The Catalyst Anti-racism Newsletter - Issue 12

Monday, May 30, 2022
The Catalyst banner


Welcome to the twelfth issue of The Catalyst Anti-racism newsletter.

May is Asian Heritage Month. This year Asian Heritage Month is being celebrated under the theme “Continuing a legacy of greatness.” In recognition of the month, the Catalyst is featuring stories highlighting Asian excellence.

This month our message from the chair comes from Vivek Goel, President, and Vice-Chancellor, who shares reflections on Asian Heritage month.

In this issue:

Message from the Chair

Vivek Goel, President, and Vice-Chancellor

Vivek Goel

President Goel reflects on Asian Heritage Month 

Originally published on Waterloo News on May 16

Asian Heritage Month is an opportunity to recognize the many accomplishments and contributions that Canadians of Asian heritage, including our colleagues and students here at the University, continue to make in our country and communities.

The continent of Asia encompasses more than 60 per cent of the world’s population, and represents many languages, ethnicities, and religious traditions. It is important to recognize that Asian culture is not one monolith, but a mosaic of cultures and traditions—all of which add rich diversity to our communities. 

Amidst the celebration of our vibrant communities, we need to recognize Canada’s complicated history of anti-Asian racism and that discrimination against people of Asian heritage still exists in our society today. Fight COVID Racism has tracked a 47 per cent increase in reports of anti-Asian racist incidents received by its online platforms in 2021 compared to 2020. 

In the recently released President’s Anti-racism Taskforce (PART) report, recommendations include educating the university at large about cultural identity and perceptions while developing a greater sense of belonging for all members of our community.  

Preliminary results of the 2021 University of Waterloo Equity Survey tell us that over 50 per cent of our student population has Asian heritage. To meet our commitment of creating an institution where everyone belongs, it is vital that we commit to deeper learning about Asian experience and identity and continue to work to dismantle racism at our institution. 

Back to top

Subscribe to The Catalyst to receive each issue directly to your inbox

Anti-racism across campus

President Goel receives the PART report 

PART report cover

The University of Waterloo strives to support an equitable environment where everyone in our community can learn, grow and thrive. In 2020, we formed the President’s Anti-Racism Taskforce (PART) and made a public commitment to engage our community and address systemic racism across our campuses.

Consulting with groups across our community, members of the Taskforce have carefully and thoughtfully prepared a series of recommendations to advance this critical mission. I am pleased to receive PART’s comprehensive report with eighty-eight recommendations to address racism in all its forms at the University.

Implementation of such a comprehensive set of recommendations requires us all to make a commitment to enact changes here at Waterloo.

Read the entire message here.

Back to top

Student feature 

Manh-Kien Tran builds a smart cloud-based battery management system

Manh-Kien Tran

Originally published on January 6, 2022 by University Relations

“I've always called this era the renaissance of energy innovation,” says Manh-Kien Tran, a Chemical Engineering PhD student. His research centers on an innovative field: cloud-based battery management, with a focus on lithium-ion batteries.

Lithium-ion batteries are extremely prevalent, found in everything from household electronics to electric cars. Explaining how batteries store energy, Tran says, “I think of them as a new type of fuel tank.” Read the entire article here.

Back to top


 Staff feature 

Meet Anne Galang, associate director, Executive Communications

Anne Galang

Anne Galang is the associate director, Executive Communications at University Relations, where she leads the Executive Communications team in advising and supporting the President and the President’s Office with strategic communications.

Born and raised in Vancouver, BC, Anne Galang, who is of Filipino descent, has a Bachelor of Arts from UBC and a Masters of Arts from the University of Waterloo. She is a member of the President’s Anti-racism taskforce (PART) where she served as co-chair of the Race, Culture and Ethnicity Awareness working group and was a member of the implementation team.

Working with PART, she was instrumental in not only developing recommendations for the PART report, but also planning PART events throughout the year. Galang moderated a panel discussion for Asian Heritage Month in May 2021, titled “Explorations of identity, perceptions and belonging”  which explored Asian-Canadian identity and anti-Asian racism. 

While Anne Galang has long been attuned to issues of equity, diversity, and inclusion, she credits her work with PART for giving her the opportunity to integrate anti-racism more explicitly in into her personal and professional life.

“Working with PART has been such an incredible learning experience,” she said. "I feel so honoured to have been part of this initiative and for being able to work alongside such a dedicated and inspiring group of people.”

The associate director of Executive Communications is pleased with the release of the PART report, which has 88 recommendations for dismantling racism. She is grateful to the many individuals who volunteered to contribute their time and effort to this initiative, during an undoubtedly stressful year of working during a pandemic.

“Thank you for all you did,” she said. “It’s difficult but necessary work and too often the additional burden falls on the shoulders of racialized individuals. I hope you all make time and space to take care of yourselves and set boundaries and limits, and to celebrate successes.”

Galang believes, however, that while there is a lot to be proud of, there's still a long road ahead. She looks forward to being involved in keeping the campus community up-to-date on the progress made on the recommendations, as they are implemented.

Back to top

Research spotlight

Preparing for the next pandemic

Dr. Jean-Paul Lam

Originally published on February 8, 2022, by the Faculty of Arts

Nobody wants to think about the next pandemic. But we need to be prepared, and a critical step in prevention is early detection and intervention.

That’s why GoodLabs Studio, a company with strong ties to the University of Waterloo, is advancing the power of machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) to alert health-care authorities with real-time, data-driven insights for decision-making to prevent a future pandemic.

In early 2021, Canada’s Department of National Defense (DND) invited proposals for innovations that strengthen the response to future pandemics. GoodLabs, co-founded by Thomas Lo (BMath ’94) jumped on the opportunity and have since won two successive grants from DND to develop the Syndrome Anomaly Detection System (SADS). SADS performs widespread disease monitoring to detect patterns of atypical disease across communities so that healthcare and policy leaders can act quickly.

“We’ve learned from COVID-19 just how fast-moving pandemics are, and therefore how valuable reliable data in real-time is for understanding risk,” says Dr. Jean-Paul Lam of the Department of Economics, special advisor and team lead for AI outbreak detection on the project. Read the entire article here.

Back to top

Alumni spotlight

Susan Shu Chang (BA '17) wins the Arts 2021 Young Alumni Award

Susan Shu Chang

Originally published on Dec 2, 2022, by the Faculty of Arts

While she excelled in econometrics during her undergraduate studies at Waterloo, Susan Shu Chang soon established her expertise in applied machine learning and game development – the two main strands of her astonishing range of expertise in the tech space.

Today, just four years since she graduated with her BA Hons, she is a Principal Data Scientist at Clearco, a finance-tech company that provides growth capital for online businesses. But that’s certainly not all: Susan is also the founder of Quill Game Studios, which creates narrative-focused games, selling 10-thousand copies of her debut game within six months of its release. Already sharing her deep knowledge and expertise, you can find Susan speaking internationally at conferences such as PyCon US, Red Hat Developer Day, Toronto Machine Learning Summit, and more. Read the entire article here.

Back to top

Bulletin board 

Charmaine Dean talks PART on Beyond the Bulletin

Charmaine Dean

Charmaine Dean, vice-president, research and international, and PART executive- designate leads engagement and action for the President’s Anti-racism Taskforce, and shares recommendations from the PART report.

Listen here.

EDI Research and Commercialization Engagement

A Message from the Office of Research

You are invited to participate in a one-one-one interview with a senior CEC strategist which will help to identify and understand barriers that could be impacting the participation of peple from equity-deserving groups in contract research and commercialization activities at the University of Waterloo.

Specifically, we welcome the participation of women, people beyond the gender binary, 2SLGBTQ+, Indigenous Peoples, people from racialized communities, and persons with disabilities. The interview will be an opportunity for you to share your ideas, thoughts, and experiences in a confidential, supportive, and safe space.

We recognize that confidentiality is very important in this process. No one from the university will be present at the interview nor will the interview be recorded. CEC will be conducting a thematic analysis of the feedback collected during interviews and reporting summaries back to key internal parties.

If you have accessibility needs which may impact your ability to engage in the consultations process, please contact Ivana Lochhead ( and/or Davy Sabourin ( at Canadian Equality Consulting to ensure accommodation. If you have any general questions about this process, please also reach out to Ivana and/or Davy directly. Sign up here.

Created Equal Podcast

From Statistics Canada 

Canada’s diversity and rich cultural heritage have been shaped by the people who have come from all over the world to call it home. But even in our multicultural society, eliminating all forms of discrimination remains a challenge. In this episode, we turn a critical eye to the ways that cognitive bias risks perpetuating systemic racism. Statistics are supposed to accurately reflect the world around us, but are all data created equal? Listen to the podcast here.

Back to top