Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Building Inclusive Research Capacity webinar examines the Decolonial "R's" of Research

Students sit at patio tables on the Arts Quad with the Grad House in the background.

A message from the Office of the Vice-President, Research and International.

Indigenous communities often experience extractive research methods when they are approached by non-Indigenous scholars from western post-secondary institutions. While there has been a shift in understanding and research ‘best practices’ in recent years, it is also important to highlight that Indigenous scholars and community advocates have long championed a principled approach to working with Indigenous communities.

This presentation will cover highlights of deceptively simple concepts theorized by Indigenous scholars for community-engaged research projects—known as the “Decolonial “R’s” of Research”—and together, we will consider their expansive meanings and implications in a typical university-based research project lifecycle. 

Please register to receive the Zoom link to participate.

The Decolonial “R’s” of Research: Principled Approaches to Engaging Indigenous Communities

  • June 11, 2024, 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.
  • Presented by the Indigenous Research Team


For more information or questions, please reach out to Indigenous.Research@uwaterloo.ca.

Big tech wants your attention. Not on Setori's watch

A young woman wearing headphones stares at her laptop screen.

By Naomi Grosman. This is an excerpt of an article originally published in Waterloo News.

Velocity startup Setori developed an artificial intelligence companion to improve Gen Z’s focus and guard against procrastination and raised $1 million USD in pre-seed funding. 

Setori is co-founded by two University of Waterloo engineering alum Logan Jeya (BASc ’14) and Marc Simard (BASc ’14) and solely staffed with Waterloo co-ops and graduates.

Following a successful first test of 200 users across five countries in North America, Europe and Asia, the startup is launching a beta test of its browser extension, Tori.

“We are helping younger generations reduce procrastination and putting things off, which is a common, anxiety-inducing problem,” says Jeya, CEO of Setori. “Major tech companies are spending big dollars and hiring staff specifically to get people to stop doing what they are doing and spend time on various online platforms. It’s going to get worse. The growth of this problem will be exponential.”

After nearly a decade working at various tech companies and consultancy firms, including Microsoft, Uber and McKinsey & Company, Simard, along with Jeya, became increasingly concerned about rising procrastination trends. They worried that this struggle for the attention of Gen Z and even younger generations could hinder their ability to achieve educational, professional and personal goals.

“We have to adapt to this new reality, and we believe the only way to win this fight for attention is AI like ours and helping people figure out what they need to focus on to reach their goal,” Simard says.

Toris are AI companions that help users focus. They grow and evolve as users accomplish tasks and goals.

Toris are AI companions that help users focus. They grow and evolve as users accomplish tasks and goals.

With design inspired by the popular Japanese virtual pet Tamagochi, Setori customers download the Tori browser extension and set up their individual goals. Tori tracks how users spend their time online, and users can proactively set up stretches of times for deep focus and divert attention from specific websites. As users achieve their goals, their Tori companion grows and evolves with them.

“Tori helps you say yes to starting and allows you to optimize your time by saying no to distractions,” Jeya says. “Our users who used to spend many hours a day on social media and experienced heightened feelings of anxiety due to putting off tasks, now see increased productivity and decreased anxiety.”

Waterloo grads make for ideal startup staff

As a budding startup, the co-founders prioritize hiring individuals not only for their technical skills but also for their ability to propel growth and execute the company's strategy. Jeya and Simard find that Waterloo alum stand out during the hiring process, resulting in the company hiring several Waterloo co-ops, two of whom have been offered full-time positions.

"We aim to recruit the best talent, regardless of their background," Jeya says. "While we consider candidates from major U.S. and Canadian universities, we find Waterloo grads stand out. Their co-op experience sets them apart. They're enriched with industry experience, having completed work terms at major tech companies in some cases," he explains.

Waterloo has the largest co-op program at a research-intensive university in the world with more than 70 per cent of students completing up to two years of employment experience during their studies.

"Waterloo alumni bring distinct strengths that are particularly powerful at a startup," Simard says.

Read the rest of the article on Waterloo News

Unlocking human potential through a universal basic income

Floyd Marinescu delivers a presentation on a stage.

This is an excerpt of an article published in the 2024 issue of Waterloo Magazine: Happiness.

Growing up in a family where money was scarce, Floyd Marinescu (BMath ’02) saw firsthand the psychological toll of working class poverty. When he learned about basic income, he felt he had discovered a key piece of the answer.  

He went on to launch UBI Works, a non-profit that shares knowledge and mobilizes support for basic income. Through the non-profit, he hopes to convince voters that basic income will not only reduce poverty, but also fuel our economy and help people lead more creative, fulfilling lives.   

Read more about Marinescu’s thoughts on universal basic income, and how it can help to improve lives and drive the economy.  

Participants needed for macular degeneration study

A patient wearing a headband undergoes visual stimulation from a computer screen.

A message from the School of Optometry & Vision Science.

Researchers at the School of Optometry & Vision Science are currently seeking adults 18 years and over diagnosed with macular degeneration who use their side vision to see for a study which examines whether reading can be improved through a combination of practice and the use of a safe, well-established technique for modulating brain function called non-invasive brain stimulation. Recently published results from the group suggest that a single session of non-invasive brain stimulation may have a short-term effect on reading in adults with macular degeneration. The current study is exploring the possibility of longer lasting effects.

Participants will be asked to read words on a computer screen for 9 study sessions (each 2 hours per visit) spaced out over a period of 2 to 3 months. Participants should not be undergoing eye-based injections and must be eligible for non-invasive brain stimulation (researchers will screen for this). Eligible participants will receive $20 per session in appreciation for their time and regional transportation costs will be covered. If you, your family members, or acquaintances might be eligible and interested, please contact Melanie Mungalsingh for more information at mamungal@uwaterloo.ca.This study has been reviewed and received ethics clearance through a University of Waterloo Research Ethics Committee.

Register for the "From Targeting in Academia to Promoting Trust and Understanding" conference

Registration for the upcoming international conference, "From Targeting in Academia to Promoting Trust and Understanding," is now open. The conference will take place from June 27 to 28 at Federation Hall.

Link of the day

30 years ago: Weezer

When and Where

The Student Health Pharmacy (located in the lower level of the Student Life Centre) is offering flu shots with no appointments needed daily from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Call 519-746-4500 or extension 33784 for more info. COVID shots will be available on appointment basis only. You can register online at studenthealthpharmacy.ca.

Warriors Youth Summer Camps. Basketball, Baseball, Football, Hockey, Multi-Sport and Volleyball. Register today!

Safeguarding Science workshop and more, throughout May and June. Public Safety Canada invites faculty, staff and students to attend a series of virtual event via MS Teams. Register to receive a link.

Food Truck Wednesday, Wednesday, May 8 to Wednesday, July 24, 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Arts Quad.

Accessible Education User Testing Group expression of interest form submission deadline, Monday, May 13 (end of day).

Sip sustainably at Ev3rgreen Café during Eco Week, Monday, May 13 to Friday, May 17. Bring your reusable mug and enjoy a free fair-trade coffee or tea with any purchase.

Esports Gaming Lounge, Monday, May 13 to Thursday, May 16, 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., Black & Gold Room.

Athletics and Recreation Open House, Tuesday, May 14, 9:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., SLC Great Hall. Stop by to find out how to get active and engaged with your fellow Warriors this term.

Warrior Rec Intramural Registration Deadline, Tuesday, May 14, 1:00 p.m. Other programs are ongoing. Find out more. 

Conversations on Democracy at a Critical Crossroads in an Era of Disinformation, Tuesday, May 14, 7:00 p.m., Centre for International Governance Innovation Theatre.

Seedling Swap, Wednesday, May 15 and Thursday, May 16, Environment 3.

Velocity Cornerstone Application Deadline, Wednesday, May 15.

Campus Life Fair, Wednesday, May 15, 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., Student Life Centre Great Hall.

Studying the Sacred: Water is Life, presented by Elaine Ho-Tassone, part of the Water Institute's webinar series: The Value of Water in Canada, Wednesday, May 15, 12 noon.

Anti-Racism Reads: Son of Elsewhere, Wednesday, May 15, 3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., QNC 0101 and online.

Velocity Presents: Innovation Open House, Wednesday, May 15, 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., SCH 228.

Clubs and Societies Days, Thursday, May 16, 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and Friday, May 17, 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., Student Life Centre Great Hall.

University of Waterloo Knowledge Mobilization Community of Practice, “Bibliometrics and Research Impact and Thinking Through How to Improve KM Metrics”, Thursday, May 16, 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Contact Nadine Quehl to request a Teams invitation or for more information. 

NEW - Faculty of Math Queer Film Series presents The Wedding Banquet, Thursday, May 16, 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Sexual Violence Awareness Month Speaker Series, Thursday, May 16, 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., MS Teams.

Deadline to register for Centre for Extended Learning (CEL) "Getting Ready to Facilitate Online CoursesTA Training – Spring 2024" course, Tuesday, May 21.

Dr. Craig Janes retirement celebration, Wednesday, May 22, 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., EXP 1686. RSVP by Wednesday, May 15.

Victoria Day holiday, most university operations and buildings closed, Monday, May 20.

Warrior Rec Instructional Registration Deadline, Tuesday, May 21, 11:59 p.m. Other programs are ongoing. Find out more. 

All staff are invited to play Games @ Lunch, Wednesday, May 22, 12 noon to 1:00 p.m., DC 1301.

Foundations of Collaborative Leadership, Chapter one of the Community Leadership Certificate (CLC), Thursday, May 23, 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. (virtual).

Sexual Violence Awareness Month Speaker Series, Thursday, May 23, 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., MS Teams.

You @ Waterloo Day, Saturday, May 25.

Tri-Agencies webinar on Sensitive Research and Affiliations of Concern (STRAC) policy (in English), Tuesday, May 28, 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Register.

Foundations of Collaborative Leadership, Chapter one of the Community Leadership Certificate (CLC), Wednesday, May 29, 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. (virtual).

Tri-Agencies webinar on Sensitive Research and Affiliations of Concern (STRAC) policy (in French), Thursday, May 30, 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Register.

Sexual Violence Awareness Month Speaker Series, Thursday, May 30, 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., MS Teams.

Generative Artificial Intelligence and the Literature Review, Wednesday, June 3, 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., LIB 323 learning lab.

Engineering Graduate Studies Fair, Wednesday, June 6, 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m., Engineering 7 second floor event space.

Indigenous Community Concert | Sultans of String "Walking Through the Fire", Monday, June 17, 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., Federation Hall.

Upcoming service interruptions

Stay up to date on service interruptions, campus construction, and other operational changes on the Plant Operations website. Upcoming service interruptions include:

  • Pathways connecting William Tutte Way and B.C. Matthews Hall closed for asphalt paving and repairs, Tuesday, May 7 extended to Friday, May 17 (weather dependent), pedestrian/bicycle and vehicle traffic to be re-routed around alternate pathways.

  • UW pedestrian pathway closures (Lot L to Ring Road, Ring Road to Laurel Trail), Monday, May 13, 8:00 a.m. to Tuesday, May 14 at 9:00 a.m., pedestrian and cyclist traffic to be detoured through Laurel Trail and/or Ring Road.
  • CMH Main Kitchen panel shutdown, Tuesday, May 14, 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., power to the kitchen will be shut off.
  • DWE C wing hot water system maintenance, Tuesday, May 14, 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., no hot water available in labs during maintenance period.
  • DWE A and B wings hot water system maintenance, Wednesday, May 15, 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., no hot water during maintenance period.
  • Physics, Earth Science and Chemistry, Chemistry 2, Centre for Environment & Information Technology fire alarm testing, Wednesday, May 15, 7:30 a.m. to 8:15 a.m., fire alarm will sound, building evacuation not required.
  • Village 1 fire alarm testing, Wednesday, May 15, 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m., fire alarm will sound, building evacuation not required.
  • School of Pharmacy, Integrated Health Building fire alarm testing, Friday, May 17, 7:30 a.m. to 8:15 a.m., fire alarm will sound, building evacuation not required.
  • University Club, Bauer Warehouse, Avril Building fire alarm testing, Friday, May 17, 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., fire alarm will sound, building evacuation not required.
  • Douglas Wright Engineering, Rod Coutts Hall, South Campus Hall, Carl Pollock Hall, Graduate House fire alarm testing, Tuesday, May 21, 7:30 a.m. to 8:15 a.m., fire alarm will sound, building evacuation not required.
  • Bright Starts Co-operative Early Learning Centre fire alarm testing, Wednesday, May 22, 7:00 a.m. to 7:30 a.m., fire alarm will sound, building evacuation not required.
  • Engineering 7, School of Optometry, Columbia Icefield, East Campus Hall, Engineering 5, Engineering 6 fire alarm testing, Wednesday, May 22, 7:30 a.m. to 8:15 a.m., fire alarm will sound, no building evacuation required.
  • UWP-Eby Hall, UWP-Wellesley Court, UWP-Wilmot Court, Claudette Millar Hall fire alarm testing, Wednesday, May 22, 1:00 p.m to 2:30 p.m., fire alarm will sound, building evacuation not required.
  • Stratford Campus electrical shutdown, May 26, 9:00 a.m., all electrical power shut down for four hours
  • E7 Bicycle Shelter snow guard installation, Friday, May 31, areas around and under the E7 shelter will be blocked off for vehicle and personnel access.