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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

  • Students awarded for exceptional teaching
  • Three-Minute Thesis finals today
  • Advanced achievements
  • Wednesday's notes
  • Editor:
  • Brandon Sweet
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Students awarded for exceptional teaching

The recipients of the 2013 Amit & Meena Chakma Award for Exceptional Teaching by a Student were present at Monday's meeting of the university's senate, when associate provost graduate studies Sue Horton made the announcement. The winners are:

  • Jonathan Eyolfson, Electrical & Computer Engineering
  • Kyra Jones, Biology
  • Alex Shum, Applied Math
  • Shuntaro Yamagishi, Pure Math

Jonathan Eyolfson.Jonathan Eyolfson, a graduate student in Electrical and Computer Engineering, has been a teaching assistant and instructor for various courses for several years. His deep understanding of the material and dedication to teaching are noted by students in his department. They described him as “a knowledgeable and approachable teaching assistant who really understands our confusion.” The course instructor noted his contribution in re-working the format of the course and appreciated the challenging assignments he created. The help sessions he conducted before midterms and final exams were always well attended. His professor complimented those sessions in his nomination letter: “Students came into his sessions confused and left enlightened; I sometimes feel that I understand the material better for seeing him explain it.” Jonathan’s drive for constant self-improvement makes him an exceptional teaching assistant.

Kyra Jones.Kyra Jones, a graduate student in Biology, has been a teaching assistant and instructor for various biology courses. She is described as a person who can “shine in the classroom”. Her naturally calm and approachable personality creates an open and relaxed environment where students are encouraged to express their own opinions and ask questions. Her students regarded her as “a very strong, capable person who contributed greatly to the learning success of the class” and are immensely grateful to her for the coaching and study methods. Kyra is seen as “a regular source of guidance and mentorship” by her colleagues; one of them stated: “her leadership demonstrated her preparedness and insight into the topic. I could always look to her for an interesting opinion and good critical analysis.” Kyra is recognized as an exceptional student instructor and a wonderful role model for her peers.

Alex Shum.Alex Shum, a graduate student who is completing his PhD in the field of Applied Math, had shown his gift of teaching since he first joined University of Waterloo in 2008. Students acknowledged his ability to “turn abstract concepts into simply understood yet thought provoking examples”. His well-prepared lectures incorporated with various teaching methods are highly regarded by his students since it turned learning the challenging calculus course into an enjoyable experience. His students also remarked his genuine concern for each student’s progress and cheerful positive attitude. “Alex does not just teach math,” wrote by one of his students, “he creates an understanding of the uses and applications of calculus with examples which has an impact on the rest of our careers.” Alex’s passion and unique ability of teaching is admired by many other teaching assistants and has inspired them to seek for improvement of their own teaching.

Shuntaro Yamagishi.Shuntaro Yamagishi is currently a PhD student in the field of Pure Math. He has been a teaching assistant for numerous math courses and has established a high reputation among students. His exceptional communication skills and great passion for teaching are highly regarded by his students and colleagues. In his well-planned tutorials, Shuntaro goes beyond the traditional teaching methods by developing various games to interact with students, encouraging them to challenge themselves academically. “Shuntaro helped us become interested in the topic and achieve a better understanding of the material”, stated by a student, “My friends and I never missed even one of his tutorials.” Shuntaro’s encouraging and approachable nature makes him an exceptional teaching assistant.

The award has existed since 1998, under a series of names, and is given “in recognition of excellence in teaching of all kinds by registered students. The awards are open to all students who have a formal teaching role at the University of Waterloo. The Selection Committee will look for intellectual vigour and communication skills in the interpretation and presentation of subject matter. Concern for and sensitivity to the academic need of the students is an important criterion.”

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Three-Minute Thesis finals today

by Marta Bailey.

Today at noon, the University of Waterloo is hosting its first ever Three-Minute Thesis (3MT) final competition.

Over the last few weeks, each faculty has held its own 3MT heats. From those heats, 17 finalists are moving forward to the university-wide competition to compete for the title of first place winner (for a $1,000 prize) and runner up (for a $500 prize). Both winner and runner up go on to compete at the provincial competition at Queen's University on April 18.

Everyone is invited to support Waterloo graduate students as they complete at the March 27th 3MT university-wide finals. Each competitor will have 1 slide and 3 minutes to explain the breadth and significance of their research to a non-specialist audience.

Be part of the audience to pick your “People’s Choice” award winner by selecting your favourite 3MT presentation. The 3MT competition begins at 12 noon in the Quantum Nano Centre, room 0101. Follow the signs to take you there. The event will end by 3:00 p.m., with winners announced at a reception immediately following the competition. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Additional information, including finalists’ details, can be found on the 3MT website. . Bring your colleagues, friends and graduate students. Pick your favourite competitor! First come, first seated.

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Advanced Achievements

by Rebecca McElrea, Co-operative Education and Career Action (CECA). A longer version of this piece appears in the Inside sCo-op newsletter.

Liang Zeng.Liang Zeng has started his first year in medical school at the University of Toronto after completing three out of four academic years as an undergrad at Waterloo. While he was a student of Honours Biology at Waterloo, he spent all five of his work terms at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre’s Odette Cancer Centre as a Clinical Research Assistant. Liang was accepted into medical school without having to complete his undergraduate studies at uWaterloo, and he says if co-op hadn’t existed “he wouldn’t have gotten in [to medical school] as early.”

Apart from the number of projects he had to talk about for his med school application, Liang says he was given independence and responsibility at Sunnybrook which sparked a desire to work harder. “Fantastic” and “encouraging” are words he uses to describe the support he received from his mentors and co-workers. He says the open culture at Sunnybrook’s cancer centre allowed him the time and space to bring up any issues he had and that his overseers always took the time to answer his questions.

One thing that Liang highlights from his time at the Sunnybrook research clinic is probably not one that most people would expect. He says the “the communication skills I’ve acquired will benefit me for the rest of my life.” When his written communication skills grew, his supervisor, Dr. Chow, allowed Liang’s name to be the first author on the research papers he helped write, which is an opportunity that he says “would never be given elsewhere.”

His oral communication skills also improved; he presented his work in front of hundreds of people, spoke at poster presentations, and trained new co-ops, but the most rewarding lesson for Liang was speaking to patients. The Rapid Radiotherapy Response Program (RRRP) at Sunnybrook provides radiotherapy to patients with advanced stages of cancer. Learning the appropriate bedside manner was paramount for the care of patients, assuring Liang that the co-operative part of his degree was giving him experience that couldn’t come from the classroom.

Read the full story in the latest issue of the Inside sCo-op newsletter.

Last week’s question: 80 per cent of you guessed correctly; CECA donated the contest grand prize to the National Co-op Week Social Media Contest. Congratulations to this week’s poll winner Dave Gawley from the Cheriton School of Computer Science.

This week’s question: Organizations across the globe hire Waterloo co-op students. After Canada and USA, what country logs in to JobMine the most? (Hint: you’ll find the answer in this infographic) Take a guess and enter to win a chocolate bar.

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Wednesday's notes

Time is running out for students to get their grad photos taken, says a dispatch from Lifetouch Photography, all the way from the Student Life Centre's basement. Deadlines for class composite photos are approaching on Friday, April 12. Photo sessions can be booked online.

Professor Chris Eliasmith will be one of the speakers at today's TEDxWaterloo event being held at the Centre in the Square in Kitchener.

Also today, TravelWise is hosting a lunchtime lecture event entitled "Waterloo Region on the Move at noon in Arts Lecture Hall 124. The guest speaker is rapid transit community manager Kimberly Moser.

Here's the latest nutrition "myth vs. fact" prepared by Health Services dietician Sandra Ace:

"Myth:" If you’re busy, meal replacement drinks are a great idea.

"Fact:" While these are OK to use in a pinch, optimal health is best achieved by eating food. Liquid meal replacements, whose composition is controlled by Health Canada’s Food and Drug Regulations, are mixtures that include water, sweeteners such as corn syrup solids and/or sugar, a source of protein (typically from milk and/or soy), oil, vitamins, minerals, emulsifiers and flavouring. Meal replacements lack some components found in natural foods, including phytonutrients, which are likely major players when it comes to health, offering benefits beyond just satisfying hunger. Most meal replacements also contain little or no fibre, which could lead you to feeling hungry more quickly when relying on liquid meals. While meal replacements are fortified to be nutritionally balanced, there is good evidence that we are better able to use nutrients found naturally in food. Rather than relying on meal replacements, which were originally developed as nourishment for people too ill to eat solid foods, plan your menu ahead of time and try some of these suggestions when a busy schedule leaves you pressed for timesaving ideas.

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OHD offers some assistance at tax time

If you haven’t filed your taxes yet, there’s some last-minute helpful information in the new Organizational & Human Development (OHD) course Taxes 101 (OHD702).  If you have filed them, get ready for next year's tax season now.

This workshop is facilitated by financial planner Libor (Lee) Pirchuta and will focus on Income Tax preparation and general questions about some of the more common tax issues.

Two inaugural sessions are being run to choose from on April 15 (1:00 to 4:00 p.m.) or April 17 (9:00 a.m. to noon). Register for these workshops through MyHRinfo.  If you have questions, please contact Mark Lisetto-Smith, Organizational & Human Development, ext 38257.

Link of the day

World Theatre Day

When and where

March Monster Sale at Retail Services, Tuesday, March 26 and Wednesday, March 27, 9:30 a.m. to 4:40 p.m., South Campus Hall.

University Club Easter Buffet, Wednesday, March 27 and Thursday, March 28, 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., University Club. Details.

Retirement Open House for Cathy Mitchell, UW Police. Wednesday, March 27, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Commissary Building, Meeting Room 1112D. Details (PDF).

WatCACE research seminar featuring Dr. Kristina Johansson and Ville Bjorck, "Conceptualizing Work-Integrated Learning from Organizational and Empirical Perspectives," Wednesday, March 27, 11:30 a.m., TC 2218. Details.

TravelWise Lunchtime Lecture Series, "Waterloo on the Move," Wednesday, March 27, 12:00 p.m., AL 124.

UWRC presents "Mexico: A brief panorama of the History of Mexico," Wednesday, March 27, , 12:00 noon to 1:00 p.m., Needles Hall Room 1116.

Three-Minute Thesis (3MT) Finals, Wednesday, March 27, 12:00 p.m., QNC 0101.

TEDxWaterloo, Wednesday, March 27, 1:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., Centre in the Square. Details.

Political Science Showcase, Wednesday, March 27, 4:00 p.m., University Bookstore, South Campus Hall.

Conrad Grebel End of Term Concert, "Family: East West Style" featuring guest artist Wendy Wen Zhao, master of the Chinese Pipa, Wednesday, March 27, 7:30 p.m., Luther Village. Free admission.

ICR Seminar featuring John Helliker, Director, Screen Industries Research and Training Centre (SIRT), Sheridan College and Seelan Vamatheva, Software Development Lead, SIRT Centre, "Virtual Production: The Quest for Trickle-Down Technologies in the Screen-based Industries." Thursday, March 28, 2:30 p.m., DC 1304.

Federation of Students March General Meeting, Thursday, March 28, 12:30 p.m., Student Life Centre Great Hall.

Int'l Spouses, Celebrate Norooz with an Iranian Cooking Demonstration, Thursday, March 28, 6:00 p.m., CLV. Details.

Good Friday, March 29, university closed.

Centre For Career Action workshop, "Perfect Your Interview Skills," Tuesday, April 2, 12:00 p.m., TC 1208.

Centre for Career Action workshop, "I'd do what I love...but what is it?" Wednesday, April 3, 1:00 p.m., TC 1112.

Gustav Bakos Observatory Tour, Wednesday, April 3, 9:00 p.m., PHY 308.

Reading Series at St. Jerome's featuring Adam Dickinson, Thursday, April 4, 4:30 p.m., STJ 3014. Details.

Aftab Patla Memorial Cup Hockey Game, Thursday, April 4, 5:30 p.m., CIF. Details.

History Speakers Series featuring Phil Monture, "From Each Side of the Grand: The Six Nations of the Grand River and the Haldimand Treaty," Thursday, April 4, 7:00 p.m., Dana Porter Library Flex Lab, 3rd Floor. Details.

Orchestra@uwaterloo performance, "Arabian Nights," Thursday, April 4, 8:00 p.m., Hagey Hall. Details.

Lectures end Monday, April 8 (which uses a Friday class schedule).

On-campus examinations begin Thursday, April 11.

Online examination days, Friday, April 12 and Saturday, April 13.

University of Waterloo Drama Department presents Lysistrata [After Dark] by Aristophanes, adapted and directed by Shaw Forgeron, Thursday, April 11 to Saturday, April 13, Theatre of the Arts, Modern Languages Building.

WISE Lecture Series featuring Maurice B. Dusseault, Professor, Earth & Environmental Sciences, University of Waterloo, Monday, April 15, 7:00 p.m., QNC 0101. Details.

Sustainable Waterloo Region Evening of Recognition, Thursday, April 18, 5:00 p.m., Waterloo Inn. Details.

First Annual Waterloo Football gala, Thursday, April 18, 6:00 p.m., Bingeman's Centre Ballroom.

Positions available

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

ID 2053 – Administrative/Financial Assistant – Institute for Quantum Computing, USG 5
ID 2056 – Associate Director, Audit and Communication – Finance, USG 14

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