Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Janusz Pawliszyn receives the Chemical Institute of Canada's highest honour

Dr. Janusz Pawliszyn in his lab.

This article was originally published on the Faculty of Science website.

Dr. Janusz Pawliszyn received the Chemical Institute of Canada Medal for his outstanding contribution to the science of chemistry in Canada. Sponsored by the Chemical Institute of Chemistry, the CIC Medal is their top award.

Pawliszyn is a professor in the Department of Chemistry. His research focuses on the development and application of state-of-the-art, integrated and automated analytical methods and instrumentation, for on-site analysis and monitoring. 

He invented the Solid Phase Microextraction (SPME) technology in 1990, a game-changer in the field of analytical chemistry. The results of his research lead to the elimination of organic solvents from the sample preparation step and the miniaturization of the sampling devices to facilitate on-site monitoring and in-vivo analysis. SPME is a green analytical tool and initiated scientific interest in microextractions. The flexible format of SPME technology allows the design of devices exceeding the performance of traditional analytical tools while meeting the objectives of global sustainable development. 

SPME-based technologies are used worldwide for the detection of chemicals both in the lab and various on-site and field applications. When paired with other techniques, SPME technology is also used as a health and safety tool, enabling rapid risk assessment. Pawliszyn has used SPME to detect pesticides in honey, life in the ocean, doping in sport. SPME can analyze samples on-site, cost-effectively, and without the use of polluting solvents or expensive labs. SPME is also versatile, with human health applications in cancer detection and drug screening.

"Janusz Pawliszyn’s impact on modern analytical chemistry can be described as truly foundational, with central contributions to detection technologies used around the globe in the chemical, environmental and medical arenas," said John Corrigan, Chemistry Chair.

He is a Canada Research Chair and NSERC Industrial Research Chair New Analytical Methods and Technologies. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, University Professor and Editor-in-Chief of Trends in Analytical Chemistry and Green Analytical Chemistry. Earlier this year, he was ranked the second chemist in Canada among the top 100 worldwide in Research.com's Rankings of Highly-Cited Chemists.

He will give a plenary lecture at the Canadian Chemistry Conference and Exhibition (CSC 2023) in June.

Pawliszyn is the second Waterloo chemist to receive this award. Canada Research Chair and Waterloo chemist Linda Nazar won the award in 2019.

OneButtonPIN increases security for blind and low-vision tech users

A smartphone in a woman's hands.

Working closely with blind and low-vision (BLV) users, researchers at the University of Waterloo and the Rochester Institute of Technology have developed a new authentication method that could help BLV technology users more securely access their devices. The new method, OneButtonPIN, allows users to input PIN codes using a single large button and a series of haptic vibrations.

People with BLV frequently express frustrations with existing authentication methods such as drawing patterns, fingerprint and face scans, and PIN codes. Some methods are difficult to use effectively without visual data. Others are vulnerable to privacy attacks.

OneButtonPIN addresses these security issues by using haptic vibrations imperceptible to outsiders. When prompted to enter a PIN code, the user presses and holds a large button on their smartphone screen. This activates a series of vibrations separated by pauses; the user counts the number of vibrations corresponding to the number they desire to enter, then releases the button and repeats the process until the desired numbers are entered.

While biometrics such as fingerprints and face scans are unique and easy to use, a person’s biometrics cannot be changed or reset, explains Stacey Watson, a lecturer in computer science and one of the researchers on the study.

“More traditional forms of entry are vulnerable due to many BLV people’s use of screen reader technology,” said Watson. “PIN users are vulnerable both to eavesdropping and shoulder surfing attacks, which is where someone nearby can observe a user’s device without their knowledge.”

In a research study, nine BLV participants installed OneButtonPIN apps on their phones. They were first tasked with entering randomly generated PINs using the OneButtonPIN method several times, then instructed to use the app at least once a day for a week as part of a diary study. The study revealed that OneButtonPIN allowed users to input codes with an average of 83.6 per cent accuracy or above, as opposed to 78.1 per cent accuracy using traditional methods.

The method also proved to be incredibly secure. In the second stage of the study, 10 sighted participants watched videos of people using both traditional PIN entry methods and OneButtonPIN, then attempted to guess their PIN codes. Every participant was able to successfully guess users’ PINs using traditional methods, but no one could successfully guess code input using OneButtonPIN.

“While OneButtonPIN was designed for BLV people, many users will appreciate the added security,” Watson said. “When we make things more accessible, we make things more usable for the average user as well.”

The study was published in the Proceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction.

Personalize your Program Hoodie at W Store

Personalize your program hoodie graphic image showing a mock-up of a hooded sweatshirt.

A message from Print + Retail Solutions.

Create your unique program hoodie based on your personal UWaterloo experience. This custom program hoodie allows you to personalize it with your choice of program embroidered on the front chest and the option to customize the left sleeve with your name.

You can find the hoodie at wstore.ca. Select your program from the scroll-down menu of options by faculty. If you do not see your program, please contact wstore@uwaterloo.ca to submit a request, which is subject to approval based on the University’s brand guidelines.

All custom orders are final sale. No refunds or exchanges are permitted due to the customized nature of the product. Orders can not be altered after the order window has closed on February 3, and turnaround time is approximately eight weeks after the ordering window has ended.

Centre for Teaching Excellence to host instructional skills workshop

A message from the Centre for Teaching Excellence (CTE).

The Instructional Skills Workshop (ISW) is an intensive, collaborative learning model that uses video-recorded micro-teaching and peer feedback sessions to support participants' teaching reflection and growth. The ISW encourages examination of teaching practices with feedback focused on the learning process rather than on the specific content of the lesson. At the same time, participants are able to work on discipline-specific teaching.


  • Wednesday, February 22, 2023. 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • Thursday, February 23, 2023. 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • Friday, February 24, 2023. 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Each participant will receive a widely-recognized certificate of achievement. The ISW requires 24 contact hours, over three or four days.

The workshop will be hosted in-person in MC 2036.

Get ready to sweat it out at UWAG this week

Women sit in a sauna and watch a flatscreen TV screen.

The University of Waterloo Art Gallery (UWAG) is inviting members of the community to show up and sweat in the name of art and culture.

"Mobile Sweat is a customized utility trailer that has been converted into a fully-functioning sauna heated by a wood burning stove, and can comfortably seat 6 to 8 people," says a note from UWAG. "It is a hybrid sauna inspired by diverse sweat practices found around the world with the goal of promoting social connection and wellness."

The sauna is equipped with a video monitor and will screen a series of short performance videos by Norwegian artist Stein Henningsen including Habitat, Timeline II, and The Boat, as well as You can tell me more a new video by Waterloo-based UWaterloo MFA alumni Lauren Prousky.

Sauna and screenings are free and open to the public Thursday, February 2 and Friday, February 3 from 12 noon to 5:00 p.m. daily.

Participants are invited to check-in at the University of Waterloo Art Gallery between 12 noon and 4:30 p.m. Bathing suits are recommended, but participants can also experience the sauna wearing light clothing. Shoes cannot be worn inside the sauna so consider bringing a pair of flip-flops and a towel. A limited number of towels will be available. Coats, clothing, footwear, and other personal items can safely be stored at the gallery. Accessible public bathrooms in East Campus Hall are available for use as impromptu change rooms.

Mobile Sweat is presented at UWAG as a lead up to Art Spin’s Public Sweat festival, taking place in March and April 2023.

Art Spin is led by the collaborative curatorial duo of Layne Hinton and Rui Pimenta. Since 2009, Art Spin has produced a number of unique festivals, group exhibitions, and bicycle-led art tours with the objective of exploring art in public spaces. Notable projects include in/future, an 11-day multidisciplinary arts festival on the West Island of Ontario Place in 2016, and Creation:Destruction part of the City of Toronto’s 2019 Nuit Blanche all-night art event. Art Spin has been featured in the New York Times, Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, VICE, and CBC.

"Please join us for an inspirational sweat!" says UWAG.

Link of the day

A house music 12-inch single in a cardboard sleeve with notes and doodles inked on the record's circular inside label.

Reading house music's history from its used records

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 (uwaterloo.ca).

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.

Did you know that the Writing and Communication Centre offers many in-person and virtual services to support you with any writing or communication project? This term we've added The Write Spot: a new student space in South Campus hall, complete with bookable workspaces, drop-ins with our peer tutors, and free coffee and tea. We also have one-to-one appointments with our writing and communication advisors and peer tutors, email tutoring for grads and undergrads, drop-ins at Dana Porter Libraryonline workshopswriting groupsEnglish conversation practice, and even custom in-class workshops. For any communication project, the Writing and Communication Centre is here to support you.

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 spaces, computers/printers, and the IST Help Desk. For in-depth support, meet one-to-one with Librarians, Special Collections & Archives and Geospatial Centre staff. Visit the Library’s home page to access our online resources for anywhere, anytime learning and research.

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 Office of Equity, Diversity, Inclusion & Anti-Racism (EDI-R) works with students, faculty and staff across campus to advance equity and Anti-racism through evidence-based policies, practices and programs. If you have a concern related to Anti-racism and/or equity, please complete our intake form.

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: svpro@uwaterloo.ca 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 caps@wusa.ca.

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 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.

Fitness and Personal Training - Registrations opened January 5 this winter with Personal Training and Small Group Training as well as a Free Warrior Workout Program.

Student Health Pharmacy in the basement of the Student Life Centre is now offering Covid booster shots (Pfizer and Moderna) and flu shots. Call 519-746-4500 or extension 33784 for an appointment. Walk-ins always welcome.

2SLGBTQ+ Fundamentals, Tuesday, January 31, 10:00 a.m. to 12 noon, online.

NEW - World Wetlands Day 2023 symposium, Wednesday, February 1, 5:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Federation Hall.

Warrior Basketball vs. Laurier, Wednesday, February 1, (W) 6:00 p.m., (M) 8:00 p.m., PAC. Shoot for Change, Alliance “We Are One” Game, Mike Moser Day. Buy your tickets today!

The Balsillie School presents The Age of Anarchy: Navigating a World Where Everyone is Connected and No One is in Charge, Wednesday, February 1, 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., CIGI auditorium and online.

NEW - UWAG presents Mobile Sweat, Thursday, February 2 and Friday, February 3, 12 noon to 5:00 p.m., East Campus Hall adjacent to UWAG entrance across from Parking Lot B.

FASS presents "The Other Side of the Story," Thursday, February 2, Friday, February 3, and Saturday, February 4, 8:00 p.m., Theatre of the Arts. Tickets are pay what you can Thursday, $12 Friday and Saturday.

NEW - Quantum Today: Metamaterials for Broadband Light Absorption, with Professor Michael Reimer from the Institute for Quantum Computing and the Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering, Friday, February 3, 12:00 noon, live on YouTube.