January 2017

Teaching my first class: Putting the Certificate of University Teaching into use

students sitting around a table

Interacting with students and sharing a topic that you’re passionate about is a great academic and professional development experience. The Centre for Teaching Excellence’s Certificate in University Teaching (CUT) program gave me the skills and confidence to teach with great success, receiving excellent course evaluations at the end of semester.

Experiencing GRADtalks through a kindred spirit’s eyes

Kaylen Pfisterer and Samantha Biglieri

We are Kaylen Pfisterer and Samantha Biglieri, PhD students at the University of Waterloo. While we come from different disciplines – Systems Design Engineering and Planning – and are interested in different system boundaries – the food plate and the city – what brought us together is our passion and dedication to supporting health, aging and wellbeing through creative approaches.

Learning personal effectiveness in grad school: Choosing to connect and practice mindfulness

student behind pile of book

Last year, I started grad school. After taking four years away from academics, starting a master’s program was a big transition. Between the mountain of readings, assignments, duties as a teaching assistant, and taking advantage of opportunities for professional development, I began to feel overwhelmed.

GRADventure Specialist profile: Paige Stirling

Paige Stirling

I am a PhD Candidate in the Faculty of Arts Department of Psychology. I am in the Industrial/Organizational Psychology division. My research focuses on the development of competencies through experience. In addition to my role as a PhD candidate, I have also worked as a teaching assistant and have lead a project for the Waterloo Organizational Research Consulting group.

Professional Skills Communications and Events Specialist profile: Sarah Howard

Sarah Howard

I am a recent graduate of the University of Waterloo, having just completed my MA in Political Science. My master’s research focused on policy change initiated by coroner’s inquests following deaths in custody. I am excited to be remaining part of the UWaterloo community as the Professional Skills Communications and Events Specialist in Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs.

GRADventure Specialist profile: Sonya Buffone

Sonya Buffone

I am a Ph.D. Candidate in the Faculty of Arts, in Sociology and Legal Studies. My research interests are in methodology, and police studies. My dissertation examines the roles, and activities, of media relations officers in police services in Ontario. I want to understand how police construct crime for the public, how they manage their image, and how they view their relationship with the media.

GRADventure Specialist profile: Nyasha Gondora

Nyasha Gondora

I am a PhD candidate at the School of Pharmacy and co-supervised in the School of Public Health and Health Systems. Broadly, my research is in the field of neuropharmacology. Specifically, I am investigating Receptor Tyrosine Kinase (RTK) signaling in neurons, as well as investigating the impact of early life adversity on the expression of key brain receptors.

Learning how to teach: My experience with the Centre for Teaching Excellence

empty classroom

I was introduced to the Centre for Teaching Excellence (CTE) during graduate student orientation. I completed both CTE programs - Fundamentals of University Teaching and the Certificate of University Teaching (CUT) – in anticipation of teaching an undergraduate course in calculus as part of my PhD.

Professional Development in a Second Language

Reza Babaee

I’m an international doctoral student and English is not my first language. It was a challenging experience to learn oral and written communication skills in English at the doctoral level. As soon as I started my PhD, I found out that Renison University College offers two courses tailored to graduate students whose first language is other than English through their English for Multilingual Speakers program.

Jump-starting my thesis at dissertation boot camp

two people working

Last month I participated in the Writing and Communication Centre’s Dissertation Boot Camp. During the four days I wrote 3,000 words and learned how to design a writing routine for my dissertation that is sustainable and stress-free. 

Program Management and the PhD: Professional Development in the Field

Beth in Jamaica

When I was accepted into my PhD program, I’ll admit I was afraid of becoming an armchair academic – pulled out of the field for four years, rapidly losing the skills I learned at work. Receiving a fieldwork grant was a great opportunity to maintain my program management skills during my studies.

The Grad Writing Café: an antidote to my weekly writing hurdles

Students working

For over a year now, the Writing and Communication Centre (WCC) has been hosting weekly group writing sessions on Fridays from 9am-12pm. Graduate students in attendance follow the Pomodoro technique where they write for 25 min followed by a 5-min break. It is a fantastic idea but just like everyone else, it was difficult to make the Writing Café a part of my routine.

GRADventure Specialist profile: Beth Timmers

Beth Timmers

I am a PhD Candidate in the Faculty of Environment’s School of Environment, Resources and Sustainability. I’m part of the Faculty’s Global Food Politics Group. My doctoral research looks at Jamaica’s domestic food system as part of a larger research program on food security across seven low- and middle- income countries: the Hungry Cities Partnership.  

GRADventure Specialist Profile: Xiao-Bo Li

Xiao-Bo Li

I am a PhD student in the Cheriton School of Computer Science, Faculty of Mathematics. My research is about the mathematical aspects of modeling protein structures. For example, one of the topics I work on is demonstrating that a variety of protein dynamics problems can be formulated as low rank positive semidefinite optimization problems.

GRADventure Specialist Profile: Richard Li

Richard Li

I am a PhD candidate in the Faculty of Science’s Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences. My research focuses on shale gas reservoir characterization and resource development technologies. In addition to my role as a PhD candidate, I also currently work on campus as a teaching and research assistant, training program coordinator, and GRADventure Specialist.

Three PhD candidates join the GRADventure team

The three candidates

Over winter term 2017, PhD candidates Beth Timmers, Richard (Ruiqiang) Li, and Xiao-Bo Li are working on a range of projects in the Graduate Studies Office (GSO) which support graduate professional skills.

3MT: You absolutely can do this

Cheryl Chan competing in 3MT

Ultimately, I practiced a new skill, accomplished something that I never thought I could, and gained new perspective on my work. If you have registered for this year’s competition and are thinking, “I can’t do this,” I assure you: you absolutely can.

Exploring Your Options: A Primer on Informational Interviews

two people talking

Recently, I decided to conduct an informational interview. I think it was the best decision I made in a long time. If you don't know what an informational interview is, basically, it’s when you interview someone who has a career that you might be interested in. You can find out first-hand what the job really entails, or about the path required to obtain that job.

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