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Waterloo Nanotechnology Conference explores possibilities

Friday, March 2, 2018

On November 18, 2017, the University of Waterloo welcomed some big names in Canadian and American nanotechnology research to the Waterloo Nanotechnology Conference (WNC) where they joined industry representatives, Waterloo faculty and more than 200 students in an effort to strengthen their mutual understanding of how nanotechnology is taught and how it is used in innovative research.

This student-organized conference provided an opportunity for students, employers and entrepreneurs to learn from one another and better plan for the exciting future of nanotechnology.

The conference’s distinguished speakers included

  • Joanna Aizenberg, Professor of Materials Science at Harvard University whose engagement with the Waterloo nano community has helped foster the development of dozens of future nano specialists.
  • Rina Carlini, an active player in the local nanotechnology community, who sits on the board of directors for the Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology and Nano Ontario and has devoted her career to technology innovation and entrepreneurship.  
  • Dan Sinai, who manages IBM Canada’s innovation and incubation initiatives aimed at the Canadian startup community.
  • Duncan Stewart, who is responsible for National Research Council’s Security and Disruptive Technologies research portfolio.

Attendees heard from an expert panel of nano industry representatives of companies ranging from startups to multinationals who shared their perspectives on industry trends and career opportunities.

A poster session featuring students' research gave everyone the opportunity to learn more about the exciting opportunities Waterloo NE co-op students have had to hone their skills. Students presented a wide variety of projects, including some based on research at Waterloo, Harvard, MIT and University of Cambridge.

Since it was founded in 2015 under the name Waterloo Undergraduate Nanotechnology Conference (WUNC), this event has grown in reputation and attendance. This year, undergraduate and graduate students from Waterloo mingled with those from other institutions, including McMaster, Toronto and as far afield as Calgary and Boston. It provides a unique and valuable opportunity for students to network with others in their discipline and learn from their experiences.

WNC organizers look forward to capitalizing on this year’s success to continue educating and inspiring participants in future conferences.

students and faculty at the Waterloo Nanotechnology Conference

Professor Joanna Aizenberg poses with some of the 35+ NE students who have worked with her over the years. (L-R): Seneca Velling, Jatin Patil, Alisha Bhanji, Sahad Vasanji, Prof. Aizenberg, Timothy Wong, Austin Tripp, Tom Storwick and Chris Taylor

Many students, including the WNC executive and other volunteers, worked together to organize the 2018 Waterloo Nanotechnology Conference.

students who volunteered at the Waterloo Nanotechnology Conference

Front (L-R):  Vismit Joshi, Mary Chen, Dana Ayyash, Alisha Bhanji, Akshayaa Govindan, Tabi Salimi and Jatin Patil
​Back (L-R):  Tianyi Yang, David Liang, Joshua Wicks, Koen Bertens, Sahad Vasanji, Seneca Velling, Isaac Harris and Tom Storwick

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