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Friday, March 19, 2004

  • Robot on skates scores gold medal
  • Donor supports research internships
  • Notes at the end of winter
Chris Redmond

Snowman burning will mark spring

[Three with trophy; robot at handler's feet]

Robot on skates scores gold medal

A team of fourth-year systems design engineering students is back from Calgary with a gold medal from Skatebot 2004, a competition for robots on skates.

Sarah Hamilton, Katherine McLean and Mark Greco (right) took first place last weekend with "Waterbot" (also pictured) in the "open" category. There was also a competition for Lego robots.

"The robots must propel themselves using skates," Greco explains, "and the race is held on the long-track rink of the Olympic Oval in Calgary. The competition consisted of five parts: Video, Presentation, Budget (cost of the robot), Skating Motion (how well the robot replicated speed skaters skating motion), 25-metre Sprint. We received full marks in Video and Presentation. Team Waterbot placed first overall in the Open robot category against two other robot designs."

Waterbot was sponsored by the Engineering Society, the Waterloo Engineering Endowment Fund, the systems department, and MJ Systems. Supervisor for the project was SDE professor Hamid Tizhoosh, with support from graduate student Chad Schmitke.

Highlights from the competition will be shown on the Discovery Channel in a few weeks' time, Greco reports.

  • Record columns by Perimeter Institute director Howard Burton
  • Snow data from UW's north campus
  • Faculty on strike at Bishop's U
  • Carleton U's awareness campaign
  • Student videos of first-year life at Duke
  • PM endorses 'regional universities' (Star)
  • Federal student aid helps rich, economists say (Star)
  • U of T also looking at 2 per cent budget cut
  • Copyright clearance hit-or-miss at U of T (Varsity)
  • The Educator's Reference Desk
  • Funding for big 'sustainability' research projects (Star)
  • Donor supports research internships

    UW's program of research internships for undergraduate students "seems to be catching on", says Olaf Naese of the co-op education and career services department, reporting that 58 students have jobs supported by the program this term.

    The research internships are full-time jobs (mostly, but not always, on a co-op work term) giving students an opportunity to contribute to the work of a lab at UW or in a closely associated company. The student's salary is partly subsidized by a fund from the central UW budget.

    Naese said the provost's office has approved funding for 150 internships in the coming year. A total of 181 students found jobs under the program in 2003-04, up from 96 last year.

    Faculty members interested in hiring a student under the program can get in touch with co-op and career services staff: Sandy Clipsham (accounting and mathematics), ext. 7374; Diane McKelvie (science and applied health sciences), ext. 2438; Shirley Thompson (arts and environmental studies), ext. 3698; Janet Metz (engineering), ext. 3373.


    Purdy Crawford

    The research internships were featured in the recent "donor report" about UW's financial supporters, with attention drawn to business executive Purdy Crawford for his "leadership pledge" to help pay the cost of the internships.

    Says the donor report: "The chance to help advance the frontiers of knowledge through pure or applied research may be years away -- at the graduate level -- for even the most excellent students. Not any more. About two years ago, the University of Waterloo introduced an innovative program of research internships for undergraduate students.

    "With the help of participating faculty members, companies, and friends of the University, the internships have opened up an exciting new world for students who have the drive and talent to join research teams at a very early stage in their academic careers.

    "In 2002, the budding program received a major boost with a leadership pledge from Purdy Crawford. The gift will establish the Purdy Crawford Undergraduate Research Internships, which will provide challenging and rewarding job opportunities on campus for co-op students in any faculty."

    Crawford is counsel for a major Toronto law firm, chairman of the board of Allstream (formerly AT&T Canada) and former chief executive of Imasco. He also serves on UW's board of governors and as vice-chair of the Campaign Waterloo steering committee.

    Says Crawford: "Government and business have come to the realization that knowledge is a strategic asset. In order to build talent for the future, we have to invest in the best learning opportunities for the best and brightest students. The federal government and province are providing more targeted funds for this purpose, and it's clear that companies and individuals have to invest, too."

    Sixth annual financial econometrics conference hosted by Centre for Advanced Studies in Finance, Davis Centre room 1304, details online.

    March Madness 3-on-3 basketball tournament sponsored by campus recreation, 4 to midnight tonight and all day Saturday, Columbia Icefield.

    'The Right Stuff' showing, sponsored by Waterloo Space Society, 7 p.m., POETS pub, Carl Pollock Hall.

    Anxious Blue plays Federation Hall tonight, $5 cover at the door.

    Music at WLU: "In the Spirit of Understanding", with rappers, blues and jazz artists, Inuit throat singers, dancers and filmmakers, saxophone, cello, keyboard, doors open 6:00, Wilfrid Laurier University Theatre-Auditorium, tickets $20 (students $12).

    Alumni career planning workshop tomorrow, full.

    Punks: Handheld, Caulfield, Iron Bitchface, presented by CKMS-FM, Saturday from 7:30, Student Life Centre multipurpose room, $5.

    Engineering grad ball Saturday night.

    French movie festival, Saturday 7 p.m., Maureen Forrester Recital Hall, WLU.

    Student awards office will be closed Monday morning until 10:30.

    Sisters in Spirit event sponsored by aboriginal student office and association: drum songs, and two speakers about aboriginal women who have been murdered, Monday 7:30, St. Paul's United College.

    [Celebrating 20 years, all-ages night at Federation Hall]

    Notes at the end of winter

    The graduate studies office is just about moved into its new space on the second floor of Needles Hall, and is scheduled to be open for business there today. The new office number is NH 2072; phone numbers including the main line, ext. 5411, are unchanged. "We hope you will bear with us," writes GSO director Lynn Judge, "and we look forward to welcoming you to our new office."

    Student in Environment and Resource Studies 101, "Issue Analysis and Problem Solving for Environmental Studies", will be presenting the results of their group deliberations on Saturday from 9:30 to 3:15 in Environmental Studies II room 286. Visitors are welcome. ERS 101 takes a current, large environmental issue and models dispute resolution and decision-making with a simulated, day-long event. This year, instructor Paul Kay reports, the topic has been "A Policy for Ontario's Secure Water Future". The chosen decision-making method is a "citizens' deliberative consensus conference". Students are role-playing "typical" Ontarians. Tomorrow's event will hear from six panels as they present to, and receive comments from, two experts in water management and policy. Stephen Carty is assistant director of the water policy branch of Ontario's ministry of the environment. David B. Brooks is director of research for Friends of the Earth Canada. "We are pleased to have these two distinguished experts with us," says Kay. "We expect that the results of the students' work will extend far beyond the term and classroom."

    [Sullivan] John Sullivan (right), a free safety on the Warrior football squad, has been invited to the annual Canadian Football League evaluation camp, taking place this weekend in Ottawa. The event gives players eligible for the CFL draft on April 29 a chance to show off their skills in the hope of impressing at least one of the teams that might choose them. Sullivan was named Most Valuable Player on the Warriors this year and was an Ontario all-star and the Ontario nominee for the national President's Trophy for the most outstanding defensive player.

    And . . . a memo came out yesterday from Jane Manson, UW's director of finance, reminding departments that the financial year end will be April 30. "It is necessary to finalize all accounting transactions for the 2003-04 year in a timely manner," she notes. In other words, get your paperwork in -- travel claims, invoices, transfers and so on. "All faculty professional expense reimbursements that can be settled now should be submitted," she also writes. Specific year-end deadlines will be announced later.


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