Wednesday, August 13, 2008

  • New immigration program announced
  • Canadians off to Informatics Olympiad
  • Profs in the news: chutzpah, nanotubes
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

New immigration program announced

CEC event at UW

(From left: UW President David Johnston, Gerardo Salas, Olivia Siswanto, Eman Alabadleh, Minister Diane Finley, Shirwan Sumaroo, Rita Maria Lopez Laphitz, Avvey Peters.)

The Honourable Diane Finley, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, chose the Festival Room in South Campus Hall as the venue for a major announcement on Tuesday morning.

UW President David Johnston introduced Finley, who spoke about the Canadian Experience Class (CEC) program, flanked by international students attending Waterloo: Gerardo Salas, from Mexico, an undergrad in mechanical and mechatronics engineering; Eman Alabadleh, from Palestine, a master's student in management science; Shirwan Sumaroo, an arts undergrad from Mauritius; and Rita Maria Lopez Laphitz, a biology master's student from Argentina.

The CEC is described in a press release as "a proposed new avenue for immigration for certain temporary foreign workers and foreign student graduates with Canadian work experience. Unlike other existing programs, this proposal will allow an applicant’s Canadian experience to be considered a key selection factor when immigrating to Canada."

"Choosing newcomers based on knowledge of our labour market and experience within Canadian society would make Canada a more attractive destination for skilled individuals from around the world,” Finley said. “International students and skilled workers would be more likely to choose Canada if they knew their time in Canada and contribution to Canadian society would assist in their eligibility to apply to stay permanently.”

Next to speak was Olivia Siswanto, a UW student who expects to complete a bachelor's degree in science and business by 2011. Siswanto, who came to Canada in 2004 at 16 years old to complete a pre-university program in Hamilton, shared her immigration story, including how the introduction of the CEC will benefit her.

Avvey Peters spoke on the benefits of CEC from the perspective of an employer. Peters is executive director, communications and government relations for Communitech, an organization supporting high-tech industry in Waterloo Region.

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Canadians off to Informatics Olympiad

from a UW Media Relations press release

IOI logo 2008While the summer Olympics athletes dazzle in Beijing, University of Waterloo mathematics experts will coach a team of Canada's top high school computing stars in the prestigious International Olympiad in Informatics (IOI) to be held next week in Cairo, Egypt, August 16 to 23.

The annual week-long IOI competition, which has been held since 1989, features 400 of the world's top computer science high school students, selected through national computing contests. About 250,000 young people compete in total each year to represent their country.

High school students from Canada at IOI 2008 The four Canadian students heading for Egypt are (from left) Tom Szymanski of Windsor, Ontario, Aaron Voelker of Smittsville, Ontario, Robin Cheng of Coquitlam, B.C., and Hanson Wang of Toronto. They will be coached by Troy Vasiga, a UW computer science lecturer and director of the Canadian Computing Competition, Ian Munro, a computer science professor, and Graeme Kemkes, a doctoral student in combinatorics and optimization.

To represent Canada, the four students competed earlier this year in the Canadian Computing Competition, run annually by UW's Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing based in the Faculty of Mathematics.

The team and their UW coaches leave on Friday. As well, Mary Joy Aitken, senior development officer in the Faculty of Mathematics, will accompany the team and run a blog, complete with photos and updates, throughout the competition.

"Our team is very well prepared and ready to give their best efforts in the competition," Vasiga says. "We are quite excited to be going to Egypt and our students will be touring parts of Egypt near Cairo including the pyramids and the Nile river."

In 2010, UW will be the first Canadian university ever to host the IOI competition. About 400 of the brightest young people aged 14 to 17 from nearly 100 countries will come to Waterloo to participate in the competition.

The IOI, first proposed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), is the world's premier high school computer programming competition.

The goals of the IOI are to challenge and give recognition to young students from around the world who are the most talented in informatics (computer programming) and to foster friendship among these students from diverse cultures.

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Profs in the news: chutzpah and nanotubes

Randy Harris, English departmentAn article in the August 15 issue of the Chronicle of Higher Education ("Who Framed George Lakoff?") cites a passage from a book by Randy Harris (right), professor of linguistics, rhetoric, and communication design in UW's English department. Here's the snippet from the Chronicle article: "One illustrative episode, recounted in Randy Allen Harris's The Linguistics Wars (1993, New York: Oxford University Press) has Lakoff repeatedly interrupting [Noam] Chomsky to shout, 'Noam! Noam! You're wrong!' At another point, Lakoff interjects: 'I have been lecturing about these things, and if you are interested, you should come to my class.' As Harris . . . notes wryly, 'the level of gall required for anyone, let alone a junior lecturer, to tell the inventor of the field to attend his classes if he wanted to stay current goes right off the chutzpah meter.'" Harris's book is described by one reviewer as "intellectual drama crossed with a Shakespearean history play."

Shirley Tang, ChemistryNanoscience research led by UW professors Shirley Tang of chemistry (left) and Niels Bols of biology has been featured in an article entitled "Carbon Nanotubes Compromise the Functions of Certain Protozoa, Study Shows," in, June 18. The research found that certain single-celled organisms, when exposed to carbon nanotubes, become less healthy and less able to eat up bacteria, which could lead to some bacteria populations ballooning. The organisms do, however, ingest the carbon nanotubes — which poses another potential problem, that of the nanotubes moving up the food chain. The researchers earlier published their findings in Nature Nanotechnology, May 11; that article is also online.

CPA staff

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Link of the day

Discovery Days in Yukon

When and where

Library hours extended for exam season, through August 16: Dana Porter Library, 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily; Davis Centre library, 24 hours a day except Sundays 2 a.m. to 8 a.m.

Spring term exams August 5-16 (schedule online).

Kitchener-Waterloo Little Theatre auditions for “Twelve Angry Men” (male actors, technical and production staff) August 11-13, 6 to 9 p.m., Humanities room 334 (production opens October 23, information e-mail

Laughter Yoga: event for all UW employees through the UW Recreation Committee, today, 6 to 6:45 p.m., Waterloo Park at Albert Street. Will be cancelled in the event of rain or lightning.

Hot water will run cold in UW Place on Thursday, 8 a.m. - 4 p.m., while gas supply stations are relocated.

Student Life Centre will have no electrical power on Friday, 5 to 7 a.m., to allow installation of a breaker for the QNC construction site. Computer equipment should be shut down beforehand.

Math Undergraduate Office (MC 4022) will be closed to walk-in traffic, August 15-22, for construction work. Staff will answer phones and emails.

Warrior football tryouts and team meeting Monday, August 18, 8:30 a.m., Columbia Icefield football room.

Warrior men’s golf fundraising tournament Tuesday, August 19 (note date change), Whistle Bear Golf Club, Cambridge, for information e-mail

Warrior soccer tryouts and team meetings Tuesday, August 19, women 4 p.m., men 6 p.m., Columbia Icefield soccer fields.

Warrior women’s field hockey tryouts and team meeting Saturday, August 23, 10 a.m., Columbia Icefield meeting room.

Warrior men’s baseball tryouts and team meeting Saturday, August 23, 1 p.m., Columbia Icefield diamonds.

Fee payment deadline for fall term is August 25 (cheque, money order, fee arrangement) or September 3 (bank transfer), details online.

Warrior rugby tryouts and team meetings Monday, August 25, men 9 a.m., women 5 p.m., Columbia Icefield rugby field.

Single and Sexy’ preview performance Thursday, August 28, 1 p.m., Humanities Theatre, admission free, all staff and faculty, family, friends and community members welcome. Followed by reception at 2:30 marking 20th anniversary of the play. RSVP by August 15 to

Labour Day Monday, September 1, UW offices and most services closed (move-in day for residences).

Orientation Week September 1-6.

English Language Proficiency Examination September 3, Physical Activities Complex, details online.

Fall term classes begin Monday, September 8.

Fed 101 beginning-of-term party Monday, September 8, Federation Hall, doors open 10 p.m.

Homecoming 2008 Saturday, September 27, details on alumni web site.

Positions available

On this week’s list from the human resources department:

• Environmental engineering technologist, Civil and environmental engineering, USG 7/8
• Research co-ordinator, natural sciences, engineering, and mathematics, Office of Research, USG 8
• Administrative assistant, Arts undergraduate office, USG 5
• Manager, IT security, Information systems and technology, USG 14
• Department secretary, Systems design engineering, USG 4
• Project manager, Population Health Research Group, USG 7
• Mentor, Professional Development for Engineering Students (PDEng), USG 5/6

Longer descriptions are available on the HR web site.

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