Posts for the Topic Student Experiences

Engaging in Professional Development During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Navya and her supervisor stand by Navya's poster presentation.

Tell us a bit about yourself. What is/was your program and research focus?

From Field to Film: Making Science Accessible

We all care about our research. We think our projects are cool, our data is important, and the answers to our questions will save the world. We know the lingo, speak the language, and understand the background. We are immersed in our topic 24/7, 365 days a year, for what feels like forever. So when asked why other people should care about my research, and to explain it in only 60 seconds, I really had to stop and think. Because why WOULDN’T everyone care?!

Getting involved in student associations for professional and personal development: Reflections from a year-long mandate as the Computer Science (CS) Graduate Student Association (GSA) President

As a graduate student at the University of Waterloo, there are many opportunities to develop personal and professional skills by joining a student association. These individual benefits, as usually advertised by the associations, include: making a positive impact in students’ social lives, influencing community life on campus, networking, and transferring the skills we learn as students into a more professional dynamic.

Benefits of a team-driven PhD

Before starting my PhD at the University of Waterloo, I had the expectation that a PhD would involve me picking my own research problem and working independently on the problem. My first semester during the PhD brought me to the realization that I would be working in teams on multiple industry projects, which were supposed to guide me towards identifying a relevant research problem.

Developing leadership skills as a grad student: My experience as a Community Assistant

Betsy Mathew, second from left, with the Community Assistant team at the CLV Ping Pong/Foosball/Pool tournament. (Photo credit:

I started my master’s program in September 2018 and have been living in Columbia Lake Village (CLV) since then. When I saw the posting for the CLV Community Assistant position for the winter semester, I was more than happy to apply. I’ve always wanted to develop my leadership skills and thought that this was the perfect opportunity.

Recognizing, building and articulating skills: The Foundations experience

Professional Skills Foundations logo

In summer 2019, Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs celebrated the first completions of Professional Skills Foundations (Foundations), including those by Irina Oltean and Swakshar Saha. To learn more about what it’s like to participate in Foundations, I checked-in with Irina and Swakshar to hear about their experience.

GRADflix - Make every frame a painting

The GRADflix winners pose on the red carpet

If I asked you to explain your research to me in 1 minute, what would you say? This was the question I kept asking myself while I was brainstorming ideas for my entry to GRADflix earlier this year. As a previous contestant in University of Waterloo’s Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition, I knew how tricky it was to condense my thesis work into a 180 second talk and the thought of shortening this down further to only 60 seconds seemed downright impossible at first.

Keys to research productivity: Work-life balance in the Waterloo Region

Rocks balanced on the beach

How does one avoid burnout in grad school, and maintain a high degree of personal effectiveness in one’s “GRADventure?” The answer to that is “don’t forget to have fun” – relaxation is key. ... Take advantage of what is around. There are many things one can do in Kitchener-Waterloo and surrounding areas.

Internship 101, Part 1: Are graduate students too smart for internships?

Justine Salam attends a conference on Europe's energy future while an intern with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

Few graduate students, especially those in PhD programs, pursue internships during their graduate studies. Are graduate students too smart for internships? Having completed an internship during my PhD, the short answer is, “certainly not.”

Gaining perspective through interdisciplinary collaboration

Simron Singh, Audrey Chung, Justin Carpenter, George Dixon, and Jeff Casello at GRADtalks

We are Audrey Chung and Justin Carpenter, two PhD candidates at the University of Waterloo, and we were the speakers at Beyond 60: The Promises and Realities of Artificial Intelligence. We’re from different disciplines — Systems Design Engineering and English — and, as a result, approach the topic of artificial intelligence quite differently.

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