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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

  • Convocation 2012 was a social (media) affair
  • Researchers get grants for next-gen training
  • Wednesday's notes
  • Editor:
  • Brandon Sweet
  • Communications and Public Affairs

New grads pose with King Warrior before the convocation ceremony on June 15, 2012
Convocation 2012 was a social (media) affair

by Christine Bezruki, alumni officer, communications and marketing, Alumni Affairs

With congratulatory messages from all over the world and even a marriage proposal, Waterloo’s first official social media presence at convocation was a tremendous success.

Recognizing the increasing role social media plays in celebrating major milestones, the Office of Alumni Affairs invited new graduates to “join the CONVO-sation” on Twitter with #uwgrad2012 and coordinated live Twitter walls before and after each ceremony to display many of the more than 2000 tweets that were sent using the hashtag over the four day convocation period.

“We wanted to use social media to have conversations with our newest alumni, share in their excitement and celebrate their success,” said Jason Coolman, Director of Alumni Affairs.

The Twitter walls worked to make the event more inclusive for family and friends, especially those who could not attend the ceremony. And for those at convocation, the walls made the celebration more personal. “It added a nice personal touch to see a tweet with your name in it from a loved one,” said one Twitter user.

This element of personalization also gave the Office of Alumni Affairs a unique way to connect one-on-one with new grads. “Over the weekend we connected individually with over 100 grads through our social media channels, ” said Cynthia Breen, Alumni Officer, e-Services.

“We were able to foster a general dialogue with the hashtag as well as engage alumni one-on-one through direct messaging– which was really special.”

The Waterloo Athletics mascot, King Warrior, also joined in on the social media action.

Mingling in the crowd before the ceremonies, King Warrior posed for pictures with new grads while holding a whiteboard displaying hand-written messages (see photograph above). The pictures were made available on the Alumni Affairs Facebook page. Within the last week alone, the number of people talking about the Alumni Affairs Facebook page increased more than 1000%.

“The results were better than we hoped for," said Aaron Miller, Manager Social Media and Community Engagement. "Social media can be a very powerful communication tool and I think this was a very original and unique way to integrate it into the convocation process." Waterloo’s new grads seem to agree, “It was a great idea! Hope to see more social media integrated into special UW events!” tweeted one user.

The success of the social media initiative would not have been possible without the support of many campus partners. The Office of Alumni Affairs would like to extend sincere thanks to the Office of the Registrar, CPA, Marketing & Undergraduate Recruitment, Athletics, the Student Success Office, the Federation of Students and the Waterloo Photography Club, for helping to make this vision a reality.

To see the best tweets of the CONVO-sation, visit Alumni Affairs online.

Photograph by Richard Liang, Waterloo Photography Club

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Researchers get grants for next-gen training

The University of Waterloo has received two prestigious grants designed to enable leading scientists to mentor and train promising young researchers in quantum information science. Professors David Cory and Michele Mosca, both from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC), received grants worth $1.65 million each to pursue unique training programs in cutting-edge quantum research.

The Collaborative Research and Training Experience (CREATE) grants support the training of teams of exceptional students and postdoctoral fellows by encouraging and improving collaboration, and gaining professional skills and relevant experience while addressing important scientific challenges. The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) funds these grants. The Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State for Science and Technology, announced the awards at an event at the Waterloo campus yesterday.

“Waterloo researchers are known internationally for being among the best in the world,” said Feridun Hamdullahpur. “The CREATE grants promote the cultivation of excellent research talent, and this funding will assist these leaders in making meaningful scientific discoveries while training the next generation of great research talent.”

Michele Mosca and David Cory pose with Gary Goodyear.Professor David Cory (right, at right) will use the CREATE funding to launch a project called the Program on Neutron Science and Engineering of Functional Materials. The project will train graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and undergraduates in the use and development of quantum information processing and neutron methods. Cory is a Canada Excellence Research Chair in quantum information processing.

Cory says his program will explore the intersections of quantum information science and neutron research, aiming to "transform neutron interferometry into a practical tool for characterizing materials, including magnetic and biochemical samples."

Professor Michele Mosca (left, above, with Minister of State Goodyear) received the funding for his project, Building a Workforce for the Cryptographic Infrastructure of the 21st Century. The program will bring together researchers, organizations and industry to prepare the new generation of researchers to pioneer a new global infrastructure for ultra-secure cryptography in the quantum era.

“Future technologies, such as quantum computers, will be powerful enough to break codes we currently rely on to protect private data, so we must harness and deploy new cryptographic tools that will be secure in a quantum world,’” said Mosca, IQC deputy director and co-founder. “This CREATE program will give the next generation of mathematicians, scientists and engineers unprecedented training and opportunities in this fast-changing field.”

Additional support, including funding from Waterloo, doubles Mosca’s total research dollars to $3.3 million, and increases Cory’s funding to more than $2.25 million in order to carry out their research as members of IQC.

Photograph by Rainer Leipscher, Canadian Press.

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Wednesday's notes

Engineering professor James Ford.Dean of Engineering Adel Sedra will be unveiling a plaque commemorating Professor James Ford (right) at an event today at 10:00 a.m. in E6 2024. Ford, who taught chemical engineering at UW from 1959 to 1961 and again from 1964 to his retirement in 1995, died in February 2008.

"For more than 30 years, Professor Ford taught chemical engineering at the University of Waterloo, specializing in heat transfer and solid-gas reactions," reads the invitation. "Professor Ford's legacy as an empathetic role model and coach who reinforced leadership values during his time as Associate Chair of Undergraduate Studies will live on through the naming of this classroom."

Registration is now open for July and August SEW workshops. A full list of course descriptions is available online.

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myHRinfo down for maintenance starting tomorrow

Human Resources is reporting that myHRinfo will shut down for scheduled system maintenance from Thursday June 28 at 4:30 p.m. until Monday July 2. During the shut-down period users will not be able to login or to make changes to any information using myHRinfo. Please check for updates on availability.

Link of the day

Seven Sleepers Day

When and where

UWRC presents What's Your Hang Up? featuring Annette Trudelle, certified interior decorator, Wednesday, June 27, 12:00 p.m., NH 1116. Register by emailing uwrc@

James Ford commemoration event, Wednesday, June 27, 10:00 a.m., E6 2024.

WIN Seminar Series featuring Prof. T. Lazar Mathew,
Advisor - Medical Sciences, Engineering & Technology, PSG Institute of Advanced Studies, Coimbatore, India
Chairman, National Programme on Micro and Smart Systems (NP-MASS) for Medical, Food and Environmental Applications, Government of India,
"MEMS for Medical Application - Current Scenario in India",
Thursday, June 28, 11:00 a.m., DC 1304.

Water Institute Seminar Series featuring Dr. Trevor Dickinson, Professor Emeritus, University of Guelph, “How rising temperatures have changed winter hydrology across Ontario,” Thursday, June 28, 2:30 p.m., RCH 309.

Canada Day holiday observed Monday, July 2, classes cancelled, university offices and most services closed.

To compensate for Monday, July 2 (Canada Day), Wednesday, July 4 will follow a Monday schedule of classes. The Wednesday, July 4 schedule will not be re-scheduled.

Shad Valley program, July 1 to July 27.

WatRISQ presents Stephen Vanduffel, associate professor, Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), "Mean-Variance Optimization in Presence of a Stochastic Benchmark,” Tuesday, July 3, 4:00 p.m. DC 1304.

Waterloo Summit Centre for the Environment open house, Thursday, July 5, 5:00 p.m., 87 Ford Hills Drive, Huntsville. For info contact Robin Brushey, Events Manager, Waterloo Summit Centre for the Environment, University of Waterloo, at 705-571-0259 or rbrushey

Waterloo Residences presents the 2012 Make Your Mark Student Staff Conference for Housing and Residences’ and the University Colleges’ student staff and volunteers. Saturday, July 7. Details.

Waterloo Institute for Sustainable Energy (WISE) presents Charles Xu, associate professor, Western University, "Thermochemical and Catalytic Upgrading Biomass into Industrial Bioproducts," Monday, July 9, 1:30 p.m., CPH 4333.

Thank You Celebration for David Perrin, president, St. Jerome's University, Thursday, July 12, 3:00 p.m., D.R. Letson Community Centre, St. Jerome's University.

UWRC Book Club, "The Grief of Others" by Leah Hager Cohen, Wednesday, July 18, 12:00 p.m., LIB 407.

Lectures end, Wednesday, July 25.

Positions available

On this week's list from the human resources department, viewable through myHRinfo:

• Learner support – Centre for Extended Learning, USG 5
• Online Technologies Consultant – Centre for Extended Learning, USG 8-10
• Research Financial Analyst – Office of Research, USG 7
• Assistant Catering Services Person – Food Services
• Apprentice Cook-Ongoing – Food Services
• Apprentice Baker-Ongoing – Food Services
• Faculty Financial Officer – Dean of Engineering Office, USG 12
• Director, Engineering Research – Dean of Engineering, USG 15
• Communications Associate – ODAA – Development Programs-Donor Relations, USG 8
• Student Advisor – Coop Education & Career Action, USG 8/9

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