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Thursday, April 9, 2015

  • Waterloo hosts Badge Day for Girl Guides
  • Three Minute Thesis winner named
  • Big winners at Big Ideas Challenge

A girl smiles as she places her hands on a plasma ball and lightning plays inside.
Waterloo hosts Badge Day for Girl Guides

by Claire Heymans and Maya Deen. This is the latest in a series of #UWCommunity stories that feature Waterloo in the community.

On Saturday March 28, 113 Girl Guides ages 9 to 11 years earned their physics badge. Hailing from Waterloo Region and beyond, a total of 10 girl guides units spent the day at Waterloo Engineering.

The girls explored topics such as the forces of flight, Newton’s Laws of Motion, properties of light, colour theory, and levers. They made fun and interactive projects like catapults, rockets, colour-changing UV-activated keychains, kaleidoscopes, and even navigated a laser maze.


The University of Waterloo was one of 9 universities to host Badge Day this year, as part of a collaborative effort with other Ontario Network of Women in Engineering (ONWiE) members, reaching a total of over 800 girls across Ontario. Other badges included engineering, astronomy, and computer skills.

Two girl guides prepare to launch a bottle rocket.While the number of women enrolling in engineering is going up, events like Badge Day are crucial in retaining girls’ interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fields. It is hoped that these events will encourage enrollment in high school physics courses, which are a prerequisite to studying engineering at the postsecondary level.


The event was hosted by Women in Engineering (WiE) at the University of Waterloo, which exists to support current female engineers and students, and encourages the next generation of women to pursue careers in engineering. To hear about future Women in Engineering events, sign up for their mailing list.


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Three Minute Thesis winner named

The Three Minute Thesis (3MT) University Finals event took place on Thursday, April 2 in the Humanities Theatre, with ten finallists competing for the grand prize and a chance to compete in the provincial finals later this month.


Julie DeWolf from Environment and Resource Studies was named the winner for her presentation "Linking Human Right and the Environment in the Canadian Legal System". Julie has won the $1,000 prize and moves on to the 3MT provincial final at Western University that will be held on April 23.  


The runner-up was Elahe Jabari from Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering, in the Faculty of Engineering for her  presentation on "Micro-scale 3D Printing of Graphene". Elahe has won a $500 prize.  


The People's Choice award winner was Joseph Buscemi from the History department his presentation on "Protect and Survive?: The Recently Declassified History of Britain's Cold War Nuclear Survival Plans". Joseph was selected as the audience choice winner and received a prize.


Congratulations all!


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Rachel Friesen accepts her award.
Big winners at Big Ideas Challenge

A company that uses smartphone technology to improve vision care in India was among the big winners at a pitch competition designed to elicit big ideas in health and wellbeing.


Rachel Friesen, a third-year international development and business student, made the pitch for EyeCheck, a for-profit vision-care company, winning four hours of mentorship through the Accelerator Centre and a market validation canvas from the Accelerator Centre at the inaugural Big Ideas Challenge for Health and Wellbeing at the University of Waterloo on March 30. EyeCheck uses smartphone technology and proprietary hardware to provide much-needed vision assessment in India with just two pictures.


The other winning pitches consisted of ways to address mental health issues among students, heart-friendly meal delivery and meaningful leisure for older adults, and support for breast cancer survivors. Four startups – PASS Kit, Heart Helpers, Marlena, and Node – received the grand prize of a term’s stay in St. Paul’s GreenHouse, the first and only live-in campus-linked accelerator in Canada focused on social innovation and entrepreneurship.


The winners were chosen from among the nine finalists who expressed interest after the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences and St. Paul’s GreenHouse launched the Big Ideas Challenge for Health and Wellbeing last October.


“The Big Ideas Challenge for Health and Wellbeing was intended to encourage undergraduate students to develop innovative interventions, for which the primary purpose is to improve the quality of life of individuals or communities,” said Tania Del Matto, Director of GreenHouse.


The Spring term’s stay in St. Paul’s GreenHouse was valued at $2,990 per student and was donated by event sponsor RBC. The Market Validation Canvas had a $500.


“We were really happy to provide a platform for these entrepreneurs and were really pleased with the quality of submissions,” said Karla Boluk, assistant professor of Applied Health Sciences, who, along with Del Matto, chose the finalists and coordinated the challenge. “We were delighted to see that 4 of the 5 awards honored the ideas of young women!”


Winners of the pitch competition pose for a group photo.


About the winners:

  • Marlena (@marlenabooks) – Fourth-year Health Studies student Rachel Thompson, who named the organization after her grandmothers Marilyn and Helena, is committed to meaningful leisure for older adults of all abilities by creating books to meet the needs of older adults with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and other conditions.
  • Panic, Anxiety, & Stress, Support (PASS) Kit – Third-year AHS student Tina Chan and her business partner are developing what they call “a first aid kit for mental health and wellbeing” to address the increasing incidence of mental health issues among students.
  • Heart Helpers – Fourth-year Kinesiology student Tara McNicholl conceived of Heart Helpers as a non-profit, heart-healthy meal delivery program that offers older adults at risk or living with cardiovascular disease a simple, inexpensive way to reduce their risk factors by modifying their diet.
  • Node – Node is a company offering smart, beautifully designed, custom-fit compression sleeves for breast cancer survivors suffering from lymphedema, founded by fourth-year Kinesiology student Benny Hua.
  • Eyecheck – EyeCheck, a vision care company, uses smartphone technology and proprietary hardware to provide vision assessment in India.

The panel of judges included Howard Armitage, special advisor to the President on entrepreneurship, Tracey Robertson, strategic lead in innovation, Ontario Trillium Foundation, Andrew Jackson, vice-president of client services at the Accelerator Centre, Christina Marchand, founder of Full Soul Canada and alumna of both Applied Health Sciences and St. Paul's GreenHouse, and David Paul Borcsok of the RBC Corporate Sustainability Group.


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Link of the day

150 years ago: US Civil War ends

When and where

CTE presents Clicker (CTE726), Thursday, April 9, 12:00 p.m., MC 4040. Details.


The State of Religion in China Today, Thursday, April 9, 12:00 p.m., Renison University College (REN 1303). Details.


Toronto Alumni Reception - An Entrepreneurial Ecosystem, Thursday, April 9, 6:30 p.m., 99 Sudbury, Toronto. Details.


Examination period begins, Friday, April 10. Details.


Staff Relations Committee meeting, Friday, April 10, 12:30 p.m., NH 3001. Details.


XDM symposium: Feedback Fedback Feedforward, Friday, April 10, 2:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., 44 Gaukel Street, Kitchener. Details.


Online examination days, Friday, April 10 and Saturday, April 11.


5th Annual Meeting of the Canada Excellence Research Chairs, Monday, April 13, and Tuesday, April 14, Mike & Ophelia Lazaridis Quantum-Nano Centre. Details.


Senate Graduate and Research Council meeting, Monday, April 13, 10:30 a.m., NH 3001.


TD University of Waterloo Discover Day in Health Sciences, Tuesday, April 14, 8:00 a.m., Modern Languages. Details.


2015 UW Retirees Association Spring Luncheon,
Tuesday, April 14, 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., Luther Village. Details.


Senate Undergraduate Council meeting, Tuesday, April 14, 12:00 p.m., NH 3001.

UWRC Book Club featuring "My Year of Meats," Wednesday, April 15, 12:00 p.m., LIB 407.


LEARN Instructor User Group (CTE686), Thursday, April 16, 12:30 p.m., EV1 241. Details.


‘If it Bleeds, it Leads’ - Media and Academia Research Forum, Friday, April 17, 11:30 a.m. To 1:00 p.m., Renison University College (REN 1303). Details


WISE Public Lecture Series featuring Professor George Gross, professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, "A Practical Framework for the Implementation of the Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) Concept," Friday, April 17, 2:00 p.m., CPH 4333. Details.


Senate meeting, Monday, April 20, 3:30 p.m., NH 3001.


A Church in Dialogue: Pope Francis and the summons to ecumenical, inter-faith and cultural conversations, Friday, April 24, 7:30 p.m., Siegfried Hall, St. Jerome's University. Details.


Examination period ends, Saturday, April 25.


Deadline to become Fees Arranged, Monday, April 27. Details.


Annual Teaching and Learning Conference: Opportunities and New Directions, Thursday, April 30.


Water Institute Research Symposium 2015, Thursday April 30, 8:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m., DC 1350. Details.

Water Institute RBC Distinguished Lecture featuring Dr. Sunita Narain, Director General, Centre for Environment and Science, New Delhi, India, “Challenges for Water Security in the Poor’s World”. Thursday, April 30, 4:00 p.m. M3 1006. Details.


Quantum Frontiers Distinguished Lecture featuring Sajeev John, Thursday, April 30, 4:00 p.m., QNC 0101. Details.


Waterloo Unlimited Grade 10 Program, Theme of "Change," Sunday, May 10 to Thursday, May 14. Details.


Department of English Language and Literature presents “Mediated Bodies,” Wednesday, May 13, 4:00 p.m., HH 373. Details.


The Similarities between Maori and Chinese Cultures and Deeper Meaning of Maori Tattoo & Marae, Wednesday, May 13, 6:00 p.m., Renison University College (REN 1303). Details.


Undergraduate School on Experimental Quantum Information Processing (USEQIP), Monday, May 25 to Friday, June 5. Details.

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