point it manifests and intervene or change how you're administering care to the patient, you could end up with drastically different results.” 

    Support through their university career and beyond

    Helwa’s path to founding FluidAI started at the age of 15. Helwa was living in Saudi Arabia when he learned about the Nanotechnology Engineering program at Waterloo. The following year, he began his studies and soon discovered the potential impact engineering could have on medical care. “I started to wonder if I could bridge engineering with current problems in medicine to come up with a way to have better results for how patients recover.” 

    Helwa soon became friends with Amr Abdelgawad, and the two began to build a vision of how they would disrupt the field of medicine. 

    “Both of us come from families who are in medicine. Together we aligned our vision and our objectives to make something happen. We worked on our ideas throughout our undergrad program, and then during my masters, I had a supportive supervisor who empowered us to continue to work on the company. That gave us access to state-of-the-art research facilities and great minds who helped us tackle one challenge after another.” 

    The growth of a biomedical ecosystem at Waterloo

    When Helwa and Abdelgawad founded FluidAI, the ecosystem for medical devices was new in the Waterloo region. 

    “When we got started, there was a lot of knowledge and a lot of past experiences from software and hardware companies, but there weren’t many medical device companies. The ecosystem advanced dramatically over the last five to seven years. The number of medical companies increased exponentially. Waterloo has been behind that change with the University’s biomedical engineering program and places like Velocity and Medical Innovation Xchange helping health-care startups.” 

    He credits the University of Waterloo with preparing him to build FluidAI and embarking on the life of an entrepreneur. 

    “My time [at Waterloo] was a valuable transformational experience for me. It's not like I come from a family of entrepreneurs. Waterloo provided that strong entrepreneurial mindset and mentality.” 

    The University of Waterloo is building out a pipeline for health innovation in Southwestern Ontario thanks to a $10-million investment from FedDev Ontario. 

    The investment will support a new partnership between Velocity, Western University, the City of Kitchener and Medical Innovation Xchange (MIX) to build a Southwestern Ontario Health Innovation network. This partnership will strengthen the Canadian tech ecosystem, specifically in the health and medtech sector by supporting innovators and entrepreneurs from start to scale. 

    Clinical trials and beyond

    Today, Helwa is the Chief Executive Officer of FluidAI and he continues to focus on scaling his startup to a leading medical company. Abdelgawad is the Chief Operating Officer while other Waterloo grads include Abdallah El-Falou, FluidAI’s Chief Technology Officer, who works on the development of the organization’s technology and Mohamed Okasha, FluidAI's Research & Development Scientist who has contributed to the development of the sensor technology. 

    FluidAI is in the process of conducting clinical studies at several sites across North America, including the world-renowned Cleveland Clinic, and the company has recently raised more than $7 million in funding. They received Health Canada approval in early 2022 and expect to have a global reach with their ground-breaking device. 

    “Very recently, we reached the point where our devices are functioning every minute of every day on patients somewhere in the world. The feedback has been incredible. We went into the clinical studies with certain expectations, and so far, it’s been a blessing where we are surpassing every one of our expectations.” 

    W Days event in SCH concourse this week

    A model sports a University of Waterloo sweatshirt.

    A message from Print + Retail Solutions.

    Start your holiday shopping early. W Store is hosting its annual W Days Event starting Monday, November 21 to Friday, November 25. The event is in the South Campus Hall concourse from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. each day.

    Shop apparel, technology products, drinkware, accessories, stationery and more. Items are priced at $40, $30, $20, $10, or less.  Shop early for the best selection. Items are only available while supplies last. W Days is an in-person event and will not be available to shop online.

    Senate meets today and other notes

    The University's Senate meets today at 3:30 p.m. in NH 3407. Among the agenda items:

    • A motion to approve a new research-based Doctor of Philosophy in Entrepreneurship and Organization, offered by the Conrad School of Entrepreneurship and Business, effective September 1, 2023;
    • A motion to approve the removal of a part-time option from the Master and PhD in Pure mathematics and both the Master and PhD in Pure Mathematics-Quantum Information;
    • A motion to approve identifying the process for students to enter the thesis study option for the Master of Mathematics in Pure Matematics and the Master of Mathematics in Pure Mathematics-Quantum Information;
    • A motion to approve removing the personal statement from the list of minimum admission requirements for the PhD in Pure Mathematics and the PhD in Pure Mathematics-Quantum Information;
    • A motion to approve adding a transfer entry internship option to the PhD in Combinatorics and Optimization and the PhD in Combinatorics and Optimiziation-Quantum Information programs, in addition to keeping the regular exiting PhD programs;
    • A motion to approve adding a Master's Research Paper study option to the Master of Mathematics in Data Science program;
    • A motion to approve the proposed Biomaterials and Tissues Specialization, Mecial Artificial Intelligence Specialization, and Medical Devices Specialization, effective September 1, 2023;
    • A motion to approve the proposed Building Science Specialization effective September 1, 2023;
    • A motion to approve changes to the Bachelor of Sustianability and Financial Management, effective September 1, 2023;
    • A motion to approve the 2023-2024 academic calendar dates and calendar guidelines for establishing academic dates;
    • A motion to approve the Principles and Guidelines for Digital Learning, effective January 1, 2023;
    • A motion to approve revisions to the Academic Decisions for the Faculty of Engineering, effective Septemebr 1, 2023;
    • A motion to approve revisions to the Academic Promotion Rules for the Faculty of Engineering, effective September 1, 2023; and
    • A motion to approve revisions to the Undergraduate Communication Requirement for the Faculty of Environment, effective September 1, 2023.

    Senate will also receive a report from the University Committee on Student Appeals, and reports from the President, the Vice-President, Research & International and the Vice-President, Academic & Provost.

    "We want to hear from grad students" banner from the Centre for Career Action.

    The Centre for Career Action is putting the word out about Grad WIL Focus Group opportunities.

    "Support the development of grad work-integrated learning opportunities by sharing your feedback!" says a note from the CCA. "Apply by November 25 to join focus groups taking place in early December. All focus group participants will have $10 added to their WatCard as a thank you for participating. Learn more about the Grad WIL focus groups."

    Link of the day

    A television test card with colour bars.

    Don't change the channel - it's World Television Day

    When and Where to get support

    Students can visit the Student Success Office online for supports including academic development, international student resources, immigration consulting, leadership development, exchange and study abroad, and opportunities to get involved.

    Instructors looking for targeted support for developing online components for blended learning courses, transitioning remote to fully online courses, revising current online courses, and more please visit Agile Development | Centre for Extended Learning | University of Waterloo (

    Faculty, staff, post-doc and graduate student instructors can find upcoming teaching and learning workshops, self-directed modules and recordings of previous events on Centre for Teaching Excellence Workshops and Events page.

    Instructors can access the EdTech Hub to find support on Waterloo’s centrally supported EdTech tools. The Hub is supported by members of IST’s Instructional Technologies and Media ServicesCentre for Teaching ExcellenceCentre for Extended Learning and subject matter experts from other campus areas.

    Supports are available for employees returning to campus. Visit IST’s Hybrid Work and Technology guidelines and workplace protocols to assist with the transition.

    Students with permanent, temporary and suspected disabilities and disabling conditions (medical conditions, injuries, or trauma from discrimination, violence, or oppression) can register with AccessAbility Services for academic accommodations (classroom accommodations, testing accommodations, milestone accommodations).

    Instructors can visit AccessAbility Services' Faculty and Staff web page for information about the Instructor/Faculty role in the accommodation process. Instructors/Faculty members are legally required to accommodate students with disabilities. AccessAbility Services (AAS) is here to help you understand your obligations, and to offer services and resources to help you facilitate accommodations.

    The Writing and Communication Centre has in-person and virtual services to support grad and undergrad students, postdocs and faculty with any writing or communication project. Services include one-to-one appointmentsdrop-ins at Dana Porter Libraryonline workshopswriting groupsEnglish conversation practice, and custom in-class workshops.  

    Research Ethics: Find yourself with an ethical question, unsure if your work requires an ethics review, or need advice about putting together a research ethics application? Reach out to one of our friendly staff by booking a consultation or email us with your questions.

    Co-op students can get help finding a job and find supports to successfully work remotely, develop new skills, access wellness and career information, and contact a co-op or career advisor.

    The Centre for Career Action (CCA) has services and programs to support undergrads, grad students, postdocs, alumni, and employees in figuring out what they value, what they’re good at, and how to access meaningful work, co-op, volunteer, or graduate/professional school opportunities. Questions about CCA's services? Live chat, call 519-888-4047, or stop by our front desk in the Tatham Centre 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday.

    Drop-in to in-person Warrior Study Halls on Thursdays from 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. in DC and DP. Join a Peer Success Coach to set goals and work independently or in groups each week.

    Renison's English Language Institute continues to offer virtual events and workshops to help students practice their English language skills.

    If you feel overwhelmed or anxious and need to talk to somebody, please contact the University’s Campus Wellness services, either Health Services or  Counselling Services. You can also contact the University's Centre for Mental Health Research and TreatmentGood2Talk is a post-secondary student helpline available to all students.

    The Library is here to help, both in person and online. Our spaces are open for access to book stacks, study space, computers and printers, and the IST Help Desk. For in-depth support, meet one-to-one with Librarians, Special Collections & Archives and Geospatial Centre staff. Access our resources online for anywhere, anytime learning and research. Full details on current services and hours are available on the Library’s COVID-19 Update webpage.

    The Faculty Association of the University of Waterloo (FAUW) continues to advocate for its members. Check out the FAUW blog for more information.

    The University of Waterloo Staff Association (UWSA) continues to advocate for its members. Check out the UWSA blog for more information.

    The Sexual Violence Prevention and Response Office (SVPRO) supports all members of the University of Waterloo campus community who have experienced, or been impacted, by sexual violence. This includes all students, staff, faculty and visitors on the main campus, the satellite campuses, and at the affiliated and federated Waterloo Institutes and Colleges. For support, email: or visit the SVPRO website.

    The Office of Indigenous Relations is a central hub that provides guidance, support, and resources to all Indigenous and non-Indigenous campus community members and oversees the University's Indigenization strategy.

    The Waterloo Indigenous Student Centre, based at United College, provides support and resources for Indigenous students, and educational outreach programs for the broader community, including lectures, and events.

    WUSA supports for students:

    Peer support - MATESGlow CentreRAISEWomen’s Centre - Click on one of the links to book an appointment either in person or online for the term.

    Food Support Service food hampers are currently available from the Turnkey Desk 24/7 in the Student Life Centre. Drop-off locations are also open again in SLC, DC, DP, SCH, and all residences.

    Co-op Connection all available online. 

    Centre for Academic Policy Support - CAPS is here to assist Waterloo undergraduates throughout their experience in navigating academic policy in the instances of filing petitions, grievances and appeals. Please contact them at

    WUSA Student Legal Protection Program - Seeking legal counsel can be intimidating, especially if it’s your first time facing a legal issue. The legal assistance helpline provides quick access to legal advice in any area of law, including criminal. Just call 1-833-202-4571

    Empower Me is a confidential mental health and wellness service that connects students with qualified counsellors 24/7. They can be reached at 1-833-628-5589.

    GSA-UW supports for graduate students: 

    The Graduate Student Association (GSA-UW) supports students’ academic and social experience and promotes their well-being.

    Advising and Support - The GSA advises graduate students experiencing challenges and can help with navigating university policies & filing a grievance, appeal, or petition.

    Mental Health covered by the Health Plan - The GSA Health Plan now has an 80 per cent coverage rate (up to $800/year) for Mental Health Practitioners. Your plan includes coverage for psychologists, registered social workers, psychotherapists, and clinical counselors.

    Dental Care - The GSA Dental Plan covers 60 to 70 per cent of your dental costs and by visiting dental professionals who are members of the Studentcare Networks, you can receive an additional 20 to 30 per cent coverage.

    Student Legal Protection Program - Your GSA fees give you access to unlimited legal advice, accessible via a toll-free helpline: +1-833-202-4571. This advice covers topics including housing disputes, employment disputes, and disputes with an academic institution.

    The Graduate House: Open Monday to Tuesday 11:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and Wednesday to Friday 11:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. We’re open to all students, faculty, staff, and community members. The Graduate House is a community space run by the GSA-UW. We’re adding new items to the menu. Graduate students who paid their fees can get discounts and free coffee.

    When and Where 

    Warriors vs. Laurier Blood Donation Battle. Join our “Waterloo Warriors” team on the website or app. #ItsInYouToGive

    Warriors Game Day Tickets and Season Passes, on sale now. Cheer on your Warriors W/M Basketball, Football W/M Hockey and W/M Volleyball teams at home during the 2022-23 season. Purchase today.

    Free Staff Workouts, Tuesdays and Thursdays until December 22, 12:15 p.m. to 12:45 p.m. Bootcamp-style classes in the CIF Field House and PAC. Open to all staff and supported by the Staff Excellence Fund. Find out more/register now.

    Flu shots available at Student Health Pharmacy, Monday to Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., dial ext. 33784 for info.

    Institutional Research Data Management (RDM) Strategy town hall, Monday, November 21, 10:00 to 11:30 a.m., please register to attend in person (Enterprise Theatre – Room 1111 in EC5) or virtually (MS Teams Live).

    WaterTalk: Does the framing matter? On dissent, consensus, and scientific controversies in policy-relevant research, presented by Gunilla Öberg. Monday, November 21, 12 noon to 1:00 p.m., DC 1302. Reception to follow.

    Senate meeting, Monday, November 21, 3:30 p.m., NH3407.

    Gender Discrimination in Academia Past to Present: Conversation with Anne Dagg, informal discussion over hot drinks and pastries, Monday, November 21, 4:00 p.m., STC 2001 lounge area.

    “We Remember: A Candlelight Vigil to Remember Lost Loved Ones”, Monday, November 21, 7:00 p.m., St. Jerome’ s University Chapel (SJ1).

    NEW - Dean’s Distinguished Visiting Professor Lecture featuring Mostafa H. Ammar, School of Computer Science, Georgia Institute of Technology, "Riding Along with the Time-traveling Networking Researcher," Tuesday, November 22, 11:00 a.m., DC 1302 and online via Zoom.

    WaterLeadership: Sharing Science | Effective Presentations, presented by Elise Vist. Tuesday, November 22, 12:30 p.m. in DC 1304.

    The Games Institute presents A Panel Discussion on Games and Education, Tuesday, November 22, 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., EC1 and virtually on Teams.

    Singapore information-sharing session, Tuesday, November 22, 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. (hybrid), location TBD. Email Waterloo International for meeting link and more details.

    CIHR Health Services Evaluation & Interventions Research virtual information session, Wednesday, November 23, 12:00 noon to 1:30 p.m., Zoom. Registration link.

    Scholars at Risk membership meeting, Wednesday, November 23, 2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Teams. Email Waterloo International for meeting link.