Brittney Baldwin, BIS 2014
Brittney has graduated from the BIS program and examined the role of perversity as a quest for knowledge by analyzing of the works of Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, Edgar Allan Poe, Ann Radcliffe, and Marquis de Sade.
Brittney explored ideas of perversity – both sexual and political – and how they manifested in the cultures of figures analyzed as well as her own. She engaged with literary criticism as well as queer theory, gender and sexuality studies, and historical texts that focused upon European and American culture from 1740 to 1895.
In her thesis, Brittney concluded that definitions of sexuality and gender are fluid and have existed alongside culturally-perceived “appropriate” culture throughout time. The intrinsic relationship between fluidity and the resultant repression efforts by authority figures is where perversity lies.
Along with pursuing these interests, Brittney also wrote a novella entitled SMASH that engaged with Libertine and Dark Romantic themes while evoking current issues such as various forms of abuse, sexuality, challenging cultural norms, and coping with trauma while evoking Gothic Horror.
Since earning her Bachelor of Independent Studies, Brittney has been planning on pursuing a Master’s degree focusing on a cultural study of knitting and various yarncraft as a means of personal expression as well as social involvement. She is entertaining theories of relating the trend of knitting “inappropriate” things.
“The Independent Studies program ultimately changed my life. It allowed me to pursue theories that I entertained since the beginning of my undergrad. The program inspired my interests, passions, and pushed me to expand my outside life. By the end of my stay with IS, I had landed on wildly different conclusions about perversion than the ones I entered with. The Independent Studies program has been one of the most valuable experiences I have ever been given the opportunity to explore.
Tatiana Emanuel, BIS 2013
Tatiana Emanuel graduated from the Independent Studies program in June 2013, with minors in Psychology and Philosophy. She received an Arts Departmental Award for Distinguished Academic Achievement upon graduation. Her thesis examined critical thinking (CT) in education. For this thesis, Tatiana conducted a review of literature focused on defining CT, understanding the CT expectations in education, and expounding on how CT is best developed. She then enhanced her study through original analysis of a selection of Ontario’s curriculum documents and a survey of professors teaching at universities across Ontario to identify CT promotion and expectations.
Currently, Tatiana is attending the University of Toronto’s School of Law, and she enjoys the new challenge law school offers.
Tatiana remains interested in discovering how individuals can reach their potential, and is a volunteer with the Law in Action Within Schools program, which helps to support and motivate high school students in the region. She is eagerly awaiting the review of her paper on Critical Thinking in Education and possible publication in an academic journal.
Tatiana is also interested in issues of International Law and Public Policy. She serves as an assistant editor on the Law Review Journal in the International Law cell group at her university. She has also received the Dentons Canada LLP Scholarship through the 2013 BBPA (Black Business and Professional Association) Scholarship Fund, and appreciates the support provided by these groups.
According to Tatiana: “Attending IS was one of the best decisions I have ever made. The program allowed me to step outside the “norm” to do something incredibly valuable with my undergraduate degree. I have also found the intense research I practiced and the academic and communication skills I developed with IS to be integral to my current and future success. I will always be grateful to the people I worked with through IS, and for the contacts and friends I have made that will last a lifetime.”
Tatiana would love to talk to any IS students interested in any of the fields she has studied, and would be pleased to offer any assistance she can. She would also be happy to talk to students about the IS experience in general.
View Tatiana's thesis, Defining, Demanding, Developing the Critical Thinker (PDF).
Carol Helfenstein, BIS 2013
Carolyn Helfenstein joined the IS community in September 2010. A Newfoundlander by birth and heritage, Helfenstein was educated in Ontario, and at the age of 17 stepped right into a teaching job (six grades in a one-room school house north of Toronto), clearly showing what were to become her roots as an independent learner.
This most unusual opportunity came about as the Ontario Ministry of Education in the 1950s was short of teachers willing to work in small, one-room schoolhouses. After two successful years teaching with a temporary certificate, Carolyn received a permanent teaching certificate.
Flash forward in time and to Ontario where Carolyn and her husband, Harry ”followed a dream” and bought a dairy farm in rural Ontario. For the next 25 years, Carolyn, the "City Girl, fell in love with farming and learned to adapt. The joy of raising three children in a rural setting surrounded by cows and Old English Sheepdogs was a wise choice."
In 1986, it was time for another change. They had put their farm up for sale and admit they couldn’t resist the challenge to buy Teeswater's community newspaper.
They shadowed the previous owners for one month and then picked up the reins and began the painful experience of “learning by doing.” They could not resist entering the yearly provincial competitions and over the years The Teeswater News won over a dozen prizes in Ontario for business writing, farm features, and a highly acclaimed feature on “women in farming.” Carolyn’s favourite section featured a special group of men and women who had been institutionalised since early childhood because they were academically and in some cases physically challenged, and who were now "brought home for good."
The Ontario Community Newspaper Association (OCNA) recognized Helfenstein’s passion for writing and asked her to run for a place on the OCNA Board of Directors. Six years later she was their chair.
In the mid-1990s, their paper succumbed to the economic realities that faced most small businesses at the time: lack of revenues, an abundance of 'flyers,’ and the closing of small independent retails stores which defeated the Helfensteins’ efforts to keep their paper viable. Carolyn was the last person to switch off the light at The Teeswater News.
Carolyn turned to writing again even while Harry was organizing the transformation of their log home into a bed and breakfast. Visit Carolyn and Harry at their lovely home, complete with the restorative and rejuvenating benefits of the many Lake Huron vistas.
In 2008, Carolyn’s first book was published. Why Not? A Memoir in Black and White received positive reviews in the dailies and in rural magazines. Recently, Carolyn started her most ambitious endeavour of writing a four-generational non-fiction book that begins in 1790 England and follows two families through the decades of Newfoundland's history. Her need for research, facts, and guidance to complete the task successfully brings her to Independent Studies, participating ‘at a distance’ from Kincardine, Ontario.
Says Carolyn, “With the support of the University of Waterloo and Anne Dagg, my ever-encouraging IS academic advisor, there is the possibility that I may not only graduate from the three-year program, I may find a publisher for Newfoundland, the completed second book.”
Good to have you as a part of the IS community, Carolyn!
Josh Garofalo, BIS 2012
Josh shares his observations about his studies at IS in his blogpost called University of Waterloo Journey at the Alumni news section.
At the October 26, 2013 convocation, Josh received his Master of Digital Experience Innovation (MDEI).
Congratulations, Josh, on the success of your studies and we wish you good fortune with your endeavours at Marmot Labs Inc!
Ashling Ligate, BIS 2012
Independent Studies is truly is the only place at University of Waterloo where I can pursue my interests. As an IS student, I feel supported and encouraged to explore subjects that push my limits and go beyond the constraints of mainstream academia. I am currently working towards a thesis that will explore the ways that performance arts may be used to destigmatize abortion and create opportunities for dialogue around reproductive health in Waterloo Region.
I am thankful for the opportunities available to me through IS that complement the other parts of my life. I am currently serving as President on the Board of Directors at the Waterloo Public Interest Research Group (WPIRG), which is a student-driven organization on our uWaterloo campus that works on issues of social and environmental justice. I also work as the Public Educator at the Sexual Assault Support Centre of Waterloo Region.
Heidi Vukovich, BIS 2012
Heidi tells us,
The Independent Studies program, on many levels, has offered me more than I had expected. I began as a very mature adult, when I already had 28 years of teaching experience behind me, but felt energetic and curious enough to become a student again.
The sheer joy in attending classes of personal interest, such as contemporary literature, psychology and sociology in itself was a great enrichment. What further delighted me in the Independent Studies program were the tireless help, encouragement and support I received from professors, the administration staff, and the library staff. Being a very mature student, I often experienced the need for extra effort.
The writing-process of my thesis on imagination and education had an extra bonus. I was able to re-discover my love for teaching and renew and greatly expand my understanding of child development.
I very much would like to encourage any mature adult who is interested, and yet may experience doubt, to enroll again in a university studies especially at IS. It is a worthwhile effort.
Read Heidi's thesis, Imagination: A Tool with Potential (PDF).
Sue Patrick Breit, BIS 2011
Sue Patrick Breit was awarded a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship (CGS) – Master’s, 2011-2012.
The acknowledgement of her work has meant the world to her, and is, she insists, a testament to the value of the unique undergraduate program in which she was enrolled. She explains: “In Independent Studies I’ve been able to pursue, in depth, research about which I am passionate. The structure of the program has allowed me to successfully juggle academia, motherhood, and music. Through IS, I discovered potential I did not know I had. I’m really going to miss everyone there.” But move on she must.
Sue has decided to approach her SSHRC funded research in a way that adequately reflects its focus on our experience of that which is intelligible yet indeterminate. She says: “I agree with Martha Craven Nussbaum who points out that ‘an abstract theoretical style makes, like any other style, a statement about what is important and what is not, about what faculties of the reader are important for knowing and what are not.’”
My intention is to blend theory with forms of expression that demonstrate the elliptical nature of language (e.g. poetry) and that show how communication is not merely contingent on clear and precise terms. (e.g. music) - a sort of hermeneutics of the unsayable.
Sue has been accepted into York University’s MA program in Interdisciplinary Studies where there is tremendous enthusiasm and support for such an approach. Her advanced research skills and extraordinary organizational abilities will, with loving support from family and friends, ensure her continued success. Look for her CD out soon and for a book in the coming years!
Emma Dines, BIS 2011 - 1st Honours BIS in 2011
Emma Dines graduated from Independent Studies with a 4-year Honours degree in October 2011. She is the first IS student to graduate with an Honours BIS!
Emma's pre-thesis work spanned such topics as theatre and empowerment, contemplative practices and education, and comparative theories of yoga and drama. Her pre-thesis work also took her abroad to study cultural, ecological, and social sustainability in several established eco-villages, including the small community of Findhorn in Northern Scotland, and the diverse city of Auroville in Southern India.
Emma's thesis project was an experimental narrative exploring themes of consciousness in terms of content, style, and genre.
She now teaches narrative-driven yoga and is a design apprentice for the Upstart Collaboratory for Collaborative Culture Designing, a think-tank and learning community based in Kitchener-Waterloo.
I am an Independent Studies student enjoying the program to its fullest at the University of Waterloo. My focus is education: alternative, experiential, environmental, holistic — you name it, I'm interested in it.
Thesis project phase
Emma is currently in thesis phase of her Independent Studies degree. Her final project is an experimental narrative and novel that explores themes of consciousness in terms of content, style, and genre.
The themes explored in the narrative include: how boundaries are created by consciousness at different levels of awareness; how the world is interpreted by individuals at different levels of consciousness (or how a world view creates what is seen); how people know what they know (epistemology and validity claims) and how consciousness expands through individual effort and collective momentum.
Emma has chosen Jeanette Winterson as a literary model for this exploration of language, and aims to study and employ the stylistic devices and philosophical objectives that Jeanette Winterson has contributed to the field of literature.
Emma says that she “loves being in Independent Studies. My pre-thesis work was diverse and exciting, taking me abroad to study sustainability, consciousness, and group dynamics in Scotland and India. My on-campus work included many theatre courses where I examined theatre and empowerment and comparative theories of yoga and drama. My final thesis project draws on all of these areas, drawing them together into one final creative hurrah!”
Doris Lemon, BIS 2011
Field of study: My Independent Studies pre-thesis work is to link family genealogy with the history of each period that brought ancestors to North America. It will show the effects of immigration on the families and will commence with immigrants in 1630 to Brooklyn in New Amsterdam with wilderness and warring Indian survival. The time frame will cover the Thirty Years War in Europe, the Huguenot persecutions in France, Penn's settlement in Pennsylvania, The American Revolution followed by settlement in New Brunswick and then Upper Canada with involvement in the War of 1812-14 and will conclude with the Rebellion of Upper Canada 1837.
With my academic advisor's direction it will be determined if the distaff side should be a focus of one area of study as the stories of four outstanding pioneer women ancestors are included.
It is my intention to enter these histories, with lineages of the families involved, family charts and pictures and create a fully indexed hard bound volume which will be housed in the Public Archives of Canada and The Ontario Genealogical Society's collection in the North York Public Library.
Extra activities: I am a passionate family genealogist and have researched, written and self-published eleven family histories. I attend genealogy and heritage fairs and assist others with their genealogical searches. I served in executive offices, including President, in the Grand River Branch, United Empire Loyalists' Association of Canada. On the Dominion level of the United Empire Loyalists' Association I held office as Regional Vice President and also the Education Outreach Chair which involved workshops from Kingston to Winnipeg.
I currently serve on 'Legacy 1812', a Provincial Committee appointed to determine ways to celebrate the Bicentennial of the War of 1812-14. In preparation for this bicentennial, I gave a talk on "The Effects of the War of 1812-14 on the Inhabitants of Norfolk County". This talk has been published in the recent book "Loyalist Families of the Members of The Grand River Branch, United Empire of Loyalists' Association of Canada (UELAC)". I served on the editorial committee for the publication of this book.
Extensive research is required for another current project, also due in 2014. This will be an alphabetical listing of loyalists and their sons and daughters who received grants of land in Norfolk County 1796-1832. Their lots will be plotted on a map of Norfolk County. This will be a valuable research tool for people searching ancestors in Norfolk County and, when completed, will be housed in the Donly Museum, Simcoe, Ontario.
Rob McRae, BIS 2011
Rob believes that Independent Studies is the ideal place for a person who has diverse or unconventional areas of interest, is mature and self-motivated in his or her approach to learning and study, and is not afraid of creating and exploring new possibilities.
That is why Rob knows it is the ideal program for him.
Coming to uWaterloo specifically for “the hidden jewel that is the IS program,” Rob is a mature student with clear direction towards a pastoral counseling profession. To this end he brings a solid foundation and understanding of world religions and mystic traditions — a field in which he published his first book in 2006 (Living As God: Healing the Separation, Namasté Publishing, Vancouver).
Rob is delighted to use the flexibility of the IS degree to deepen this knowledge by studying both religious and psychological fields (in both its mainstream and eclectic areas) and to learn more about how to apply and integrate ancient wisdom (such as advaita, meditation and self-inquiry) to Western psychotherapeutic healing techniques (such as cognitive/behavioural therapy).
Currently, he volunteers teaching a meditation based stress-reduction technique within the Grand River Hospital’s Withdrawal Management Centre and hopes to do much more work of this kind.
Visit Rob's website, Empty Fullness.
Sian Tsuei, BIS 2011
Sian pursued concurrent degrees in IS and in Biotechnology/Economics, Co-op. He has traveled and worked abroad for the last few years. Sian worked at the University of Notre Dame as a research assistant during his 2A co-op term and garnered a co-op report award for his clear delineation of the scientific theories underlying the experiment concerning protein C knock-out mice. After the co-op term, Sian participated in a ten-month exchange at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, where he volunteered to complete a review paper concerning the dietary effect on relieving the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis. He is currently on co-op at Shanghai Children’s Medical Center assisting with the various needs of the laboratory investigations, and aims to apply for medical school in the near future.
During his exchange and co-op experiences, Sian has observed the darker side of humanity. In macroscopic terms, he is concerned about the large socioeconomic disparity between the various classes around the globe, while microscopically, Sian is deeply troubled by the selfishness of individuals, which often drive people to shrug away human morality as “better” opportunities roll into view.
Driven by these disturbing feelings, Sian’s aim in Independent Studies is to complete a novel that explores the darker side of human instincts in the context of looming global challenges including global warming, population stress, decreasing energy supplies, and soaring weaponry threats.
“These global strains will exert a visible effect on our lifestyles in the near future,” insists Sian, “as each global citizen strives harder to maintain his or her current standard of living. These struggles will likely unravel much of our societal etiquettes and moral codes, at that point when survival instincts kick-in, effectively setting the stage for a battle royale.”
Sian tells us:
During my undergrad years, my global work and study experiences led me to question the socioeconomic inequality more critically. My IS thesis therefore examined the contemporary Chinese population—one of the countries that showed much socioeconomic inequalities during my stay.
The IS study showed that the wealthier and the more educated the Chinese population, the more likely they are to think that they have good health even though they are more likely to be overweight, hypertensive, and diabetic. I am now entering post-graduate studies, and I hope to one day link my economics background with my interest in medicine.
Gloria Workman, BIS 2011
Read Gloria's thesis, Justice that is Healing: Responding to Domestic Violence in Aboriginal Communities (PDF).
Carol Deutschlander, BIS 2010
Throughout her career, Carol Deutschlander, Certified Business Analysis Professional (CBAPTM), has worked to develop and establish business analysis (BA) best practices and promote the value business analysis brings to projects. She is currently a Business Analysis Manager at Home Hardware Stores Limited, Canada’s largest independent home improvement retailer. Prior to joining Home Hardware, Carol was Requirements Manager at Research In Motion, leading designer, manufacturer, and marketer of innovative wireless communication solutions.
Carol’s experience includes 19 years in the financial industry. She was an Associate Director of IT Business Analysis at MCAP — Canada’s largest independent mortgage and equipment financing company — where she coached the company’s BA community, developed processes for its system development life cycle, and delivered business requirements and product risk assessments on a variety of projects. Carol was also a Business Analyst at Sun Life.
Carol is an active supporter of the International Institute of Business Analysis (IIBATM). She has served as a member of the IIBA Role Delineation and Certification Framework Committees and as a member of the international Board of Directors. Carol has also served as the IIBA Vice President of Education and Certification, which allowed her to lead a team of volunteers in the development and launch of the Endorsed Education Provider program and the CBAP (Certified Business Analysis Professional) certification program. Her involvement with IIBA allows her to continue defining the role of the business analyst and to support the CBAP certification process.
The Independent Studies program permits Carol to explore her passion for business analysis against this emerging professional perspective within the worldwide business community. Carol states that “this unique undergraduate degree program provides me the opportunity to tailor my curriculum directly in conjunction with my profession, which keeps my progress in both on the edge of the latest developments.”
Shelagh Freedman, BIS 2010
Shelagh's thesis is entitled, The Hidden Observer Effect with Ideomotor and Challenge Suggestions: A Real-Simulator Investigation.
Andy Hourahine, BIS 2010
Andy Hourahine has been wandering around the halls of academia from 1993 and graced the campus of a few notable Ontario universities. However, after a chance glance at a local flyer outside the psychology department, he finally found a home within the Independent Studies Program.
Under the tutelage of such experienced professors as Michael Elmitt, William Abbott, Mark Havitz, and Troy Glover, Andy expanded his ideas of an “activated” community. His thesis project, Active Cambridge, concerns building a comprehensive activity and communication network in cooperation with provincial, regional, and local governments in hopes of inspiring a more vibrant and healthy community.
Andy’s future plans include graduate studies with the Recreation and Leisure Department at the University of Waterloo, as well as expanding the Active Cambridge initiative, and his existing fitness facility. In summer 2012, Andy was awarded the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Medal and recognized as a "distinguished Canadian" for his work creating Active Cambridge. Andy tells us that this achievement is a direct manifestation of his thesis developed in IS.
When not moonlighting as a student, Andy can be found coaching at his martial arts and fitness centre, homeschooling his three beautiful children, or walking and photographing with his wife, Nicole.
You can read Andy Hourahine's thesis (PDF).
Yoni Newman, BIS 2010
Sujoy Bandyopadhyay, BIS 2009
Sujoy Bandyopadhyay initially started his academic career in uWaterloo's Fine Arts Film program but switched to the Independent Studies, which better suited his diverse interests. Sujoy happily and creatively found a way to incorporate his different fields of study in the IS program.
Sujoy’s thesis is entitled, Maps of Human Communication: Science and the Arts. It deals with language and how the use of language imposes a structure on empirical reality, which may or may not be congruent with the current knowledge of the sensory experiential world. In the same way the structure of written language can define the content of a sentence, many different film making techniques are also explored to examine how they impose a structure on the content of a film.
Sujoy wrote and directed three short films for his thesis, in order to provide examples of film-making that adhered to an Existentialist structure.
Sujoy is currently involved in writing a feature length screenplay, as well as a graphic novel. He is also working as a DP (Director of Photography) for the web show A Quest for a Quest, which recently received a grant from the Region of Waterloo Arts Fund.
Additionally, Sujoy is interested in the field of Interpersonal Psychology and wants to pursue graduate work in this field.
You can read Sujoy Bandyopadhyay's thesis (PDF)
Orin Bishop, BIS 2009
Orin Bishop is a student in the Independent Studies (IS) program studying Game Design, specifically boardgames. He is interested in the logical workings and mechanisms of games, and what makes them fun, independent of graphics, sound, storyline, etc. He is, however, also an aspiring composer, and likes to 'doodle around' on the piano, and although he is not a great pianist, he can take any song he hears and figure out the accompaniments.
Orin has designed several boardgames, one of which is scheduled to be released by Steve Jackson Games in the fall of 2009. He is a fervent believer in the potential educational power of games and the utility of games to society in general, and thinks they deserve to become a more respected art form. He hopes to one day teach game design in an academic setting.
Thesis project phase
When I tell people that I'm studying game design, they generally ask whether it's board or computer games, or why I'm not in Computer Science, or something along these lines. Game design is a relatively new discipline, and I think it's high time we start defining what exactly it is.
My Independent Studies thesis is intended primarily as a guide on how to design games, but I also tackle the issue of what should and shouldn't fall under the rubric of actual design as opposed to programming, graphics, story, etc.
I discuss games in terms of their underlying formal structure and paint a picture of how changes to the structure's logic and mathematics affects changes to the game play at an experiential level. Additionally, I examine how the same basic design principles tend to apply across gaming media as well as across various game types and genres.
Orin's thesis is entitled Game Design Concepts (PDF).
Orin co-founded NeverBored Studios, a small group of indy game developers currently working with the iPhone/iPod Touch. Their first game, ThreadBound, is a unique puzzle platformer in which the player controls a stick bug to form walls, ramps and bridges in order to protect a "thread bug" named Spindle.
ThreadBound has received positive reviews, and has been highlighted in TechVibes. The 99-cent game currently has 54 levels, but players can use the included level editor to send NeverBored Studios their own levels for inclusion in future updates. This first update will add online chat, leaderboards and achievements.
Follow Orin at his blog, Orin Bishop Rambles About GamesOrin is always looking for new testers for his game prototypes. If you are interested, contact Orin by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Trevor Leslie, BIS 2009
Trevor returned to Independent Studies in 2005 to finish his BIS requirements and thesis work regarding “family happiness” knowing that only in IS could he approach his topic in an inter-disciplinarian manner, and that IS provides the flexibility he needed to be self-directing in his research.
Trevor conducted his pre-thesis research drawing on such disciplines as Sociology, Recreation and Leisure Studies, Psychology, Marriages and Families, Social Anthropology, Philosophy, and Economics. His work included interviews with professionals in various fields and drawing on his personal experience.
Trevor’s thesis research examined how money shapes family happiness. He interviewed couples who are part of a three generation family and determined how financial choices affect the family unit today. Trevor observes that the problem of “negative materialism” is widespread in North America and the advancement of credit in the marketplace is only making this problem worse. Trevor believes his study is timely because actions in North America have implications worldwide as individuals in developing countries focus on increasing their wealth and countries wish to participate in the international economy.
Financial problems are still a major reason for divorce. I believe the result of the study provides evidence answering the question, “Can money shape family happiness?” Acquiring money need not be negative and thus I have coined a new sociological theory:Positive Materialism Theory.
It is Trevor’s passion to add to the collective work on this subject and affect positive social change for as many as possible. He hopes that his research will further research conducted by others.
Trevor comments, "University of Waterloo is only one of three universities in the world known to offer a program such as IS. Students considering IS should not be intimidated by its “elite” nature. If you have a unique area of interest and self discipline, then the rewards offered by this program will far exceed the extra motivation needed to excel is this exclusive program.”
In 1995, Trevor started his own business, A+ Computers Inc, which now employs seven people, and managing and developing A+ Computers continues to hold his business interests. Trevor is married with two children and has been a life-long resident of Waterloo.
Read Trevor's thesis: Positive Materialism: How Does Money Shape Family Happiness? (PDF)
Emma Manchester, BIS 2009
She is here to save the day! She doesn't really know how yet, and she wants to have fun doing it...Can art save the day? Can playing in the sun save the day? Stay tuned!! (It is Emma's first year in IS. She is taking interesting classes this term like psychology, sociology, theories of play + Canadian short stories).
Making Tracks: Tonya Williams leads friends Emma Manchester (middle) and Nicholas Cumming along the trails at Schneider's woods during an afternoon of cross-country skiing at the popular property north of Waterloo. The nippy weather will continue today with forecast high of -4 C will be warmer with a high of 1.
Erin Kristina Moores, BIS 2009
Erin Moores is a passionate activist, traveler, feminist, wilderness lover, and foodie who completed her BIS in 2009. She is currently studying law at McGill University and hopes to practice in the fields of labour law, civil and human rights, constitutional law, and civil responsibility. Erin has also worked with Katimavik and Canada World Youth as a community development project supervisor in Labrador, Quebec, British Columbia, Mali, and South Africa. Her career goal is to work every day with people who need her help and to further the development of social justice and equity through her work.
The BIS program allowed Erin to continue to marry her academic interests with her passion for hitting the road: her studies took her from the humble town of Waterloo to Quebec, where she studied French and fine foods intensively in Chicoutimi and Quebec City, and then to Benin, West Africa, where she completed a volunteer internship and a creative non-fiction project on voodoo, before landing her back full circle in her hometown of Ottawa. Erin maintained a continued focus on education in her independent coursework, examining both radical and alternative education systems as well as public education and teacher training in Canada.
Erin’s thesis combined her interests in democratic citizenship theory with her concerns about education. She examined how citizenship education is represented in the Ontario high school curriculum as well as how it approaches multiculturalism and anti-racism. Erin continues to be committed to finding ways to educate children and youth to be active, concerned, and aware citizens.
Spencer Rupert, BIS 2009
Spencer began his Independent Studies (IS) adventure in the fall of 2005 in the aftermath of his University of Waterloo start in 1999. His pre-thesis studies focused on ensuring meaningful video gaming throughout the stages of design, development, and production. As Spencer worked towards thesis phase, his focus shifted, and his thesis work came to explore media theory and a writer's analysis of mass media for telling stories.
Of his thesis experience, Spencer quotes Denis McGrath, TV writer:
I've probably said this before but: inspiration never strikes. When you've got a job to do you have to sit your ass down in the chair and just start. Some days it starts to flow, and some days it doesn't. Nevertheless, you still have to put in the time. This is called "fighting the good fight." It has everything to do with craft and discipline, and very little to do with artistic inspiration.
Spencer's thesis is The Write Choice (PDF).
Funny Third Thing was started some time back by Spencer and a friend as a platform for their comedic writing for stand-up and the printed word. The site is now revamped to let people know the scoop from Hall-lee-wood and about upcoming movies, comic books, sci-fi works, and video games.
Spencer was mentored by Cory Doctorow, IS Inaugural Scholar in Residence, from 2009 to 2010, and Spencer remains employed full-time at RIM, Waterloo.
Vaughn Barclay, BIS 2008
Vaughn Barclay completed her Bachelor’s degree in the Independent Studies program, graduating in 2008 from her studies in literature, critical and cultural theory, poetry, and an interdisciplinary element in philosophy. This work was preceded by the first year of a Liberal Arts degree at the University of Ottawa some years earlier.
Vaughn’s thesis research focused on the short fiction of Canadian writer Alistair MacLeod, in considering the cultural functions of narrative and storytelling.
The Independent Studies program appeared in my life at the right moment as the answer to a long-standing question: How and where can I carry on my studies in a way that is appropriate to my stage of life, as well as my need and ability to work independently? What program will recognize my life experience and allow me to devise a course of study that will both engage my passions and mark my academic achievement in doing so?
The program and the many people whose vision and skills for over forty years have provided this forum to the community are providing an essential need within our educational institutions (one of our primary cultural storytellers), in allowing students to walk their own path. In a dramatically shifting world of work and in facing our present planetary imperatives, such programs are more crucial than ever to seed creative visions for our future.
You can read Vaughn's BIS thesis, Writing to Tell, Telling to Live: Reading the Storyteller in Alistair MacLeod‘s Short Fiction (PDF), as well as her master’s thesis (PDF).
Vaughn graduated from the Capacity Development and Extension MSc program at University of Guelph in May 2012. Her master’s thesis, Patterns Perceptible: Awakening to Community, carried forward her deep interest in culture, creativity, and the recovery of community as a counter narrative to capitalism and globalization.
During her academic studies over the past six years, Vaughn has continued to work in fundraising and marketing in arts non-profits in Guelph. Building on her master’s thesis, she is working to evolve a model for evaluation and community-building within groups and organizations.
Kyle Lawler, BIS 2008
Kyle’s 2005-2008 blog
Independent Studies thesis: Music is a Journey
Bracha Shapiro, BIS 2008
Since my first hour long phone call with Susan [in IS], my life has been transformed. I find fulfillment in my studies and my hard work has rewarded me with opportunities to travel the globe and seemingly endless choices for graduate school.
My advice is… if you think this program might be right for you and you’re really willing to work hard, call IS and send in an application. It will be a great choice for your future- and mostly for your present. And for those of you who are already enrolled and trying to find your way… push yourself and then push harder! When times are rough pick up the 'phone and call your academic advisor… nothing is impossible in IS!
Bracha’s thesis is entitled, Use of the Health Belief Model to Understand and Improve upon the Voluntary Counselling and Testing (VCT) Behaviors of Youth in Nakuru, Kenya.
Lisa Campbell, BIS 2007
Lisa meets favourite author and activist, Cory Doctorow ~ Oct 2009
Lisa Campbell Salazar is a jill-of-all-trades and has worked as a community-based researcher, youth facilitator, multi-media designer and digital strategist. She has a wide berth of experience collaborating with various NGOs and agencies including; Gendering Adolescent AIDS Prevention, TakingITGlobal, Youth Action Network, Defense for the Children International, the Latin American Council for Adult Education, Central Toronto Community Health Centres and Access Alliance Multicultural Health and Community Services. Most recently, Lisa’s expertise with social media has led her to serve as the Community Evangelist for GetInvolved.ca.
Lisa has worked for over ten years as an HIV/AIDS peer educator and community based researcher with the Toronto Raver Info Project (TRIP!), providing harm reduction information to youth in the dance music community. As a Universities Without Walls Fellow, she is interested in integrating new media technology, HIV prevention and community-based research. While her experiences in health promotion and HIV research are broad, she is in the final stages of her Master of Environmental Studies with a special focus on Youth, New Media and Social Change.
Lisa has spoken at numerous academic and community conferences such as the Ontario HIV Treatment Network (OHTN) Research Conference, the Urban Youth and the Determinants of Sexual Health Student Symposium, the Fulbright Institute of International Education Conference, the Interactive Technology in Education Symposium and the original MobileTech4SocialChange barcamp in San Francisco. As an academic and community worker her work has been featured in the Canadian Woman Studies Journal, Panorama Magazine, and she has served on the editorial board of the Women & Environments International Magazine and as the Editor-in-Chief of Youth Action Forum Magazine.
Lisa comments about her IS experience:
I was drawn to the Independent Studies program for its interdisciplinary nature and its honouring of experiential learning. At the beginning of my studies, I was intently focused on a myriad of topics, all relating to creating a sustainable, equitable future. For my final thesis, I honed my interests in community activism and combined them with my drive for creative expression to explore different community arts media. The video field research that I conducted in LA is the basis of my thesis.
When I began my IS studies, I was not able to do this kind of undergraduate work at any other post-secondary education institute, although now there are courses and programs popping up in universities across Canada. The IS experience has given me the freedom to be able to work along my career path and to mix different disciplines of study to suit my interests. The academic work of IS students is often on 'the cutting edge,' so avante-garde, that even some of the most progressive universities have yet to consider it.
I would recommend IS to those who are independently minded and think outside the box. The IS program is unique in Canada and I think it reflects greatly on uWaterloo's commitment to providing students with quality education.
Follow Lisa Campbell's Twitter
Micaela Fitzsimmons, BIS 2007
Micaela Fitzsimmons is an artist working in both traditional and experimental techniques in printmaking and fibre art. Her current work focuses on humanitarian and social justice themes.
Since graduating from the IS program in 2007, where her program focus was printmaking and textile history and design, her work has been exhibited at galleries across Ontario, including two “Convergence” juried shows at the Tom Thomson Art Gallery in Owen Sound. In 2008, nineteen pieces were the foundation of an exhibit at a 60th anniversary celebration of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
In 2009, Micaela completed a post-graduate certificate in Museum Management and Curatorship at Fleming College in Peterborough. During her internship at the Stratford-Perth Museum she curated and installed three exhibits for their new facility.
Micaela works in her studio near Stratford, Ontario, and has recently been appointed to the steering committee of Perth Arts Connect, a collaborative network of artists, community leaders and creative industries whose mission is to create programs that celebrate and promote Perth County artists, culture and heritage.
"The Road Home"
Congratulations to Micaela who was asked to display a piece of her work at the Tom Thomson Art Gallery, Owen Sound. The juried exhibit, Craft Convergence, (Dec 7-Jan 27) offers Micaela's work, seen below, "I Walk Alone".
"I Walk Alone"
Micaela tells us:
I've sent along these photos from the Tom Thomson Gallery. I was pretty excited when I saw the show. One textile artist whose work I admire, Judith Martin, also had a piece in the show. I felt a bit bowled over by it all because only 30 pieces were accepted out of "several hundred" submissions. It is certainly very encouraging for me to continue with this particular body of work.
Charles Eric LaForest, BIS 2007
I want to understand computers from the silicon up to the user interface. I want to make better and beautiful machines, like starships and samurai, not Buicks and bureaucracies. I want to make it possible again for two hairy dropouts named "Steve" to homebrew something insanely great in their garage.
I had a hunch that little-known second-generation of stack computers such as the NOVIX NC4016 and the MuP21 were part of the answer, but they aren't in any engineering textbook and you can't buy one at the store.
So under the aegis of Independent Studies, I taught myself the architecture of these machines, invented software for them from scratch, and took Electrical and Computer Engineering classes to learn how to build them. I found new interests as I went such as asynchronous circuits, virtual machines, and programming languages.
I graduated from Independent Studies in April of 2007. And yet, once my thesis was done, with all its arguments and designs and simulations, I felt I had just begun to truly grasp the problem. I'll be continuing this quest for elegant computers during my graduate studies at the University of Toronto.
IS helped me approach Computer Engineering from a different angle, by focusing on a particular object of study and branching out as curiosity and necessity demanded. This perspective influenced my graduate studies and still affects how I think about computing today.
As an institution, uWaterloo prides itself on innovation and going past orthodoxy. Sometimes, this means venturing outside of established curricula. IS provides exactly the rare kind of academic framework to nurture these particularly bold and self-motivated students.
You can read Eric's thesis: Second-Generation Stack Computer Architecture (PDF)
Eric's talk about Stack Computers to the Computer Science Club was covered at the popular computing website, SlashDot August 2006. The video of his talk was downloaded over 50,000 times within a week, making it the most popular video hosted by the Computer Science Club (CSC) at that time.
In 2009, Eric was accepted in to the Electrical and Computer Engineering PhD program at the University of Toronto. View his candidate profile at their website.
Eric also had the distinction to appear as a contestant on the Discovery Channel's Qubit, aired starting Saturday July 4, 2009.
Ely Schwartz, BIS 2007
My thesis was completed using the practical experience I gained through starting a business during the summer months when I was not in school. I started a tennis camp for kids at a local tennis court in Waterloo, and received funding from the Ontario Tennis Association to get the program started.
As a member of the varsity tennis team, both children and parents recognize the importance presence of university students in the Waterloo community. I encouraged my teammates and coaches to participate as volunteers for my program. The program ran for three years and provided me with a great summer job.
The focus of my thesis is on the program development, marketing and promotional aspects of the business. I started at University of Waterloo as a Recreation and Leisure major. I wanted to apply the concepts I was learning in the classroom to a real world scenario. After three years in this program I wanted to attempt to expand my business and start preparations for the summer well in advance.
Due to timing constraints, I was not able to do this until I transferred into the Independent Studies program. IS gave me the flexibility to earn my undergraduate degree, and gain real world business experience at the same time. This project gave me perspective on positive and negative steps taken in developing an entrepreneurial business. I was also able to document my actions, and research potential options for further success.
The IS experience has given me the opportunity to apply and secure my first full-time position as the manager of a new tennis program at the Ontario Tennis Association.
I recommend the IS program to anyone who does not feel comfortable learning under the strict, regimented confines found in other faculties. I would also recommend this program to anyone looking for experience outside the lecture halls.
Jordan Bernstein, BIS 2006
Read Jordan Bernstein`s Thesis (PDF) titled "I don’t care whose fault it is! Or An introduction to the Short-Term Forecasting Theory, implementing fuzzy-logic and neural networks".
Jeffrey Charles, BIS 2006
Jeffrey is a highly motivated, organized, and charismatic individual who enjoys embracing business challenges and participating in competitive and stimulating environments. He is very interested in the creative and business development processes, capital markets, and sales strategy. He consistently strives to provide a positive, professional influence on those around him.
He has a natural ability for communicating and coordinating with a variety of people and holds proven leadership and creative problem solving skills.
Jeffrey has developed these qualities through a history of assisting customers, managing projects and people, and orchestrating multi-platform events and marketing strategies. He is dedicated to connecting the dots; making sure that projects are completed to the highest degrees of success.
While at University of Waterloo, Jeffrey independently researched event planning, word-of-mouth buzz marketing, and project management and comprised his thesis which illustrated a relationship between project management with the creative process in the business of designing live public events. The thesis titled “The Funkification Project™” allowed Jeffrey to introduce his concepts to the marketplace in a practical business that has seen more than a dozen live and unique artistic showcasing events designed, promoted, and produced. The events have featured some of Canada’s best up and coming artistic talent in music, film, and visual arts.
As a young leader Jeffrey is a results driven, creative thinking project manager and sales driver who has grand ideas that deliver results for even the smallest of projects.
Contact: (416)-459-1949, email@example.com
Joseph Frank, BIS 2006
Joseph Frank studied not only English Literature but focused his time at the University of Waterloo on the craft of creative writing. His undergraduate Independent Studies (IS) thesis is a collection of short stories linking a grandfather to his grandson entitled, How Close Am I to Loosing You, which he intends to publish.
Joseph began graduate studies at the University of Toronto in the English and Creative Writing Program in September 2006. After masters studies, he continued on to a PhD with the intention of eventually writing fiction while teaching English and creative writing at the university level.
Regarding his experience in IS, Joseph comments:
IS matured me. IS made me the kind of student I know I could not have been in any other program. The program offered equal degrees of autonomy and support, providing me the arena to explore the interconnectedness of academics and creativity, reaching recognized success while at once feeling true success within myself. The IS experience helped me to demand the best quality studies of myself and instilled in me the desire to continue studying and pursue an academic career.
I would excitedly recommend IS to others.
IS reflects positively on uWaterloo and is consistent with what is offered by uWaterloo because uWaterloo is a progressive and ambitious institution. uWaterloo's success, like any university's success, relies on creativity both from the faculty and students as well as the administration. Ground breaking studies are achieved by those willing to experiment and tease out the greatness in those things that the lay person does not immediately take notice of.
This is what IS is - small, out of the way, but intensely experimental and ambitious. I hesitate to use the term "revolutionary" in an effort not to romanticize the program, but IS is revolutionary. It is liberal, it is daring. IS is populated by true students, self-motivated and forward-thinking. Isn't that exactly what the heart of academia should be?
Christopher Leon, BIS 2006
Christopher graduated from University of Waterloo in 2006 with BASc (Honours, Co-op) - BIS concurrent degrees. He is now conducting graduate studies at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) at the PhD level.
The focus of Christopher's research involves the "Little Machine" with the Ceyer Research Group under the supervision of Sylvia T. Ceyer to study "the role of species buried beneath the surface in catalytic surface reactions."
Avi Zer-Avi, BIS 2006
Avi Zer-Aviv graduated from the Independent Studies Program in 2006 and pursued work in the social service sector, working with a variety of non-profit agencies in the areas of child and youth work, social housing, seniors, and HIV/AIDS.
He is currently employed with a charitable organization working with people living with HIV/AIDS, and is still active on Israeli-Palestinian grassroots peace-building, being a regular contributor to the largest Israeli-Jewish newspaper in Toronto.
As an Israeli-Canadian citizen, Avi believes the current dilemma between Israelis and Palestinians can only be solved with negotiated settlement, honest discourse, and creative compromise. The work of his Independent Studies thesis, Arab-Jewish Cooperative Coexistence in Israel/Palestine, was and still is an attempt to rekindle the memory of cooperative coexistence between these two peoples and renew this historical narrative in a modern context.
View his thesis and multiple other publications on the related topic.
Peter Jansen, BIS 2005
Avi Caplan, BIS 2004
Visit Avi Caplan's facebook page.
Brandon Gallant, BIS 2004
Visit his two websites:
Matthew Griffin, BIS 2001
Matthew specialized in Canadian literature and the intersection of religion and literature. His thesis was entitled, Questing to Understand: Myth in the Novels of Robert Kroetsch.
After doing postgraduate work in English, Matthew received an MDiv from Trinity College in the University of Toronto. He is now ordained and serves in the Diocese of Niagara.
Vanessa Compton, BIS 1998
Vanessa Compton, PhD, has investigated the labyrinth extensively: what it is, how it works, where it came from, who designed it, and the ways that people's lives change when they experience it.
You can visit Vanessa's site.
Ardy Verhaegen, BIS 1998
Read an uWaterloo Alumni news article on Ardy's book The Dalai Lamas: The Institution and Its History.
Susan (Rupert) Gow, BIS 1994
Where in the world would I be without IS?
My life did the proverbial "180" when I first arrived at IS as a mature student in the early 1990s. I was a single parent of a ten- and fourteen-year old having had the privilege of being an at-home parent for fifteen years. I had not established a career before becoming a parent; I had simply had a series of jobs, albeit interesting ones.
When I started my studies at IS, I was winding down a remarkably active volunteer environmental and community experience, something I was thrown into by need rather than expertise. Prior to this community work, I had been partial to "artsy" interests, not chemistry and hydrogeology, environmental law, and political realities.
My IS studies involved documenting my environmental and community work from the late 80s and early 90s and examining the critical role news media played as citizens struggled together for solutions to the toxic contamination in a small town. Between pre-thesis and thesis phase, I also created and taught an environmental activism course for UWaterloo's Environment and Resource Studies.
I finally graduated in 1994, having overcome my inertia, err, fear of doing that thesis, but could not have done so without the help and support of Sarah Jane Flynn and Dave Boote. I owe them a lot.
Thanks to my thesis topic and from my media role for that environmental group, I went on to be involved with community television for a year where I learned about TV production from the floor up – from camera operation, lighting, and set design to certain activities in the control room such as audio and screening calls for live phone-in shows. Loved it!! Many nights after a live show I drove home singing at the top of my lungs and feeling remarkably energized. Eventually, I was able to research, interview for, produce, and edit a couple of documentaries. Loved that even more!
Having tried and failed at corporate jobs in the first few years after the TV stint, I helped develop and manage BarterWorks (formerly KW LETS), an alternative economic system in the Waterloo Region. I also formed my own small-scale consulting company, Enhanced Image, from which I have offered English as a Second Language (ESL) instruction as well as research and group facilitation for community non-profits such as the Kitchener-Waterloo Social Planning Council. Another part of my services was to proof and edit services for academic, technical, and professional dissertations and articles.
Such a diverse set of occupations — which all made for a natural return to IS. In 2005, Anne Dagg called to ask for my administrative help at IS "for a bit," and here I remain so many years later.
I add to the part-time IS hours with additional work for UWaterloo's Writing Centre tutoring graduate students with their English writing and for a while I worked for the Faculty of Mathematics marking co-op work term reports and offering tutorials to those undergraduate students who need writing advice.
I have about five novels on the go that I am trying to finish. I am an avid but selective fiction reader, TV and film watcher, and I have released all the "stuff" Carlin spoke of in his comedy routine so I now live simply with a bunch of plants and my very large TV screen. Favourite activity? To laugh as often as possible.
You can find me most easily at the IS office. I would love to hear from you!
Lawrence E. Lamb, BIS 1989
Doug Moen, BIS 1987
Doug‘s graduating thesis concerns computer programming language design. He has since worked as a computer programmer, first in Toronto, then and now in Waterloo.
Currently, Doug is helping to run Kwartzlab, a Kitchener/Waterloo (KW) maker space, which supports creative people in the KW area by providing a community workshop, advanced prototyping tools, a meeting space, and opportunities for networking, collaboration and community involvement.
Many of the members are current and former University of Waterloo students, and, of course, IS students are always welcome.
Kwartzlab - now in a new location
KW Awesome Foundation - contribute to making KW more awesome!
Waterloo Maker Faire (June 15, 2013):
Surreality Labs presents the Bluetooth Polygraph – a new project using biofeedback sensors, open-source hardware and an Android application to duplicate the equipment from your favourite cop shows and spy movies at a far lower cost. Can it actually tell if you’re lying? Probably not. Is it fun? Of course!
We’ll also be presenting an assortment of our other open-source projects, including a quiz game buzzer system, a variety of clocks, our Project Vending Machine and all manner of blinking LEDs to play with.
- Meet the Makers Part 20: Bluetooth Polygraph
Mark Garstin, BIS 1983
Read his Director profile at The Pleiades Group of Seven website.
"The Pleiades Group of Seven's Chief Technology Officer is Mark Garstin. Mark brings over 30 years of engineering Research and Development experience to the group with an ability to tackle problems and design systems in new frontier areas of technologies, concepts and theories.
Mark actually started his career in engineering while still in high school when he won the Philips' Canada Wide Young Scientist of the Year in 1975. He then went on to get his bachelor's degree from the University of Waterloo majoring in Computer Science and Neuroscience. He was President of the Mathematics Society at Waterloo.
After graduation he started out on a career eventually becoming a senior computer design engineer (in both hardware and software) working in such industries as medical diagnostics, military surveillance, electronic financial transactions, industrial control, biological research, and telecommunications.
Many of his projects were 'proof-of-concept' projects where he was able to draw upon technologies from across these diverse industries and combine them into new, disruptive technologies and concepts. His largest project was leading a team of engineers in a corporation (to which he was a founder) designing a complete immersive Virtual Reality system.
Not only did he lead the HW and SW design teams on this project but he was also responsible for setting up the labs, acquiring the tools and IT infrastructure, establishing the engineering processes and procedures and negotiating with vendors for supplies, equipment and development systems.
Mark holds a patent in encryption technology, has received a number of awards for engineering excellence and has authored several white papers on engineering processes and computer technologies.
Next year [March 2011], he will be presenting a paper that he has authored at the Space, Propulsion & Energy Sciences International Forum at the University of Maryland on the fundamental structure of the fabric of the universe, a companion paper to the one presented by Madonna-Megara Holloway at the same forum.
His passions, however, are in nuclear and molecular physics as well as astronomy, neuroscience and artificial intelligence, all tempered by a philosophy not to build something better but to discover and expose disruptive technologies to the market place."
Read Mark's article, A New Model for Matter, Space and Energy, in the Physics Procedia (Vol 20, 2011).
Scott Slocombe, BIS 1983
Scott Slocombe graduated from Independent Studies in 1983, and went on to graduate studies in regional and environmental planning at the Universities of British Columbia and Waterloo. He has been a faculty member in Geography and Environmental Studies at Wilfrid Laurier University since 1989. His research and teaching interests include protected areas; environmental policy; systems, complexity and environmental planning and management; and environmental assessment, in northern and western Canada, Australia, and the Great Lakes Basin among other places.
For a more details visit Scott Slocombe's professor profile at Wilfrid Laurier University.
Ed Butts, BIS 1981
After graduating from IS in 1981, Ed worked at a number of different jobs, but his most memorable position was teaching at a school in the Dominican Republic for eight years.
Ed now writes for a living, and has had more than twenty books published:
Pirates & Outlaws of Canada (with Harold Horwood), historical non-fiction, 1984; Doubleday, re-published 2003 Lynx Images
Bandits & Privateers: Canada in the Age of Gunpowder (with Harold Horwood), historical non-fiction, 1987, Doubleday
Buffalo: A Fable of the West, fiction, 1998. (quasi-book publication) Colombo & Co. *
The Prime Ministers of Canada, sound recording, lyrics (with Blaine Selkirk), 2001, Sara Jordan
Idioms for Aliens: A Grammar Revue of Plays and Verse, humour, 2003, Maupin House (USA) *
Outlaws of the Lakes: Bootlegging and Smuggling From Colonial Times to Prohibition, historical non-fiction, 2004, Lynx Images
She Dared, historical non-fiction, 2005, Tundra
Funky Phonics, sound recording, lyrics, 2005, Sara Jordan
Guiding Lights, Tragic Shadows: Tales of Great Lakes Lighthouses, historical non-fiction, 2005, Lynx Images
True Canadian Disaster Stories, historical non-fiction, 2006, Prospero/Key Porter *
The Desperate Ones: Forgotten Canadian Outlaws, historical non-fiction, 2006, Dundurn (A)
True Canadian Unsolved Mysteries, historical non-fiction, 2007, Prospero/Key Porter *
True Stories of Canadian Battlefields, historical non-fiction, 2007, Prospero/Key Porter *
SOS: Stories of Survival, historical non-fiction, 2007, Tundra (A)
Singing Sight Words, sound recording, lyrics, 2007, Sara Jordan
Running With Dillinger: The Story of Red Hamilton and Other Forgotten Canadian Outlaws, historical non-fiction, 2008, Dundurn
X Doesn’t Mark the Spot, historical non-fiction, 2008, Tundra
True Canadian Explorers, historical non-fiction, 2008, Prospero/Key Porter *
All About Weddings, non-fiction, information and trivia (pen name Ellen Bell) 2008, Dundurn
Line of Fire, historical non-fiction, 2009, Dundurn
Henry Hudson: New World Voyager, biography, 2009, Dundurn
Ghost Stories of Newfoundland and Labrador, paranormal nonfiction, 2010, Dundurn
Shipwrecks, Monsters and Mysteries of the Great Lakes, historical nonfiction, 2010, Tundra (A)
Murder: Twelve True Stories of Homicide in Canada, historical nonfiction, 2011, Dundurn
Simon Girty: Wilderness Warrior, biography, 2011, Dundurn
Bodyguards: From Gladiators to the Secret Service, juvenile non-fiction, 2012, Annick (A)
Sheridan Nurseries: One Hundred Years of People, Plans, and Plants (with Karl Stensson), historical nonfiction, 2012, Dundurn
Wrong Side of the Law: True Stories of Crime, historical non-fiction, 2013, Dundurn
(*) Not currently available
(A) Nominated for award
Ed’s book, The Desperate Ones, was nominated for an Arthur Ellis Award. His book, SOS: Stories of Survival, was nominated for the Red Maple Award and the Hackmatack Award. Ed also wrote the lyrics for the songs on two series of educational CDs: Funky Phonics and Singing Sight Words.
Today, Ed lives in Guelph with his daughter and grandson.
Margaret Clappison, BIS 1981
Margaret is a professional Certified General Accountant (CGA) accountant currently in a commercial/industrial property management company responsible for its financial accounting and management reporting, and management of the property management software.
Corporate social responsibility is a passion of hers and she believes it must be reflected in both public and private life to be effective — walking the talk is the only way.
Currently, she also is enrolled in the Athabasca MBA program working on her applied project and in the Certified General Accounts of British Columbia Executive Leadership Program. Completion dates for both are in the academic 2012-2013 year.
Earlier in her career, she managed her own CGA public practice business in British Columbia before which provided the opportunity to become familiar with many different industries including agriculture construction, distribution, restaurant, retail and the non-profit sector.
You can read more details about Margaret Clappison's career (PDF)
John Gould, BIS 1981
John Gould is currently a sessional lecturer at the University of Victoria for its Department of Writing, and a published author of a number of books including Giller Prize nominated Kilter: 55 Fictions, a book of short stories and Seven Good Reasons Not to Be Good, a full-length novel available in 2010.
John Gould is not just a great short story writer, he is simply a great writer. ... By the end of the novel, [Seven Good Reasons Not to Be Good], Gould has done a masterful job of reminding the reader that there is a whole lot in life that you have no real control over but what is important is to remember that life is happening, here, now.
~ Colin Holt, Times Colonist, August 22, 2010
Shelagh Campbell, BIS 1980
Read her professor profile at University of Alberta.
James Conklin, BIS 1979
For information regarding James's activities, visit his James Conklin's website at the Department of Human Sciences, Concordia University.
Joe Federer, BIS 1979
Joe Federer's career path has followed his IS studies pattern - all over the map.
After graduating in 1979 with degree papers in Economics and Mechanical Engineering, Joe worked in the TV studio on campus for 6 years. He then ran a design/manufacturing company working on energy conservation equipment. With energy prices at near-record lows, the timing might have been better. Several years of "real jobs" followed, in the cultural and automotive sectors.
In 1993, Joe returned to self-employment and has been without a predictable income ever since. He is currently in a small partnership working on software training and implementations for CRM (Customer Relationship Management) solutions. Visit his company website, Kinetics Systems Inc.
In his copious spare time, Joe makes fine violins. His work can be seen at federer.ca. Joe is in the process of moving to a small town with his wife Jayne Styles (BSc 1984, Western), where he will read, make violins, and enjoy taking on unusual projects.
Shirley Tillotson, BIS 1978
Marc Dufresne, BIS 1974
I graduated from IS having focused my research on computer science, economics, and English.
Most of my professional life has been in the field of Information and Communications Technology (ICT).
Achievements I am most proud of include the wireless broadband network deployments in Botswana and Ghana, the EuropeAid rural telephony final evaluation in Mozambique, and the Fail Safe Computing demo at DECWORLD 92.
I am now into a second life learning music and the piano, focusing on blues, boogie woogie, ragtime, and jazz.
After forty years of working "above the neck," I am adding working below it with body, gut, and soul!!!
Toughest thing I've ever undertaken.
You can find more details about my life story on LinkedIn.
I can also be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org."
Eugene Bourgeois, BIS 1971 - 1st IS grad in 1971
Eugene Bourgeois is the first recipient of the BIS degree. The diversity of Eugene's interests and work embody the nature of the IS program as it was then in 1969 at its beginning and as it is now.
Eugene provided the following comments about his work...
Philosopher’s Wool evolved in response to the major recession of the early 1980's in a farming environment very similar to today's global economic recession. Farmers who had been encouraged to expand their operations now found themselves holding debt greater than the value of their assets. Even when current in their payments, creditors called in loans, creating what was then called the Farm Debt Crisis in Canada.
My wife and I own a micro-sheep farm in Ontario, Canada which I designed and built to provide us with the basic needs of food, shelter and a modest income that would cover fixed expenses, such as property tax, insurance and utilities. Ann taught elementary school part-time as I built our farm and was house-husband. Our farm was designed in such a way that each waste product would become the feedstock for a new product with the ultimate aim of growing exotic wild mushrooms on pasture from our manure compost.
We first purchased sheep in 1980 and soon discovered that our fleece wool returned below cost returns. It cost $.70 Cdn per pound to shear the sheep and we received $.32 Cdn per pound for our fleece from the co-operative. At the time, I would occasionally shear sheep with our shearer and we all wondered how we could manage to be paid fairly for our fleece.
Philosopher’s Wool grew from these concerns, beginning informally in 1983 when I had some of our fleece processed into yarn, and formally in 1984 when we decided to see how we might expand this program to the farm community as a whole.
Between then and now we have purchased as much as 5 per cent of the fleece wool in Ontario and devised a payment scheme that rewards farmers for producing clean fleece while rejecting those who do not. We buy wool on a clean-yield basis rather than a fleece-weight basis, and have paid farmers an average of $1.93 Cdn per pound as the market price for fleece declined to about $.10 Cdn per pound.
To do so we have developed patterns and knitting techniques that place our finished product near the top end of design while pricing our knitting kits near the bottom end. I believed that it was only by making our product affordable to ordinary working people that we could develop a sustainable and viable market for the farmers from whom we purchased fleece.
Contrary to conventional wealth management advice, we decided to pay ourselves last, instead taking inventories and capital structures as our payment while covering our living expenses by traveling to sell and demonstrate our products. Our goal as a business has been to enrich everyone along our supply chain in the belief that this will ultimately reward us richly.
Philosopher’s Wool is that sustainable success story.
Eugene welcomes your comments and ideas via email for the work he does, and naturally, your support for his labours as a community environmental activist.
Niki Klein, BIS 1971
Niki Klein, RRPr, CAHP (Canadian Association of Heritage Professionals), RT-CRA — Certified Complementary Care Practitioner
My life has always been about people — specifically finding a way to help, teach or heal in some kind of organic way. Many decades ago, I graduated from the University of Waterloo with my BIS focusing on teaching and counseling.
Throughout the 60's and early 70's, my attention was centered on living in a way that contributed to my community. At the time, this included but was not limited to studying the effect of certain foods and food additives on children; opening the first vegetarian restaurant in the K-W area; starting the first local food co-op; operating a natural foods baking and catering business. This was long before any of this became popular.
Throughout the middle to late 70's into the 80's, I worked in the field of sexual assault and abuse; studied Marriage and Family Therapy and continue on to this day with post-graduate studies both at the university and college levels.
In the early 1990s, I became very ill. After seeing doctors and specialists over a number of years in an attempt to get answers, I set about on a path of discovery to educate myself about the human body. This journey became one of finding the healing connection between the body, mind, emotions, and spirit. As a life-long learner and student of human nature, I was and am always on the lookout for something of interest.
I was one of three in the initial graduating class of a Post-Graduate program through Conestoga College, entitled ‘Complementary Care’. This program, which is part of the Health Sciences & Community Services Faculty, is open to those who have successfully completed a degree or diploma in a health related field or who are working in related fields. I am now certified as a Complementary Care Practitioner.
This program was designed to include someone with my academic background who has the desire to learn new ways to help others in a holistic manner, as an adjunct to the current medical model. The Ministry of Training, colleges and universities recognized the importance of Complementary Care in the Health Care Sector and certified the program. Shortly after graduating from the program, I became a teacher in the program. Over the years, I have taken additional courses and workshops through many private schools and organizations.
At the turn of the century, I opened Academy of Holistic Modalities Inc., Holistic School and Wellness Centre providing professional courses and personal interest workshops within the Healing Arts.
Within my private practice, I provide such varied therapies as Aromatic Massage and Medical Aromatherapy, EnerCHI Heated Stone Massage, Lymphatic Drainage-Style Massage, Therapeutic Touch, Reiki, Reflexology, mentoring, energy healing and incorporate other therapies as required.
The wellness clinic has a retail section that includes Absolute Aromas, a pure and organic line of essential and carrier oils and products from Europe; crystals and gemstones; silver jewelry from Thailand, massage supplies and books.
My current professional memberships include the Reflexology Registration Council of Ontario (RRCO) — former Council and Executive Member, Therapeutic Touch Network of Ontario (TTNO), Grand River Reflexology Associates (GRRA), Canadian Reiki Association (Registered Teacher) and the Canadian Federation of Aromatherapists (CFA) – former Board Member. These associations have Standards of Practice and Codes of Ethics by which I am governed.
In 2009, I added to my skills by becoming a Certified Life Coach and since then have become a member of the International Association of Women in Business Coaching (IAWBC) and attained certification as a Money, Marketing and Soul™ Coach and Money Breakthrough Method™ Coach and Strategist. This is where I provide results-oriented coaching to those who understand that success can be achieved through thinking outside the box.
Cory Doctorow, 1993-1994
Cory Doctorow (craphound.com) is a science fiction novelist, blogger, and technology activist. He is the co-editor of the popular weblog Boing Boing (boingboing.net), and a contributor to Wired, Popular Science, Make, The New York Times, and many other newspapers, magazines and websites.
Cory was designated as the first IS Scholar in Virtual Residence that marked the program’s forty year anniversary. He generously mentored three promising IS creative writers from his home in London, England using 21st century global village communication technology as well as being in-person on campus.
Born in Toronto, Canada, Cory was an IS pre-thesis student in four consecutive terms from 1993 to 1994, and he opted out of thesis phase when his ideas for a thesis project did not match standards expected at that time by the IS Board of Directors.
Cory is currently a Visiting Senior Lecturer at Open University (UK); in 2007, he served as the Fulbright Chair at the Annenberg Center for Public Diplomacy at the University of Southern California.
His novels are published by Tor Books and HarperCollins UK and are simultaneously released on the internet under Creative Commons licenses that encourage their re-use and sharing, a move that increases his sales by enlisting his readers to help promote his work.
Cory has won the Locus and Sunburst Awards, and been nominated for the Hugo, Nebula, and British Science Fiction Awards. His latest novel, New York Times Bestseller, Little Brother, was published in May 2008, and his latest short story collection is Overlocked: Stories of the Future Present. In 2008, Tachyon Books published a collection of his essays, entitled Content: Selected Essays in Technology, Creativity, Copyright and the Future of the Future (with introduction by John Perry Barlow) and IDW published a collection of comic books inspired by his short fiction, Cory Doctorow's Futuristic Tales of the Here and Now.
Little Brother was nominated for the 2008 Hugo, Nebula, Sunburst and Locus Awards. It won the Ontario Library White Pine Award, the Prometheus Award as well as the Indienet Award for bestselling young adult novel in America's top 1000 independent bookstores in 2008.
His new novel, Makers, was published in October 2009 and he has been working on a young adult novel, For the Win, about union organizing in video games.
Cory co-founded the open source peer-to-peer software company OpenCola, sold to OpenText, Inc in 2003, and presently serves on the boards and advisory boards of the Participatory Culture Foundation, the MetaBrainz Foundation, Technorati, Inc, the Organization for Transformative Works, Areae, the Annenberg Center for the Study of Online Communities, and Onion Networks, Inc.
In 2007, Entertainment Weekly called Cory, "the William Gibson of his generation." He was also named one of Forbes Magazine's 2007/8 Web Celebrities, and one of the World Economic Forum's Young Global Leaders for 2007.
On February 3, 2008, he became a father. His little girl is Poesy Emmeline Fibonacci Nautilus Taylor Doctorow, and is "a marvel that puts all the works of technology and artifice to shame."
Cory lectured at the University of Waterloo on September 26, 2009, sponsored by the Independent Studies program, and returned October 22nd to present at Waterloo’s Perimeter Institute.
Alan Rycroft, 1979-1983
Read more on Alan Rycroft's website, SunshineCommunications.ca.
Sam Wagar, 1977-1980
Sam clearly represents the spirit of IS from the late 70's and so he shares his story from then and where he has travelled since:
Well, it’s been an interesting and entertaining life so far. After leaving Integrated Studies in 1980, I worked in a factory, moved to a commune then back to the city, converted to Witchcraft and became a Priest, married and had children, moved to British Columbia, was active in the extreme left and gradually moved to the right until I ended up in the Green Party, divorced.
I became world famous when I ran for election in 1994 for the BCNDP (The New Democratic Party of British Columbia) and was religiously discriminated against by them. Aside from accumulating a clippings file, fame has been fun but not lucrative. However, I am not bored with my life, which is a plus, and I get called up by the press to comment on something every now and again.
I have written three books (Growing Wiccan Temples and Leaders, The Uses of Ecstasy, and Creating Lore, Writing Ritual, all available via amazon.com for very reasonable fees), edited a small magazine for twenty years (“Pagans for Peace” 1982-2002), written and seen published in excess of a hundred shorter pieces.
I returned to school in 1999 and ended up with an MA in history in 2006 from Simon Fraser University (thesis “Theosophical Socialists in the 1920s Okanagan: Jack Logie’s Social Issues Summer Camps”). I founded a religious retreat (Gathering for Life on Earth), a national church and a provincial church (Congregationalist Wiccan Association of BC), wrote the curriculum materials and established the clergy training programme for the CWABC (Congregationalist Wiccan Association of British Columbia), moved to Alberta in August of 2012 and I’m presently working toward getting a seminary up and running while priesting a small temple in Edmonton in collaboration with two Priestesses.
Sam Wagar's founded church: www.cwabc.org