Dear Faculty of Mathematics colleagues,

With the beginning of April, the winter academic term is quickly ending, and we will soon be in the thick of exams. It is a busy time of year, and this has been an extra-busy academic term for many as we have moved our teaching and research back onto campus. I want to share my thanks to you all for the wonderful work you do in the service of our students. The Faculty of Mathematics is nothing without the people who make it all happen. It is truly my privilege to work with such dedicated and compassionate colleagues. Thank you all so much, yet again.


The Community Health and Well-being team has released its 2022-27 Health and Well-being Strategy. The Health and Well-being Strategy provides direction for how the Faculty of Mathematics will work to address current health and well-being-related issues, assist with the development and implementation of initiatives and programming that promote self-care and positive health behaviours, and support the wellness journeys of students, staff and faculty. Read more here.

Equity, diversity and inclusion

The Faculty Equity Officer, Jeremy Steffler, hosted a series of Capacity Building Circle Conversations throughout the month of March. These well-attended events were for faculty and staff to learn and speak about issues related to equity, diversity and inclusion. We look forward to more Circle Conversations in the coming months.

In April, another EDI-related event is planned in the Faculty of Mathematics in partnership with Co-operative and Experiential Education for the International Day of Pink on April 13. It is a day set aside to unite in solidarity with the 2SLGBTQIA+ community to continue fighting for equality and acceptance. Learn more and register here.


I was honoured to host the annual Pi Day on March 14, which was held in conjunction with a special edition of the Dean’s Lecture Series, featuring our very own Anita Layton. It was a wonderful event as always and for the first time in years we were able to share a slice with students in person. Special thanks to the organizers from the Advancement and Communications teams. Check out a video of the Pi Day event and Dean’s Lecture here.

In March, the Faculty of Mathematics and the broader university also commemorated the annual International Women’s Day on March 8. The Women in Math Committee hosted an event and there was a special event through the President’s Office as well. Read more here.

Check out some of the upcoming events and conferences that may be of interest to our faculty members, staff and students throughout April and beyond.

  • Students will enjoy a night of celebrating, socializing and dancing during the annual Math Grad Ball on April 2, hosted by the Mathematics Graduation Committee. The event is open to all students and tickets are available for purchase. Read more here.
  • The Faculty of Mathematics will be raising a glass and celebrating the success and achievements of 2022 graduates during the Math Grad Class Send-Off on April 20. Event details here. Faculty and staff are welcome to attend. Please register by April 15. Congratulate the graduating class by sharing your best wishes, words of wisdom and happy memories on the Math Grad Class Kudoboard.
  • The Department of Statistics and Actuarial Sciences will be hosting the research conference Biostatistics: Foundations and the Era of Data Science from April 28-29. Read more here.
  • The Department of Statistics and Actuarial Sciences will be hosting the undergraduate data competition DataFest, from April 29 - May 1. Read more here.
  • Interested researchers are invited to register for the upcoming International Conference on Robust Statistics (ICORS), to be hosted July 5-10 by the Department of Statistics and Actuarial Sciences. Read more here.
  • A conference on combinatorial and algebraic enumeration will be held at the University of Waterloo from May 24-27. The conference will celebrate the research contributions of Professors Ian Goulden and David Jackson who were influential in shaping the fields of combinatorial and algebraic enumeration. Read more here.
  • The 26th Ontario Combinatorics Workshop will be held at the University of Waterloo from May 13-14. Read more here.


Learn how to develop a dynamic research strategy by attending this virtual workshop, “Planning your Research Trajectory: Strategies for Success,” taking place on April 6. The workshop is geared to early career researchers (in the first three years of a tenure-track appointment) but open to any faculty member who would like to attend. Hosted by the Office of Research, this workshop will focus on research planning and funding strategies. For a full agenda and to register, please refer to the registration page.


From April 24 to 30, the Faculty of Mathematics is celebrating the amazing volunteers who mark contests, serve on committees, speak at events, mentor our students and so much more. This year, we will be sharing our volunteers’ stories on the Volunteer Ties website.

In conjunction with Alumni Relations, the Faculty of Mathematics is hosting the Data + Event Series. The series will explore how data can help us solve today's greatest problems and see the world in a dramatically new way. In each themed event, you will hear from a panel of subject-matter experts working in the labs, companies and communities driving change with data. Panel discussions will be moderated by a member of the Waterloo community who has specialized knowledge of the event’s theme. Register for the events here.

Faculty awards and accolades

Congratulations to our colleagues who won awards or were recognized for their outstanding achievements in the past month. Join me in saying kudos to:

  • Gord Willmot, a Professor in the Department of Statistics and Actuarial Sciences, was named among the most recent winners of the Award of Excellence in Graduate Supervision. Read more here.
  • Jo Atlee, Director of Women in Computer Science and Professor in the Cheriton School of Computer Science, received the 2022 ACM SIGSOFT Distinguished Service Award. Read more here.
  • Several of our faculty members were featured in the recent President’s Global Impact Report for their groundbreaking research. Congratulations to Mary Thompson, Distinguished Professor Emerita in the Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science; Kate Larson, Professor and University Research Chair in the Cheriton School of Computer Science; and Ian Goldberg, Canada Research Chair in Privacy Enhancing Technologies and Professor in the Cheriton School of Computer Science. Read more here.

Student awards and accolades

It is a privilege as always to recognize the successes of some of our amazing students. Pass on your congratulations if you have these wonderful students in your class.

  • Laura Bumbulis, an undergraduate student in the Department of Combinatorics and Optimization, was a winner of the Co-op Student of the Year Award. Read more here.
  • Jason Amri, a double degree student in Computer Science and Business, reached the finals of two Waterloo entrepreneurial competitions this month, featuring in the Problem Pitch and the Concept 5K Challenge. Read more here.
  • Natasha Rozario, an undergraduate student in the Cheriton School of Computer Science, was featured in the recent President’s Global Impact Report for her research on optimizing hospital wait-times in the context of the pandemic. Read more here.

Outreach and media

Communicating research impact and connecting with a public audience is a strategic priority of the Faculty of Mathematics. Thanks to the following researchers for going the extra mile to help spread the word about the splendid work happening at Waterloo.

  • Anita Layton, Professor of Applied Mathematics and Canada 150 Research Chair in Mathematical Biology and Medicine, and Mehrshad Sadria, a PhD candidate in the Department of Applied Mathematics, were featured in a widely syndicated media release for their work on a promising cancer drug. Read more here.
  • Daniel Vogel, Associate Professor in the Cheriton School of Computer Science and Cheriton Faculty Fellow, and Jian Zhao, Assistant Professor in the Cheriton School of Computer Science, are featured in an article and related media release for a new unrestricted funding award from Meta/Facebook related to their work in human computer interaction. Read more here.
  • Maura Grossman, Research Professor in the Cheriton School of Computer Science, was featured in an article about the Cambridge Analytica data-sharing scandal prepared by MLex, an independent newswire service. Read more here.
  • Paul Gege, a master’s student in the Cheriton School of Computer Science, is a member of a research team whose work was featured in Waterloo media related to an AI with the potential of predicting future pandemics. Read more here.
  • Mélissa Tardibuono, a Faculty of Mathematics alum, was featured in articles highlighting her work to foster diversity and inclusivity through after-school coding programs. Read more here.

Faculty hires and departures

Join me in welcoming new and continuing faculty members. Congratulations and warm welcome to:

  • Liqun Diao accepted a position as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Statistics and Actuarial Sciences.

Staff hires and departures

Mike Gore retired from the Computer Science Computing Facility on March 1 after 36 years of working at Waterloo. Mike was also a student at Waterloo before that.  Mike’s service to Waterloo and to Computer Science has been invaluable. As Lawrence Folland from CSCF recollects: “When I started 19 years ago, Mike was one of two staff on the team. He has been such an asset over the years. His ability to problem-solve and understand the technical details of an issue is unsurpassed! I know that he was specifically requested by faculty members to be part of the newly formed Research Support Group back in 2003. From there, the team has grown, and Mike has been an anchor to our technical support capabilities. He will be missed.”

Some of the other news related to staff appointments and staff departing for other opportunities:

  • Amy Lin joined the UAO, on a contract basis, as the Recruitment Officer, China on March 21.
  • Erin Kelly has accepted a position as Administrative Coordinator, Graduate Studies in Applied Mathematics, beginning on April 1.
  • Rebecca Keller will be joining UAO as the Administrative Coordinator, Admissions & Outreach, beginning on April 4.
  • Tony Ly will be joining the Survey Research Centre as a Project Manager beginning on April 4.
  • Chris Aziz will be joining MFCF as the Information Technology Specialist on April 11.
  • Congratulations to Matthew Babela who accepted an ongoing role as an Instructional Support Coordinator with Statistics & Actuarial Science.
  • Welcome back to Steve Van Doormal who will be re-joining Statistics & Actuarial Science, in an ongoing role, as an Instructional Support Coordinator, beginning on April 25.
  • Jenny Tieu will be joining Statistics & Actuarial Science, on a contract basis, as an Instructional Support Coordinator, beginning on April 26.
  • Samanthi Sooriyabandara’s last day as Administrative Coordinator, Graduate Studies (Applied Math) was on March 29.
  • Lisa Kabesh’s last day as Integrated Communications Specialist (CEMC) is on April 7.
  • Beth McLay’s last day as Project Manager (Survey Research Centre) is April 28.


On a somber note, we were saddened recently with news of the sudden passing of Ed Lank, a Professor in the Cheriton School of Computer Science. Ed was a wonderful researcher, colleague, teacher and friend to so many. He contributed enormously to the School of Computer Science. Ed left us far too young and will be greatly missed in CS and across the university. Read his obituary and recollections from colleagues here.

We were also saddened to learn of the passing of Gus German, who was involved in the early days of the development of computing at the university. Gus was instrumental in putting Waterloo Computer Science on the map and is mourned by his colleagues and friends. Read more here.

Looking forward

Thanks again to every one of you for being the kind and caring people you are and for all you bring to our wonderful Faculty of Mathematics. I am reminded that it really is all about the people, and also reminded of how the special work we are doing impacts the lives of so many. I hope we can all take time to express appreciation to our colleagues and to be there for each other in any moments of need.

Yours truly, 

Mark Giesbrecht

Dean, Faculty of Mathematics, University of Waterloo

Mark Giesbrecht