January 2013

From 2013-2018, the UWaterloo Life Blog revealed many highlights of the University of Waterloo student experience. What started as one story all the way back in 2013, snowballed into over 300 unique tales of adventure and perseverance, a little failure, and a lot of success. If you liked the blog, you’ll love our Instagram! Follow @UWaterloolife to discover new stories of student success and follow along with student takeovers.

Pharmacy focused

Pharmacy student recognized nationally

Danielle Paes may or may not have “started from the bottom”, but now she’s here. “Here” is eight months away from graduating from the Rx2014 class in the Waterloo Pharmacy program, and most recently, receiving the 2013 Commitment to Care & Service Award (CCSA) for Student Leadership.

A little compliment goes a long way

Speech Communication students spread happiness on campus

What does it take to make a change? Six Speech Communication students started “Project Happy Power” this term when they were challenged in their Leadership course (SPCOM 227) to prove that a small gesture can accomplish big things. The goal was to show that advocacy is easy, for anyone.

Steps to the top

Hip Hop Club places first in provincial dance competition

Members of the University of Waterloo Hip Hop Club, known as Kindred Crew, recently took home the trophy for first place from the Ontario Universities Competition for Hip-Hop (OUCH).

Fitness boost

4th year student gets fit with Athletics

Amanda Wheatley, a fourth-year English student, has accomplished a lot this term. She was one of three Wellness Warriors who volunteered to start exercising at least once a week and blog about the experience with uWaterloo Athletics.

$100K handed out to student entrepreneurs

Students take home over $100,000 at VeloCity Fund Finals

For the 8th VeloCity Fund Finals, 10 amazing teams pitched their startups to compete for one of four $25,000 cheques and a place in the VeloCity Garage. Companies pitched ideas that would improve education, retail location planning, online shopping and more.

Going global

Environment students travel to Poland for international climate change conference

 Guest blog by Yale Wang  

This weekend, a team of nearly 20 Environment undergraduate and master’s students returned from the 19th United Nations Climate Change Conference in Poland. The team, formed in September, took just two months to fully prepare for their visit to Warsaw where they would join politicians, non-governmental organizations and official representatives from over 134 nations to discuss the fate of our climate system.

Improving health worldwide

PhD students found health care charity in Nepal

A few years ago, School of Public Health & Health Systems PhD student, Lana Vanderlee, and Kinesiology PhD student, Andrew Mitchell, volunteered in Nepal. An experience that was supposed to last six weeks, however, has continued to impact Lana and Andrew’s lives.

Explore your world

Educating beyond borders

Jenna Bott, a Peace and Conflict Studies students, has always had a passion for travelling and learning about other cultures. It’s only natural then, that she spent her summer beyond borders in East Africa. Jenna volunteered for three months in Uganda for Reach Out Mbuya, an HIV/AIDS non-government organization, working in the “Operation Children Support” program with orphans and vulnerable children.

Fit for the Dragon’s Den

PumpUp cofounders reject offer and continue to grow

Computer Science student Garrett Gottlieb and Laurier student Phil Jacobson recently appeared on CBC's Dragon’s Den with their fitness app PumpUp. While they didn’t make a deal with the investors, they did get a chance to demonstrate their app on national television, and even put Dragon Bruce Croxon through a personalized work out.

Ending the silence

PhD students encourage mental health awareness

Why are you standing up? That’s the question Stand Up to Stigma hopes students will answer this week. PhD students Stephanie Lu and Kristin Brown, along with third-year Suzie Alexander, are bringing back their blackboard campaign to educate and engage students on the topic of mental health.

Transferring knowledge

New student implements peer mentorship program for English students

When Katie Jessup arrived at uWaterloo in January 2012 as a transfer student, she brought along some great experience in peer-mentorship. It’s no surprise that by fall 2012 she was working with Dr. Heather Smyth to create a peer-mentorship program for uWaterloo’s English department.

Live at Waterloo: Humans vs. Zombies

Zombie apocalypse returns to uWaterloo

uWaterloo recently survived a zombie apocalypse, a now familiar event on campus. The dead were raised once again by Brook Jensen, a fourth-year computer science student who was the “Necromancer”/Head Coordinator of Humans versus Zombies (HvZ) this term. Once a term, students wield Nerf Guns and socks in defense against the zombie hordes in the campus-wide game that lasts 24 hours a day for 5 days, but planning starts much earlier in the term.

Happy Halloween uWaterloo

We loved seeing students all over campus in costume today. Who knew Pikachu was a Waterloo student?

Lending an ear

uWaterloo students set up Listening Couches on campus

Fourth-year Knowledge Integration student Ryan Martens and Electrical Engineering masters student Ryan Mann recently offered a new service on campus – free listening. The uWaterloo students met in Fall 2010 at a bible study led by Mann. The meeting sparked more than a friendship; it also led to a wave of positive events around campus.

1 in 5

uWaterloo student aims to end mental health stigma

Nolan Finkelstein has found his voice. The upper-year Arts student wants to break down the stigma associated with mental illness, and with his Imprint column Livin’ on the Edge” he’s started to do just that. Every week Nolan openly shares his experience as a student with mental illness while tackling norms like “boys don’t cry” and frequently advocating the importance of reaching out for help.

Biology goes to Boston

uWaterloo students compete with synthetic biology research

Anjali Arya and the rest of her teammates have been preparing for the International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) regionals since January. In fact Anjali, a 4B Science student, has been involved with iGEM and synthetic biology research during her full four years at uWaterloo.

Lunch with the punk dropout

Engineering students inspired after lunch with Twitter founder Jack Dorsey

While uWaterloo students filled the Hagey Hall Humanities Theatre to see Jack Dorsey speak in September, only a select few Engineering students had the opportunity to sit down and speak with the Twitter founder.

Sustainable commitment

Environment & Business students work with Jack Johnson on environmental initiatives

Environment and Business (EB) fourth year students Emily Ma, Kelly Huang, Kirat Maloka, and Alexandra Ramos are bringing music and environmental sustainability to the masses. Under the name of EcoShift Consultants, the students are working with the Jack Johnson All At Once (AAO) campaign to use social media to promote the AAO’s goals of gaining support for sustainable local food systems and plastic free initiatives.

Business & Pleasure

uWaterloo students expand horizons & explore international trade relationships

International Trade Specialization (ITS) and Management Studies fourth-year students recently returned from Israel with a new perspective on international trade. Jerusalem, the Dead Sea, Technion University, Heseg House, and Hebrew University are just some of the locations the Arts and Business students travelled to this summer to learn about Israel’s heritage, entrepreneurial spirit, and national psyche.

Education innovation

uWaterloo students recommend education overhaul at Learning 2030 summit

Equinox Summit: Learning 2030 wrapped up last week, announcing their recommendations for the future of education. The participants that worked together during this summit included two uWaterloo Knowledge Integration students, Ian Scholten and Zainab Ramahi.

Keeping you on your feet

Master’s student engages uWaterloo students with new athletics programming

Kristen Leal knows how to stay active in more ways than one. The uWaterloo masters student recently took on a new role in Campus Rec as the Student Program Coordinator, Fitness. Kristen has been busy this term promoting new programming like Ballet Bootcamp, Thai Boxing and uWaterloo’s first running club. Kristen is also able to draw 60+ students to the Zumba class she teaches every week.

Storytelling & video games

uWaterloo student shares the story of games studies

Steve Wilcox, a uWaterloo PhD student, wants you to know the importance of video games. He’s sharing the story of Professor Neil Randall’s work with Interactive and Multi-Modal Experience Research Syndicate (IMMERSe) in the games studies field, and it’s earned him a spot as one of the top five storytellers in the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council’s (SSHRC) Research for a Better Life: The Storytellers.

Igniting opportunity

uWaterloo student founds youth engagement organization

Julie Nguyen, a second-year Biotechnology/Chartered Accountancy student, has been involved in her community for as long as she can remember. It comes as no surprise then that in February 2012, Julie founded Sparks Youth Enrichment Group to educate and introduce students to local opportunities, and to empower them to reach their maximum potential.

Off to a great start!

First-year students receive BlackBerry scholarship

Three new uWaterloo students are also three of the Canadian recipients of the BlackBerry Scholars Program. Anastasia Santasheva in Systems Design Engineering, Dinah Shi in Software Engineering, and Cheyenne Guo in Mathematics were chosen out of 500 applications from women across 65 countries, as well as seven other women from around the world.

In tune with mental health

First-year student finalist in prestigious songwriting competition

Maggie Wang, a first-year Knowledge Integration student who goes by “Mags” in the music industry, is one of three finalists in the Gospel/Inspirational category of the John Lennon Songwriting Contest.

International hackathon win

Second-year uWaterloo students conquer 27-hour hackathon

Second year students Rudi Chen and Shida Li have emerged victorious from the 27-hour Nokia Imaging Hackathon in Lund, Sweden. The Computer Science and Software Engineering students, respectively, brought their idea of a Smart Resizing app to life alongside 10 other experienced teams of developers from all over the world.

Orientation online

Behind the screens at Waterloo Orientation 2013

Have you talked to Phil Everson recently? If you’re one of this year’s new students, chances are you have been chatting with the Management Engineering student – or at least one of his team members. Last week, Phil oversaw seven other upper-year students, with varying interests in media, photography, social media and marketing, who brought live updates from Waterloo Orientation.

Planning a weeklong party

Ashley Moraes plans 2013 Welcome Week

As fall term begins, many students will attend Fall Welcome Week celebrations. The week is being organized by Ashley Moraes, a graduating Environment student acting as Welcome Week Event Coordinator.

Passion8 about activities

uWaterloo student’s magazine celebrates hidden talents

Victoria Stacey, a third-year Arts student, has been busy this summer and now she’s ready to share her passion through a new magazine. Passion8 launched digitally on September 1 and will be released in print for purchase later this month. 

Meet the people of Kitchener-Waterloo (KW)

uWaterloo student uses Twitter to connect local community

Ronald Chui, a 4th year Accounting and Financial Management student, wants you to meet the people of Kitchener-Waterloo. Ronald co-founded the rotation curation Twitter account @PeopleofKW in March 2013 with a recent uWaterloo grad, Erin Matheson.

Lights, camera, action = gold

Architecture student’s experimental film wins award

Submitting a film to a film festival is similar to playing a lottery: one never knows what the outcome will be. However, when an Architecture graduate student sent in his film, it won him his third Gold Remi for Experimental Drama at the WorldFest-Houston International Film Festival.

Feet on the ground, sights on the stars

Janine Baijnath chosen to attend Ames Academy with NASA this summer

Geography PhD student, Janine Baijnath, had dreamed of working for NASA since she was six years old, and this summer that dream became a reality. She was the only Canadian chosen to attend the Ames Academy with NASA.

Watching the waters

Environment students connect the dots for Muskoka lake ecosystems

Two Environment students are working in Muskoka this summer to help seven lake associations gather data on nutrient levels in their waterways.

Uniting generations through storytelling

Waterloo co-op student records Stratford history through seniors’ stories 

Stories have a way of connecting people of all generations around a common history. Lindsay Kroes, a third-year Arts student, collected stories and memoirs from 50 Stratford resident seniors and wrote a book about their histories for her co-op term.

Student engineer makes safety a priority

Taxicab app for women in India brings safer streets

In countries like India, violence against women is not uncommon, even in public areas. Engineering student Sujay Arora and three friends are hoping to change that.

Spikes and saves under the sun

Warrior volleyball duo to compete in Canada Games

Things are heating up for uWaterloo athletes Fiodar Kazhamiaka and Sergey Grabovsky. Both were selected to represent Team Ontario in beach volleyball at the 2013 Canada Games

Every action makes a difference

 Kevin Rotsaert is making the world better one project at a time

Environment student Kevin Rotsaert has experienced more cultures in less than 25 years than some people do during their lifetimes. A true world citizen, he has lived in six countries and has led three projects to help others around the world.

VeloCity students reaching new heights

Four VeloCity startups win $100,000 and DemoDay ideas take off

At the Velocity Venture Fund on July 25, ten teams of student entrepreneurs took the stage to pitch their tech startups. Four were chosen by VeloCity judges to win $25,000 each and a coveted workspace in the Velocity Garage.

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