January 2015

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 students get down to business

Each year, universities go head to head to create the most innovative business plan in the field of pharmacy. This year, a Waterloo team came out on top at the Pharmsave Business Competition, winning the top prize of $5,000.

Student artist tackles gender binary with Sex Symbol

Sex Symbol

As part of UWaterloo’s 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, Arts student Madeline Samms set out to challenge the binary system of gender and sexuality.

Step aside Shakespeare - there are new wordsmiths in town

A Battle of Waterloo was played out via poetry and spoken word this past term as one of UWaterloo’s youngest clubs hosted the Battle of Waterloo Poetry Slam.

A picture is worth 1,000 words

IEW photo contest winners

Each year, the Where in the world photo contest is one of the highlights of International Education Week. Out of the 16 finalists, Management Engineering students Juana Attieh and Yahya Wahbeh managed to take first place for their submissions.

Métis grad student tackles gender violence in Beijing

Menke Meijer
For Menke Meijer, going to China was one of the most inspiring and rewarding decisions that she has ever made.

UWaterloo muggles organize cross-province Quidditch tournament

Jonathan Keates of the Waterloo Ridgebacks Scores

This year, Warrior Recreation’s Quidditch Program hosted their first-ever at-home tournament: The Dragon Challenge. On October 17, 2015, ten teams from around Ontario as well as Quebec competed for glory on the V1 Green.

Playing with time at Unity (1918)

Dress Rehearsal Unity
From November 18 to 20, hundreds of guests attended Unity (1918) at the Theatre of the Arts. Written by Canadian playwright Kevin Kerr, the play depicts what happens when the deadly Spanish Flu hits in a small Saskatchewan town thought to be safe from the epidemic. 

Jamaican exchange student brings her research to UWaterloo

Alexis Samuels is a 2015-16 recipient of the Emerging Leaders in the Americas (ELAP) scholarship. The award – managed by Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development – provides funding to some of the top students from Latin America and the Caribbean to conduct an academic exchange in Canada.

After completing her undergraduate degree at the University of West Indies, Alexis enrolled in its master's program in English Literature. From there, she learned about the ELAP scholarship and jumped at the chance to take her learning abroad.

Student speaks at Canada's largest chemical physics conference

Like many students, chemistry major Sarah Bickers wasn’t sure what to expect in the workplace. While she enjoyed learning about the applications of her studies, Sarah didn’t expect to fall in love with research.

UWaterloo Students organize fourth TEDxUW event

On Saturday, November 14th, the University of Waterloo will host its fourth TEDxUW event, the university’s official TED experience.

This weekend's conference will mark the latest event in a series of over 3,000 TEDx talks held around the world as part of the global movement to create open platforms for sharing riveting ideas with the world. 

Master's student Allison Turner receives prestigious Fulbright Award

Allison Turner has been awarded the Fulbright Canada student grant, which will allow her to pursue a Master's degree in Environment and Resource Studies at the University of Waterloo over the next two years.

The 500-dollar selfie

Last week, over 2000 votes were cast in this year’s 24 Hours of Waterloo photo contest. After the final tally, Jordan Grant, a second year Management Engineering student, walked away victorious – capturing the #UWaterlooLife of over 40 students in his thermodynamics classroom selfie. 

Student hackers play with Portal

Peoples Choice Award - Team Waterloo Rideshare

UWaterloo students broke the Student Portal once again during an October 17 hackathon.

Waterloo's Hack the North founders wrap-up another successful event

Hack the North co-founders Kartik Talwar, Kevin Lau and Liam Horne

A few weeks ago, Canada’s largest hackathon, Hack The North (HTN), invited 1000 students to spend 36 long and exciting hours problem solving and creating something meaningful.

Co-op student designs major Kik feature

Katherine Carras

At the beginning of her university career, Katherine Carras vowed to never repeat a co-op placement. However, this summer she found herself working at Kik for the second term in a row.

Why the change of heart? Katherine cites a unique design challenge - Kik Codes, as the main reason for coming back.

Canada's First HeForShe Scholarship Winners

2015 HeForShe Scholarship Winners

Earlier this month, the University of Waterloo announced the first six recipients of the prestigious HeForShe IMPACT scholarship. 

Waterloo welcomes Schulich Leader Scholarship winners

Schulich Leader Scholarship Recipients

This fall, the University of Waterloo welcomes four incoming first-year students that were awarded the Schulich Leader Scholarship for their demonstrated leadership in academic excellence.

Four-year Warrior fever

Brittany with friends and school mascot.

Most students participate in one Orientation week. Maybe two if they volunteer as a leader. But for Brittany Caines, one or two just wasn’t enough. This year she’ll be volunteering for the fourth time during Orientation.

Dancing around the world

Linda Chen is determined to dance her way around the world - and she's taking Waterloo students with her! Her recent video, Brave - Campus Dance Style is a reminder for students to take time to be silly, especially during the stressful exam season.

Rethinking and reinventing steel recycling

When most people look at hydro towers, they don't spare a thought for what happens to them after they're been decommissioned. But for second-year Architecture students, taking a second look at hydro towers earned them $3000 and a trip to San Francisco.

Exploring a new language through friends, a speech and a song

Cathy Wang is a big fan of languages. So much so that this past June she entered Renison University College's first ever Korean Speech Contest and took home the grand prize.

Just keep swimming

Imagine competing in a race where you can’t hear the starter say “Go!”

For Brandon Van Wyk, a competitive swimmer who is hard of hearing, this is what each swim meet is like. Despite this challenge, Brandon is determined to succeed, and on August 17 he will be representing Canada at the World Deaf Swimming Championships in San Antonio, Texas.

Velocity Fund winners lead the self-driving vehicle revolution

Five months ago, Michael Skupien and Alex Rodrigues founded their company, Varden Labs, after a full year of research, concept development and brainstorming. Now, as one of the four Velocity fund $25K winners, the pair hope to drive the autonomous vehicle revolution, one golf cart at a time.

Not your average TA job

Roshan, a third-year Environment and Business student is working as a teaching assistant at the Esperanza Project for his spring co-op term. The title is a little lacking, however, because Roshan is doing much more than just teaching.

The Esperanza Project is a non-profit, volunteer organization based out of the small town of Cabrera, Dominican Republic. They provide supplementary education and extra-curricular programming that encourages growth, both academically and socially.

Your mental health survival pass

During the busy end of term season, stress and anxiety can be a student’s worst enemy. Tina Chan is hoping to help students combat their anxiety with the Panic Anxiety and Stress Support (PASS) kit – a “mental health first aid kit” for students struggling to cope. 

Developing new tools for the student portal

Since its release last year, the Student Portal has grown by leaps and bounds. An integral part of this growth has resulted from the feedback and contributions of UWaterloo students. With this past week's update, the portal is introducing a new, student-developed tool - the Open Classrooms widget.

Keeping calm in an emergency

How would you react in an emergency? Would you know what to do? Science student Sara Canini had her emergency response training put to the ultimate test when she awoke one night to the sounds of her father's girlfriend having a severe asthma attack.

Arts Co-op of the Year

Ever wonder what success really means? For 2014 Arts co-op of the year Skye Wattie, success is accomplished with the help of the people that you meet during your journey - mentors, friends and reminders of resilience in the face of hardship. 

"It's a WatCard, only we can get them"

The WatCard – every UWaterloo student has one, but not every student creates a viral rap video about its' features that receives over 23,000 views on YouTube in less than a week.

Scholarship celebrates 70 years of Dutch liberation

It's not too often you get awarded something in the presence of a bonafide King and Queen. Waterloo Masters student Madelaine Liddy is one of few who can now proclaim such an accomplishment on a resumé. 

Rockstar Café: a youth-centric community

Mark Kryshtalskyj is working to make Rockstar Café more than just your average tea and coffee house.

In January, Mark was accepted into the Next 36 program for his idea of a zero-waste coffeehouse that connected young people looking to make an impact. It's an idea steeped in a desire to blend sustainability, coffee and the youth community. 

Becoming a Team Canada dragon boater

Success is a process; it takes time and effort to achieve great things. For five UWaterloo students who were just named to the Under 24 Canadian National Dragon Boat Squad, success was a process that took time, effort, dedication and teamwork. And paddling. Lots of paddling.

A student of distinction

For the fourth year in a row, a UWaterloo student has been recognized for her dedication and leadership skills by the Ontario Pharmacists Association (OPA) as the recipient of the Student of Distinction Award

Building bridges for a better world

It was his desire to connect engineering and helping others that led Dilan Badshah and his Bridges to Prosperity team from Waterloo all the way to Totolima, Bolivia, in the summer of 2014. Now, Dilan and his team are preparing to return to Bolivia for their next project: constructing a 90 metre long footbridge in Chimoré.

Leading in new situations

Everyone can lead - and does lead - through their everyday actions. A third-year Computational Mathematics student is learning this in thanks to his involvement in UWaterloo's Student Leadership Program (SLP).

A sustainable leader

At age 26, Jillian Rodak has already made her mark in the sustainability world. So much so that Corporate Knights magazine has named Jillian one of this year’s Canadian top 30 young professionals under 30.

Corporate Knights magazine, through a panel of judges, recognizes 30 young entrepreneurs and activists under the age of 30 that they foresee being the leaders of sustainable development.

Jillian, a Masters of Environment and Business (MEB) student, is more than deserving of this achievement. She has helped top brands use technology to improve their corporate social responsibility programs.

Celebrating Canada's 150th birthday

A Global Business and Digital Arts student's interest in Canadian culture and history has led her to national recognition by having her design chosen as Canada's logo for its 150th birthday celebrations this July. 

Designing hope in Haiti

Welcome Home Children’s Centre operates out of a rented facility in Haiti. It is at capacity and the lease is soon expiring. Without the help of Civil Engineering student Marcie van Weerdhuizen and Engineering Ministries International, these children would be without a place to go.

Leaping forward in three minutes

Julie DeWolf is all about taking big steps.

The graduate student completed law school at the University of Victoria in 2013, while maintaining a long distance relationship with her partner, Travis, who was studying at UWaterloo.

After spending three years in different parts of the country, Julie decided she wanted to be closer to Travis. She took the plunge to move from British Columbia to Ontario to pursue her Master of Environmental Studies. Talk about a big step!

Making kindness a priority

Ryan Connell is the definition of inspiration. His generosity and charisma allow him to be an incredible volunteer and show kindness to everyone.

An ethical dilemma

Have you ever had to deal with an ethical dilemma? Perhaps in your schoolwork or your personal life? Well, an undergraduate student is looking more closely at ethical decision-making and how it impacts us all.

Learning a new language pays off

Original photo from Renison University College. 

UWaterloo students put their language skills to the test at the National Japanese Speech Contest in Calgary last weekend.

Hacking their way to success

UWaterloo students broke the University's student portal - in a good way. 

Remaining passion8

It's Victoria Stacey's passion that keeps her magazine moving forward.  

UWaterloo Life talked with the Arts and Business student back in September 2013 about her newly-introduced magazine - we thought we would check in to see how she’s doing.

Starting the conversation

Media often stereotypically portrays fraternities as being instigators of sexual violence. Members of the Theta Psi chapter of the Sigma Chi Fraternity recently released a video speaking out against sexual assault to end the stigma and encourage their male peers to speak out as well.

A celebration of cultures

A celebration of cultural diversity will be rocking the Student Life Centre this evening, at the Federation of Students' annual Cultural Caravan celebrations.

Changing our ecosystem from the ground up

How much do you really know about the creepy crawlers in your backyard? Yes, we are talking about earthworms. PhD student Michael McTavish is somewhat of an expert on this subject. In fact, he is conducting research to understand the impact that exotic earthworms have on our ecosystem.

An exceptional EYE-dea

Alex Wong and Shahid Haider. Original photo from Waterloo Stories. 

It's difficult for Shahid Haider to watch his younger brother prick his finger every day. For people with type 1 diabetes, this is a painful reality when it comes to regularly testing their glucose levels. 

Showcasing the co-op advantage

Rachel McDonald (centre) and colleagues. Original photo provided by The Daily Bulletin

Rachel McDonald's co-op job is paying off in more ways than one, after spending a work term researching the accomplishments of co-op students who came before her.

The Health Studies students recently completed her first co-op term with the Sunnybrook Research Institute where she not only authored a research paper, but was also able to see the finished results published in the  Journal of Cancer Education.

A nutty idea

After being diagnosed with Crohn's disease in Grade 12 and constantly having a limited diet, Alexandra Longo decided it was time she took action to change the way people think about food.

Sparking a change

A recent Sociology grad is putting his best foot forward tomorrow night as he pitches his company that connects people looking to hire live entertainment, on CBC's Dragon's Den.

Bump, set, dominate!

This fourth-year student has been serving it up on the court.

Taking the CEO seat for a day

Bjorn Dawson with Elyse Allan, President and CEO of GE Canada 

Have you ever wondered what the leaders of today's largest companies are like in person? Wouldn't it be amazing to job shadow one of these CEOs? Two Waterloo students were lucky enough to have that opportunity.

Paying it forward to teachers

Do you think teaching is an easy job? One mathematics student had this mindset but quickly changed his tune after he visited some of his old high school teachers and realized just how challenging the profession is. 

The ultimate warrior

A lucky don's warrior spirit is being rewarded with a $2,000 trip voucher to go anywhere in the world.

This couldn’t have come at a better time for Jonna Spadafore, a Recreation and Sport Business student, who is soon about to graduate and has plans to travel in her future. 

Squashing the competition

Cameron Seth has been making quite a "racquet" on the court.

Canada’s luckiest student

Photo provided by Ryan Bolton

Imagine what it'd be like to score $65,000 in prizes. You'd be a pretty lucky student. Daniel Pracsovics is this year's luckiest student across Canada.

Daniel, a Physics and Astronomy student, won more than $65,000 in prizes this past Saturday at the Bombshelter Pub thanks to the Canada’s Luckiest Student contest hosted by Student Life Network. Daniel was joined at the big announcement by 30 of his friends and family who came from Cobourg to celebrate his winnings.

Paddling towards a cure

After losing two close friends to brain cancer, an Environment and Resource Studies student has started an annual grassroots fundraiser to build awareness for brain cancer research.

Triathlete star runs, swims and bikes her way to the top

Kristen Marchant is a quick competitor.

The fourth-year Health Studies student learned about triathlons in just her second year at UWaterloo. With lots of practice and perseverance, Kristen’s hard work has brought her to the point of being recognized by a national triathlon magazine as Female Triathlete of the Year.

United Nations accepts student's $1 million proposal

A fourth-year Environment student’s project proposal to the United Nations requesting $1 million to address environmental and developmental issues in a Botswana community received the green light this month.

On a mission for justice

When Stephanie Fong wanted to join a club on campus that focused on social justice, she had a hard time finding an opportunity that matched her interests. Instead of giving up she created her own club - the International Justice Mission Club.

Facebooking why you do your civic duty

Did you vote in the municipal election last fall? A masters student in Environment was awarded $2,000 last month for sharing his reasons for voting in a social media contest.

Competing for the $10,000 top spot

A Chemical Engineering student ranked among 10 finalists in a biomedical research challenge this past weekend, competing for the chance to win a $10,000 grand prize.

Learning a new language with new friends

Guest blog by Helen He and Christina Chen

Exercising body and mind

Is more exercise one of your New Year's resolutions? A third-year student is bringing a solution to campus to give students more time, better grades, and keep you healthy all at the same time.

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