One of the greatest pleasures of my role as Associate Dean, Operations and Academic, in the Faculty of Mathematics is getting to meet with our talented alumni. It is inspiring to hear how they’re using their mathematical training in highly creative ways to solve big problems.
Often, these alumni share with us that the University of Waterloo Faculty of Mathematics played a key part in their career trajectory–that a special professor, course or co-op term inspired them to think differently and aim higher. In truth, their success is entirely their own, a product of the same passion, intelligence and drive that led them to Waterloo in the first place. Nevertheless, it makes me proud to think that we might have helped to nurture and hone that talent.
With alumni as visionary as ours, I’m thrilled that, after a brief hiatus due to the pandemic, our Alumni Achievement Awards will be celebrated in person again this year.
2022 was the 20th anniversary of the Alumni Achievement Medal and the 10th anniversary of the Young Alumni Achievement Medal. The committee chose five winners for each award this year; one for each year from 2019 to 2021 and two for 2022 in recognition of this being a special anniversary year. The medallists will be featured in the Spring issue of the Waterloo Magazine and presented their medals at an event during Alumni Weekend on June 3, 2023.
Starting in 2023, to better align our Awards program with our equity, diversity and inclusion commitments, the Young Alumni Achievement Medal will be renamed the G.O.L.D. (graduate of the last decade) Achievement Medal and the criteria will be changed from age-based to ten years from obtaining their degree.
In this issue of E-Ties, you can learn more about the exceptional individuals who are receiving awards this year. We're also sharing the following stories about remarkable Waterloo Mathies, whether alumni, faculty or students:
- David Kennedy (BMath ’02), vice-president and co-founder of Bitmoji, is enabling you to personalize your avatar in hopes that it will bring you closer to the people you communicate with online;
- The student-run mathNews turns 50;
- In honour of Black History Month, we celebrate the contributions and achievements of Black community members;
- In honour of International Women’s Day (March 8), we highlight five Waterloo alumni who are blazing trails for women in mathematics;
- Ali Abedi (PhD ’17), adjunct professor of computer science at Waterloo, has discovered a security loophole allowing attackers to use WiFi to see through walls;
- Steve Cheng (BMath ’77), chair and executive director of Telefield International (Holdings) Limited, has accelerated research by professors Jochen Koenemann and Ricardo Fukasawa to improve craniosynostosis surgery through a generous gift;
I hope you enjoy the issue!
I also hope you will take advantage of some of the opportunities we offer to connect back with the Faculty. I have highlighted some exciting upcoming events and activities this spring.
The fourth and final event in the Data + event series, Data + Diversity, will take place on March 7 in Toronto at the Gardiner Museum. Join us for an important discussion of the role of ethical data governance in creating more diverse and equitable institutions. The panel will be moderated by Charmaine Dean (MMath ’84, PhD ’88), Vice-President of Research and International, as well as a Professor in the Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science.
Celebrate Pi Day with alumni around the world. Watch the Faculty’s social media channels for more details in March about how you can win a prize and maybe even get a pie! A special video that will share the recent accomplishments of the Faculty will land in your email on March 14th. Let’s join together virtually and celebrate!
The Math & Computing Research Discovery Days is a new multi-day showcase featuring research from the University of Waterloo Faculty of Mathematics and taking place on April 17 and 18. The inaugural iteration of this annual event will bring together current and prospective industry partners to engage in discussion about leading research topics and the impacts this research will have.
Volunteer Appreciation Week is from April 24 to 30. Stay tuned to Volunteer Ties for more information on what we will be doing to celebrate our amazing volunteers who mark contests, serve on committees, speak at events, mentor our students and so much more.
Finally, join us on June 3 to celebrate Alumni Weekend. We will be recognizing our alumni award winners and holding a celebration of life for Distinguished Professor Emeritus János Aczel.
Please check our upcoming events page for more opportunities to connect with us.
Associate Dean, Operations and Academic, Faculty of Mathematics