Dear Faculty of Mathematics colleagues, 

As we slide into the last month of a beautiful summer, I hope you've all been managing to stay cool and enjoy the weather and community of family, friends, and colleagues. 

Amid vacations and long weekends, July was perhaps not as busy a month as our last, at least for some.  I hope those of you who needed it took some much deserved down time or had a chance to pursue your research endeavours with graduate students and colleagues near and far.  While June saw us say farewell to many students through convocation and graduation celebrations, July saw us welcome a new cohort of students to campus during Math Ready Day. 

As the past two iterations of the event were held virtually, it was fantastic to see our newest students come to experience campus in person and begin to build bonds with their peers. The buzz on campus was palpable as they took the next step in becoming part of the UWaterloo Mathematics community and I cannot wait to see the contributions they make. Thank you to everyone who played a part in recruiting these students, planning for, and ultimately running Math Ready day to ensure their first official on campus event as Math students was an overwhelming success.  

As always, I am pleased to share with you some of the achievements of our students, faculty, and staff as well as upcoming events and initiatives taking place in the Faculty of Mathematics.  


During the Spring term over 170 students, staff, and faculty joined in our Living Wellness programming as they took part in a wide variety of activities, including a workshop on healthy eating and an in-person Paint Night. I am thrilled to see so many staff and faculty making time for wellness and am incredibly appreciative of our wellness team for providing our community with more new and exciting opportunities during the Fall term. Stay up to date with our wellness programming by visiting the Living Wellness webpage here.

As always, we want to hear from you about new activities, workshops, seminars, and resources that the Faculty of Mathematics can offer, and want your feedback on how we can help improve your health and well-being. Eligible submissions made by students, staff, and faculty from the Faculty of Mathematics will be entered into a draw for a chance to win a $50.00 gift card for the W Store. Our next draw is Tuesday 6 December 2022. Submit your suggestions and feedback here.  

Join me in thanking and congratulating this term’s three staff and faculty winners! 

  • Sarah C. 
  • Jeremy S. 
  • Megan M. 

Equity, diversity and inclusion

The Faculty of Mathematics Equity Office is continuing to host Capacity Building circles in August, with a focus on the impact of equity, diversity, inclusion and anti-racism initiatives on our students.  I’d like to invite and encourage all our community members to take part in these initiatives and continue your educational journey on how to foster and maintain an inclusive environment. For more information and to register, visit the event site here (Note, the password is: EDIAugust2022).  

I am also pleased to announce that the EDI-R Anti-Racism and Indigenization Strategy/Lens Development Committee has been formed and met for the first time on July 26th.  A special thank you to the following individuals for agreeing to support this important work:  

  • Sue Ann Campbell
  • Nancy Day  
  • Maura Grossman  
  • Candace Harrington  
  • Brian Ingalls  
  • Judith Ann Koeller  
  • Christiane Lemieux  
  • Shazerah Qureshi  
  • Brittany Reiche  
  • Siv Sivaloganathan 
  • Robin Stadelbauer  
  • Jeremy Steffler  
  • Michael Wallace  

I look forward to sharing future updates from this group as their work progresses. 

Research Community 

The University of Waterloo recently became a member of Community-Based Research Canada (CBRCanada). As part of Waterloo’s benefits, CBRCanada members are being offered two exciting opportunities:  

As a member of CBRCanada, all Waterloo faculty, staff and students are eligible to register for the course and/or join the community of practice. 


With the beautiful summer weather, there is no better time to take a break from your office and meetings, whether virtual or in person, and enjoy the outdoors with your colleagues. On Tuesday 9 August 2022 and Wednesday 10 August 2022 on the DC Quad, there will be a selection of games set up including Soccer, Spike Ball, Volleyball, Giant Jenga, Connect 4, and more. You can see the complete list of activities and games and sign up for bookable timeslots here

While it is not in August, I am excited to share with you that on September 8, 2022, we will be holding a Faculty Reception and Dinner to celebrate and recognize the awards and achievements of our faculty, welcome new faculty and, recognize retiring faculty members and their contributions. Save the date in your calendars and stay tuned for more details coming soon.  

Alumni Achievements 

There were a couple of notable alumni achievements that hit the news this past month. Esteban Veintimilla (BMath ’18) is the Co-Founder and CEO of the startup, 1Mentor, which was recently recognized as one of the top 100 tech companies to watch for 2022. 1Mentor is an AI-powered platform that enables higher education and students to understand how the labour market is evolving and to receive personalized recommendations to prepare for the future of work. Read more about Esteban and his startup here.

John Schanck (M.Math ‘15 and Ph.D. ‘20) helped to create one of the algorithms selected by the United States National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) as a standardization of general encryption to protect digital communication from attacks by quantum computers. Read more here.  

Joy Jiang (Ph.D. Statistics, ‘18) was named one of the 40 Under 40 Public Health Catalyst Award recipients by The Boston Congress of Public Health which recognizes the next generation of leaders, entrepreneurs, researchers, scientists, activists, intellectual provocateurs, authors, and directors who inspire and catalyze us all to a more just and equitable world. Read more about her and the other winners here

Faculty awards and accolades 

Please join me in celebrating and congratulating our community members who were recognized for their contributions to UWaterloo and the field of Mathematics. Congratulations to the following:  

  • Samer Al-Kiswany, an Associate Professor in the Cheriton School of Computer Science, has been named a Senior Member of the Association for Computing Machinery which recognizes excellence through technical leadership and professional contributions. Read more here.  

  • Daniel Berry, a Professor in the Cheriton School of Computer Science celebrated 50 years as a Professor of Computer Science and has been with us since 1999. Read more here.  

  • Siv Sivaloganathan, the Chair of Applied Mathematics, has been elected Fellow of the Society for Mathematical Biology in recognition of his contributions to the advancement of mathematical biology. Read more here.  

  • Anita Layton, the Associate Dean, Research and International, has been inducted as Canadian Math Society Fellow 2022, recognizing her outstanding contributions in researching and teaching. Read more here.  

  • Anton Mosunov, a Lecturer with the Math Undergraduate Office, wins a WUSA Teaching Award, being selected by students for outstanding teaching and commitment. Read more here. ​​​​​​​

Student awards and accolades 

While many students are enjoying the summer break, Computer Science Post-Doctoral Fellow Nathalia Moraes do Nascimento was working on her startup and perfecting the pitch for the Concept $5K competition. After advancing to the Finals, her team, OrientaMED, was announced as a winner and awarded $5,000 in funding. OrientaMED is developing a breath-based glucometer to replace the blood test with a single breath. Read more here.  

Faculty hires and retirement 

In the coming month, we will be greeted by some friendly new faces. A warm welcome and congratulations to the following faculty members joining us: 

  • Mina Arashloo, who joined Computer Science in a tenure track position as an Assistant Professor 
  • Andrew Zucker, who joined Pure Mathematics in a tenure track position as an Assistant Professor  
  • Xuemiao Chen, who joined Pure Mathematics in a tenure track position as an Assistant Professor
  • Aissa Wade, who joined Pure Mathematics as a tenured Professor
  • Mikko Pakkanen, who joined Statistics and Actuarial Science as a tenured Associate Professor
  • Zelalem Negeri, who joined Statistics and Actuarial Science in a tenure track position as an Assistant Professor
  • Lisa Gao, who will be joining Statistics and Actuarial Science as an Assistant Professor
  • Jonathan Leake, who will be joining Combinatorics and Optimization as an Assistant Professor
  • Vijay Bhattiprolu, who will be joining Combinatorics and Optimization as an Assistant Professor
  • Tyrone Ghaswala, who will be joining The Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing as a Lecturer
  • Anila Yadavalli, who will be joining The Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing as a Lecturer 
  • Wenhu Chen, who will be joining Computer Science as an Assistant Professor 

Staff hires and departures 

Congratulations to the new and continuing staff members, and best wishes to those departing for other opportunities.

  • Welcome to Heather McLaughlin who has joined the Math Graduate Office as the Graduate Studies Supervisor, on a contract basis, on July 18, 2022.
  • Welcome to Beth Harris who has joined the Dean of Math Office as the Alumni Engagement Program Specialist, on a contract basis, on July 25, 2022.
  • Welcome to Karalee Clerk who joined the Math Research Office as the Proposal Development Officer, on Aug 2, 2022.  
  • Welcome back to Nadia Linares, who has returned to her position as Assistant to the Chair of Applied Mathematics as of August 2, 2022. 
  • Jo-Ann Hardy (CS) will be temporarily working as the Recruitment Coordinator until October 31, 2022.
  • Enis Cahit has moved from a contract to a permanent role within the MUO as an Undergraduate Coordinator.
  • Welcome back to Ryan McGuinness (CS) who has returned from parental leave.
  • Sara Mota & Shahmir Masood (Computer Science) were working on contract and have departed UW for other endeavours.
  • Tucker Seabrook (CEMC) will be leaving on August 12, 2022 to attend law school in the fall.
  • Heather Vo (CEMC) will be leaving on August 31, 2022, as her family embarks on a new journey and moves to British Columbia.

Looking forward 

With only 1 more month until a new group of Mathematics students joins us on campus, I hope you can find some time to relax and enjoy the final days of a quiet summer campus. Before we know it there will be a buzz of excitement and new pink ties flying around campus for Orientation Week.  

A big thank you to everyone for continuing to provide an incredible experience for our students, alumni, and each other. I am, as always, proud and humbled to be working with this incredible group of people that helps make the Faculty of Mathematics as incredible as it is. Wishing you and your loved ones all the best through the month of August and beyond.  

Yours truly, 

Mark Giesbrecht

Dean, Faculty of Mathematics, University of Waterloo

Mark Giesbrecht