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Friday, March 21, 2014



  • Knowing is half the battle at G.I. Jam
  • Mental health campaign takes 2nd in contest
  • More Co-op Student of the Year winner profiles
  • Keystone Profile: Professor Michel Fich
  • Breithaupt letters transcribed, translated
  • Contact lens study, Brain Bee, pensions & more



Knowing is half the battle at G.I. Jam

Board games, card games, party games, video games. At some point in your life you've probably picked up sticks, passed Go and collected $200, played a winning hand, sacrificed a pawn, sunk a battleship, tagged someone "it" with no touch-backs, broken a brick, rolled a natural 20, or made that stupid bird flap its wings—you get the idea.

But have you ever wondered what goes into the making of a game? Have you ever toyed with the idea of making your own game from scratch? If you've got such a leaning towards ludology, then the G.I. Jam might be the place for you.

GI Jam poster.The G.I. Jam is a three-weekend event hosted by the university's Games Institute and The Playful Pixel, a graduate student-led digital gaming organization. The theme of the G. I. Jam is "Learn, Make, Play"; where each of the events are designed to appeal to the playful.

The first event, LEARN, takes place on Saturday, March 22 in RCH 307 and is a series of free tutorials/talks from Games Institute experts about the tools and techniques involved in the design and creation of games, both digital and tabletop. Presentations include:

  • "Board Game Design" by Neil Randall, director of the Games Institute
  • "Computer Programming 101" by Yang Lu, Waterloo's
  • "Introduction to 2D Game Programming with Unity" by John Harris, PhD student in Computer Science
  • "Using the Surface Research Group's Board Game Framework" by Yang Chen, research intern
  • "Introduction to Android Programming" by Victor Cheung, PhD student in systems design engineering
    "Writing Interactive Fiction with Twine" by Rob Parker, MA student in experimental digital media

The second event, MAKE, will be held on Saturday, March 28 and Sunday, March 29 in QNC 1502, where attendees can try their hand at building games from scratch, with advice and guidance from Games Institute mentors. At MAKE, teams of artists, programmers, and designers will come together to create a game from scratch. Whether your consider yourself a game development guru or a complete novice, the MAKE event is an opportunity to try something new.

The third and final event, PLAY, takes place on Saturday, April 5 and coincides with International Tabletop Day. PLAY will be held in the Student Life Centre's multi-purpose room from noon to 9:00 p.m., and will feature all sorts of games, including some of the ones made at the MAKE event.

All three events are open to the university community and the public.


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Mental health campaign takes 2nd in contest

The Council of Ontario Universities (COU) announced the winners of the inaugural Mental Health 2.0 competition this week.

Four finallists (individual or team) from Brock University, the University of Waterloo, Western University, and the University of Windsor were selected by a panel of experts on mental health, social media and accessibility.

The student organizers of the University of Waterloo's Stand Up To Stigma mental health campaign, Kristin Brown, Stephanie Lu, and Suzie Alexander, were awarded second place.

First place went to "Cope-Care-Connect" by Kaitlyn Kerridge from Brock University. Third place was tied between the University of Windsor’s Stacey Riddell and Michelle Gajewski for Community for 1st Year Post-Secondary Students with Social Anxiety; and Western University’s Vitals Student Wellness Initiative, organized by students Kevin Dueck, Julian Surujballi and Daniela Kwiatkowski. The Vitals project also won a People’s Choice Award.

Brown and Lu are PhD students in the School of Public Health and Health Systems, and Alexander is a biomedical science student.

Stand Up To Stigma's goal is to create a multi-modal campaign that includes social media, posters, videos, and face-to-face interactions, which aims to increase awareness about mental health issues around the university community, reduce the stigma associated with mental issues, start a conversation about mental health among members of the university community, and provide information and access to resources. The initiative is supported by UW Campus Wellness and is known for its annual blackboard campaign.

The competition was run by the Council of Ontario Universities (COU) in partnership with the Government of Ontario, and aimed to reward student efforts to use social media to promote positive changes in mental health on university campuses.


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More Co-op Student of the Year winner profiles

by Caitlin Feehan.

Hello again! We hope that you enjoyed reading about the first three Co-op Student of the Year Award recipients and their accomplishments yesterday, and we’re back to give you more! The next three students display the same dedication, passion and hard work shown in the profiles yesterday, and we’re very proud of the level of success that they have achieved. Read on to learn about Natalie Sham from the Faculty of Environment, Melanie Chanona from the Faculty of Mathematics, and Sorina Chiorean from the Faculty of Science.

Natalie Sham.Natalie Sham (Faculty of Environment, School of Planning)

Natalie Sham worked at the UN-HABITAT headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya.  She increased the agency’s knowledge on the global state of the existing formal housing by implementing an original idea to develop a Sustainable Housing Rehabilitation Index (SHRI). Sham used multivariate statistics to measure the differences between countries with regard to the state of housing to be rehabilitated, based on the four pillars of sustainability. She published the paper, Sustainable Housing Rehabilitation for Inclusive Cities, and presented it during a conference in Melbourne, Australia hosted by RMIT University and the UN Compact Cities Program. The prestigious Global Cities Review published the paper in December.

Melanie Chanona.Melanie Chanona (Faculty of Mathematics, Mathematical Physics)

Melanie Chanona worked at the University of Waterloo in the Faculty of Science as a research assistant in Professor Robert Mann's lab.  Within the first two months, she found evidence supporting a long-standing theory related to the nature of certain types of black holes. She also used novel calculation techniques to express fundamental properties of the universe in a more elegant way than has been done before. In addition, she has applied these techniques in examining real-world situations such as the heating of Jupiter's moons and the gradual slowing down of the Earth's rotation. Chanona won first prize in the best student presentation competition at the Canadian Association of Physicists Congress, where she competed against more than 100 graduate-level candidates. She won best presentation in the mathematical and theoretical physics division at the Canadian Undergraduates Physics Conference. She volunteered in Vietnam with orphans of victims of Agent Orange, and worked with psychiatric patients in a rehab program in Argentina.

Sorina Chiorean.Sorina Chiorean (Faculty of Science, Biochemistry)

Sorina Chiorean worked as a field and lab intern with Environment Canada. Her main duty was to learn and perform biological tests involving radioactivity and immunology on collected animal samples. She learned and performed these tests in two days rather than the expected one week. She also performed research helped to optimize the current method, which will help to lower the cost and time associated with running the tests. Because her work went well, she was given the opportunity to travel to Fort McMurray and help in the monitoring of fish species found in the oil sand regions. Sorina helped catch, label and record information on the aquatic life of the region that will be compiled for an upcoming report that will evaluate the impact of the oil industry on the environment.

As National Co-op Week wraps up, we thank all of our winners for their contributions to the co-op program and all co-op students as a whole for their dedication to, and support of, the University of Waterloo’s co-operative education program.

Once again, Happy National Co-op Week everyone!


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Keystone Profile: Professor Michel Fich

by Tasha Glover.

Professor Michel Fich.Professor Michel Fich’s relationship with the university began during his final year of high school, when he was a student competitor in the Sir Isaac Newton Exam, which is run annually by UWaterloo in high schools across the province and even internationally.  Scoring very well on the exam, he received an undergraduate scholarship that allowed him to attend Waterloo. Encouraged by then professor, and future Dean of Science, Don Brodie, Dr. Fich chose to pursue a degree in physics rather than the path he’d planned in engineering.

That path led him to complete his BSc in Physics at Waterloo in 1978, followed by an MA (1981) and his PhD (1983) from the University of California, Berkeley and, ultimately, to a career in astronomy.  He has been a faculty member in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Waterloo since 1986.

Today he studies the formation of planets, stars and galaxies using some of the largest instruments built for that purpose.  He is the Canadian leader in the HIFI instrument on the Herschel Space Observatory, SCUBA-2 for the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope in Hawaii, and most recently, the Cornell Caltech Atacama Telescope, a telescope to be built in the mountains of Chile. Dr. Fich says everyone at Waterloo - from students to senior administration - is very supportive of his research at all levels.

When asked why he chooses to give back to Waterloo, Dr. Fich explained, “I could not have gone into this career without that financial assistance at the start of my university education.  That is why I give now: to help provide scholarships to others who need the same assistance.”

Thank you, Dr. Fich!


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Handwritten script in Old German.
Breithaupt Letters transcribed, translated

This article originally appeared in the News @ Your Library newsletter.

German letters donated to the Library’s Special Collections & Archives in 2005 as an accrual to the Breithaupt Hewetson Clark family archives have now been transcribed and translated and are available for researchers.

The Waterloo Regional Heritage Foundation and the Waterloo Centre for German Studies jointly funded the cost of transcribing and translating 174 letters, more than 300 pages in Old German script. These were discovered in bundles of business and personal correspondence wrapped and labelled by Louis P. Breithaupt (1827-1880) and presumably not unwrapped since that time.

The letters were almost all written between 1852 and 1863, a decade critical in the fortunes of the Breithaupt family, and are among the earliest documents of local German families in Special Collections & Archives. They shed light on previously undocumented aspects of the family’s activities, filling many gaps in the historical record, and include letters to and from correspondents Louis P. Breithaupt, his wife Catherine (Hailer) Breithaupt, Jacob and Margaret Wagner, and Jacob Hailer, among others.

Among the letters is one dated December 2, 1852, a reply from Catherine Hailer to Louis Breithaupt’s proposal of marriage. The answer was a somewhat cautious yes, and the couple were married two months later. Equal parts humdrum domestic detail and emotional highs and lows, these letters add important context to an understanding of the history of the Waterloo Region.

The letters were transcribed and translated by Dr. Susan Thorne from Kingston, Ontario who has a special skill in reading German handwriting from the 17th century to the present.

The Library thanks the Waterloo Regional Heritage Foundation and the Waterloo Centre for German Studies for their support in this project.


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Contact lens study, Brain Bees, pensions & more

CCLR poster.Interested in Lamborghinis? The Centre for Contact Lens Research (CCLR) is looking for people who currently wear one either 1-Day Acuvue Moist or Dailies AquaComfort Plus contact lenses for a research study code-named "Lamborghini."

The study includes 3 visits over 2 days for a total time commitment of only 2 hours. Study participants will receive $40 in appreciation for their time. Call 519-888-4742 for more information or to book a screening visit.

The University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University will be celebrating World Water Day tomorrow with a joint event.

In 1993, the United Nations established World Water Day to increase global awareness of the importance of freshwater to the environment, agriculture, energy, health and trade. More than a decade later, there are still more than 750-million people who lack access to an adequate supply of freshwater.

Laurier and Waterloo will co-host a daylong event Saturday to highlight the breadth and depth of the universities’ water research. The theme for World Water Day 2014 is “Energy and Water” and the event will raise awareness of local and global water issues surrounding this issue.

The event will be held in the EIT Foyer from 10 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. and is sponsored by the University of Waterloo’s Water Institute, Students of the Water Institute – Graduate Section, and Wilfrid Laurier University’s Institute for Water Science and Cold Regions Research Centre. For further information and for a complete schedule of events, visit the Water Institute website.

This weekend, the University will take part in a national initiative to promote neuroscience among high-school students by hosting a regional contest known as the University of Waterloo Brain Bee. More than 40 competitors from grades 9 through 12 are expected on campus as the Department of Kinesiology hosts the sixth annual edition of the regional Brain Bee contest.

Students will compete for prizes by answering multiple-choice questions using clicker technology. The first-place winner will take home $400 and will qualify for the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Brain Bee held in May. The winner from that competition will go on to the international Brain Bee competition.

The event takes place from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. in the Sun Life Auditorium (Room 1621 of the Lyle S. Hallman Institute).

Jean Isachenko.Human Resources is reporting that Jean Isachenko, secretary in Chemical Engineering, died February 1. She had worked at the university since June 1989. She is survived by her husband, Charles Goheen.

The Pension Team from Human Resources will be offering a Lunch and Learn Pension session on Friday, March 28 in DC 1302 from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m.

This session is titled “UW Pension Plan – The Basics Every Employee Needs to Know”. Whether you are new to the University or have been here for a number of years, this session will be of interest.

"It’s important that you acquire a good understanding of your pension plan and how it affects you now and into retirement," says the message from the pension team. "We look forward to having you join us!  No need to register.  Please feel free to bring your lunch!"

Here's today's Nutrition Month "myth vs. fact" provided by Health Services Dietician Sandra Ace:

Myth: All Canadians should take a Vitamin D supplement.

Fact: Fatty fish and egg yolks are the main natural sources of Vitamin D in the Canadian food supply. Because this important nutrient is not widely available in foods, cow's milk and margarine sold in Canada must be fortified with Vitamin D. Canada’s Food Guide recommends that everyone over the age of 2 drink 500 mL (2 cups) of milk or Vitamin D-fortified milk alternatives such as soy beverage every day. Some calcium-fortified orange juices also have Vitamin D added. Cheese and yogurt may be vitamin D-fortified but usually don’t as contain as much vitamin D as milk.

During the spring and summer, sun exposure allows the body to make Vitamin D, but how much you make depends on many factors. During the fall and winter, it is hard for Canadians to get enough Vitamin D. If you are over 50 years old, Health Canada recommends taking a daily vitamin D supplement of 400 IU in addition to eating foods that contain vitamin D. If you take a multivitamin, check the label; chances are it contains at least 400 IU of Vitamin D so you may not need to take an additional supplement. If you are 50 or under and you do not drink milk or fortified milk alternatives containing Vitamin D, speak to your health care provider about whether you need a supplement.


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Link of the day

World Water Day

When and where

Small Acts of Repair Toward Mental Health: A Space for Engagement, Thursday, March 6 to Saturday, March 22, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. weekdays, ML Gallery. Details.

Civil Engineering Capstone Design Symposium, Wednesday, March 19 to Friday, March 21, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Location TBA. Details.

UW Drama presents From Solitary to Solidarity: Unravelling the Ligatures of Ashley Smith, Wednesday, March 19, Thursday, March 20 & Saturday, March 22, 8:00 p.m., Theatre of the Arts, Modern Languages. Details.

FIRST Robotics Waterloo Regional Competition, Thursday, March 20, Friday, March 21, Saturday, March 22 (all day), Physical Activities Complex. Details.

Fusion Conference, Friday, March 21 and Saturday, March 22. Details.

Drop, penalty 1 period ends, Friday, March 21.

Fourth Annual SMF Symposium, Friday, March 21, 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., St. Jerome's University. Details.

Software Engineering Capstone Design Symposium, Friday, March 21, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Davis Centre. Details.

Management Engineering Capstone Design Symposium, Friday, March 21, 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Davis Centre. Details.

Nanotechnology Engineering Capstone Design Symposium, Friday, March 21, 9:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Davis Centre. Details.

World Water Day 2014 featuring keynote lectures by Cecilia Brooks and Monique Dube, and poster exhibition. Friday March 21, 11:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., EIT foyer and EIT 1015. Details.

Federation of Students General Meeting, Friday, March 21, 11:30 a.m., Student Life Centre Great Hall.

Knowledge Integration seminar featuring Alex Pak, Waterloo grad: “Transcending disciplines and managing change: The power of principles and paradigms”, Friday March 21, 2:30 p.m., EV3 1408. Details.

Small Acts of Repair Toward Mental Health: Information and Conversation, Friday, March 21, 4:00 p.m., HH104. Refreshments will be served. Details.

G.I. Jam LEARN event, Saturday, March 22, 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., RCH 307. Details.

Kinesiology presents the University of Waterloo Brain Bee, Saturday, March 22, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., Sun Life Financial Auditorium, LHI 1621. Details.

Bookstore Concourse Sale, Monday, March 24, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., South Campus Hall concourse.

Senate meeting, Monday, March 24, 3:15 p.m., NH 3001.

Waterloo Store MONSTER Sale, Tuesday, March 25 and Wednesday, March 26, 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., South Campus Hall concourse.

Centre for Teaching Excellence presents “Documenting Your Teaching for Tenure and Promotion (CTE908),” Tuesday, March 25, 11:45 a.m. to 1:15 p.m., NH 3001. Open to faculty, registration required.

Professor Profile: Susan Roy, "The history and politics of Indigenous heritage sites in Canada," Tuesday, March 25, 12:30 p.m., HH 117.

Bookstore author event featuring Morteza Dehghani, English department, Tuesday, March 25, 4:30 p.m., Bookstore, South Campus Hall.

Retirement Drop In for Pat Mihm, Wednesday, March 26, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Safety Office Meeting Room 112D, Commissary Building. RSVP to Sheila Hurley.

Senate Long Range Planning committee meeting, Wednesday, March 26, 2:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., NH 3001.

Waterloo Arts Distinguished Lecture in Economics featuring Randall Wright, University of Wisconsin, “Innovation and Growth With Financial and Other Frictions”, Wednesday, March 26, 3:00 p.m. Biology 1, Room 271. Details.

Doug Campbell retirement celebration, Wednesday, March 26, 4:15 p.m., Wild Wing, 321 Weber St. N, Waterloo. RSVP to Neil Stewart, ext. 33850.

Fine Arts Life Drawing Open Session, Wednesday, March 26, 6:30 p.m., ECH 1224A. Details.

Wednesday Night Discussion Group, Wednesday, March 26, 7:15 p.m., MC 5136. Details.

Environmental and Geological Engineering Capstone Design Symposium, Thursday, March 27, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., location TBA. Details.

Velocity Fund Finals, Thursday, March 27, 11:00 a.m., SLC Great Hall.

Guest lecture featuring Ed Byrne, Vice-Chancellor and President of Monash University, Australia, Thursday, March 27, 2:00 p.m., QNC 0101. Details.

The Actuarial Science Distinguished Practitioner Series presents Neil Haynes, Senior Vice President of Finance at Sunlife Financial Corporate, "Sex, Drugs and Rock'n'Roll: Can We Live Forever?" Thursday, March 27, 4:00 p.m., EIT 1015. Details.

On Education: The Educator and his Ego, Thursday, March 27, 5:30 p.m., E5 6004. Details.

Waterloo Institute for Hellenistic Studies presents Olga Palagia, professor of Classical Archaeology, National and Kapodistrian University, Athens, Greece, “The Impact of Alexander The Great on the Arts in Greece,” Thursday, March 27, 7:00 p.m., Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto. Details.

Pension Lunch and Learn session, “UW Pension Plan – The Basics Every Employee Needs to Know,” Friday, March 28, 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m., DC 1302.

SI Speaker Series: Fascism as a Temporary Default Setting in South Asia,
Friday, March 28, 6:30-8:00 p.m., Dunker Family Lounge, Renison University College. Details.

Spiritus Ensemble presents Bach/Kaiser/Handel's St Mark Passion (1747), Sunday, March 30, 7:00 p.m., St. John The Evangelist Anglican Church, 23 Water Street, Kitchener. $20 adult/senior, $10 full-time students. Sponsored by Conrad Grebel University College and the Region of Waterloo Arts Fund. Details.

St. Paul's GreenHouse presents Social Entrepreneurship Fest, Monday, March 31, 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., St. Paul's University College. Details.

Board of Governors Meeting, Tuesday, April 1.

Mechanical Engineering Capstone Design Symposium, Wednesday, April 2, 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., Sedra Student Design Centre, Engineering 5. Details.

Strategic Plan Mini-Town Hall - Internationalization, Wednesday, April 2, time and location TBA. Details.

History End-Of-Term Trivia Night, Thursday, April 3, 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., Bombshelter Pub.

Germanic and Slavic Studies presents the 2014 Diefenbaker Lecture Series featuring Elisabeth Herrmann, University of Alberta, “How Does Transnationalism Redefine Contemporary Literature? An Investigation of Five German Authors,” Thursday, April 3, 7:00 p.m., HH 1102. Details.

Lectures end, Friday, April 4.

St. Jerome's Relay for Life, Friday, April 4, 7:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. Details.

Retirement celebration for Pam Van Allen, Wednesday, April 9, 3:30 p.m., University Club. RSVP to Lisa Weber by Friday, April 4.

Pre-examination study days, Friday, April 4 to Monday, April 7.

The Centre for Theoretical Neuroscience presents Waterloo Brain Day, Monday, April 7, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., EV3 1408. Details.

On-campus examinations begin, Tuesday, April 8.

Germanic and Slavic Studies presents the 2014 Diefenbaker Lecture Series featuring Laurie Johnson, University of Illinois, “Forgotten Dreams: Werner Herzog’s Romantic Cinema,” Tuesday, April 8, 7:00 p.m., HH 1102. Details.

Fine Arts Life Drawing Open Session, Wednesday, April 9, 6:30 p.m., ECH 1224A. Details.

Wednesday Night Discussion Group, Wednesday, April 9, 7:15 p.m., MC 5136. Details.

Online class examination days, Friday, April 11 and Saturday, April 12.

UWRC Book Club, "Gone Girl" by Gillian Flynn, Wednesday, April 16, 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m., LIB 407.

Waterloo Innovation Summit, Monday, April 14 and Tuesday, April 15. Details.

Wednesday Night Discussion Group, Wednesday, April 16, 7:15 p.m., MC 5136. Details.

PhD Oral Defences

Electrical & Computer Engineering. Hassan Omar, "Medium Access Control, Packet Routing, and Internet Gateway Placement in Vehicular Ad Hoc Networks." Supervisor, Weihua Zhuang. On deposit in the Engineering graduate office, PHY 3004. Oral defence Friday, April 4, 10:00 a.m., EIT 3151-3153.

Chemistry. Michael Fowler, "Characterization of the Behaviour of Solution-Responsive Polymers by Fluorescence." Supervisor, Jean Duhamel. On deposit in the Science graduate office, PHY 2008. Oral defence Monday, April 7, 9:00 a.m., C2 361.

Electrical & Computer Engineering. Refat Ghunem, "A Study of the Erosion Mechanism of Silicone Rubber Housing Composites." Supervisors, Sheshakamal Jayaram, Edward Cherney. On deposit in the Engineering graduate office, PHY 3004. Oral defence Monday, April 7, 10:00 a.m., EIT 3142.

Chemical Engineering. Natacha Kinadjian, "Integrative Chemistry Based Morphosynthesis of Hierarchical Composite Materials for Photovoltaic, Photocatalysis and Photoluminescence Applications." Supervisors, Eric Prouzet, Renal Backov, Catherine Henrist. On deposit in the Engineering graduate office, PHY 3004. Oral defence Tuesday, April 8, 8:30 a.m., C2 278.

Chemical Engineering. Yuanqing Liu, "Catalytic Glycerol Hydrogenolysis to Produce 1,2-Propanediol With Molecular Hydrogen and in Situ Hydrogen From Steam Reforming." Supervisors, Flora T.T. Ng, Garry Rempel. This thesis is restricted but on display in the Engineering graduate office, PHY 3004. Oral defence Tuesday, April 8, 12:00 p.m., E6 2022.


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