Category Archives: Graduate students

Beyond 60: GRADtalks: Justin Carpenter

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Join us, as Doctoral students explore one research theme from interdisciplinary perspectives.

Justin CarpenterJustin Carpenter

PhD Candidate in English,                                             Faculty of Arts

Justin Carpenter, on the other hand, will raise concern on what we teach computers, what data we feed and how this is collected. He asks how virtual spaces transform our society and us as human beings? Do we even have the capacity to handle Aladdin’s Jinn once it’s let out of the bottle?.

Audrey ChungAudrey Chung

PhD Candidate in Systems Design Engineering, Faculty of Engineering

In a world with increasingly reliance on computers and robots doing most of our work – from managing our finances, to diagnosing diseases to driving our cars – Audrey will explain how artificial intelligence is created through a process of deep learning drawing on enormous amounts of data to deliver precision.

May 30, 2017
4:00-4:45 pm – wine and cheese
4:45-6:00 pm – talks, including question and answer
Cost
Free – registration is required
Location
EV3 – Environment 3

1408
200 University Avenue West

Waterloo, ON N2L 3G1

Canada

A PhD dissertation that is also a game?

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UWaterloo English PhD grad Steve Wilcox didn’t write a conventional dissertation by any stretch. Rather, his thesis combined allergies, education, and games studies. Specifically, Steve argued that “games can be used to translate knowledges between communities and cultures. This is accomplished by training the player’s imagination to discover knowledge that is situated in unfamiliar social and cultural situations.” As part of this, Steve created a game titled Allergory. It features a young girl named Mia who has a peanut allergy. Through the game, “Players work with Mia as she migrates to a new school where she is the first food-allergic student. The game is intended to help non-food-allergic persons understand the social, cultural, and practical reality of having a food allergy.” Now you can play the game online. Dr. Wilcox is a full-time faculty member in the Game Design & Development program at Laurier-Brantford.

Steve Wilcox’s dissertation committee members were: Drs. Aimée Morrison, Beth Coleman, and Marcel O’Gorman.

From Science to English: Alumnus Hoi Cheu

Hoi at CBC_Canada_Reads
Alumnus Hoi Cheu came to the University of Waterloo to study science–but one course later, he had started on the path that led him to become a professor of English at Laurentian University. Read on to find out which UWaterloo professor taught that course, and what Dr. Cheu is doing now!–JLH

JLH: Can you share how you came to study English at UWaterloo? Was it an obvious choice or route?
HC: Attending Waterloo’s English program was not an obvious choice. When I applied, I was a science student from Hong Kong. I got into Waterloo because I had an A+ average in mathematics and sciences. At Waterloo, I failed the English proficiency test and attended what was then called “the Writing Clinic.” I took English 109 with Dr. Murray McArthur, loved the class, and ended up in English Literature.

JLH: What stands out from your time here?
HC: Waterloo’s program is relatively small in a hugely successful university; it enjoys having world class innovations without the rigid constraints common to larger institutions. Its flexibility can also become adaptive care for students. For example, as an international student, I needed extra time to read difficult texts and complicated theories. My professors devoted many invaluable office hours to work with me. In my third year, I started to get ahold of the methods used in literary studies, and I received my first A+. Because of that little success, my professor invited me to attend his graduate course, and the program was flexible enough to allow the paper for that class to fulfill my undergraduate thesis requirement. In the program, I learned about poststructuralism, the new rhetoric, bibliotherapy…. All of them were cutting-edge ideas 30 years ago in 1987. Now, some of them have become the standard, and others are just beginning to flourish.

JLH: You also did a Masters in English at UWaterloo: how did that shape your understanding of graduate school and the possibilities?
HC: The MA program at Waterloo started my academic “split personality”: on the one hand, I continued the hard work of my undergraduate years on poststructuralism and James Joyce, which would become my doctoral thesis; on the other hand, I learned about bibliotheraphy from Dr. Joseph Gold, which would become my current practice in applied literature and arts-based health research. I presented my very first paper at Congress and developed my doctoral thesis topic before I graduated from Waterloo’s MA program.

JLH: Can you tell us a bit about your current research?
HC: My current research focuses primarily on the application of arts and literature in health and medicine. I have three major projects, funded by the Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR), the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), and the Ontario Ministry of Health respectively. They are all interdisciplinary, interprofessional teamworks: the first conducts a meta-study of arts-based health research in Canada; the second develops a social work program to engage arts and literature for helping youth at risk; the third tracks the stories of rural physicians who are graduates of the Northern Ontario School of Medicine. All these longitudinal studies began around the time I completed my book in 2005, and they are bearing fruits at the publication stage.

JLH: Finally, once the semester is over what books do you look forward to reading?
HC: This year I invented a new course called “Science Writing.” All texts in this course are written by significant scientists who have successfully communicated mind blowing (if not life changing) ideas to the public. Although my research projects will take up most of my time in the summer, I look forward to the in-depth study of books like Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring. Published in 1962, this book almost single-handedly changed the public opinion on pesticide and led to the ban on the use of DDT for agriculture.

Non-Academic Career Conference

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Register now
for a full day conference designed to better prepare PhD students and postdocs for careers outside of academia. Hosted by GRADventure in partnership with the University of Waterloo’s Centre for Career Action, this conference will feature interactive workshops, a panel of PhDs/PhD candidates who have followed non-linear career paths, as well as a keynote speaker, Adam Ruben: writer, comedian and molecular biologist. Please note: This is an all-day event. Registrants must plan to attend every session. Lunch is provided. More information, as well as a list of workshops and speakers, is available online.

Keynote by Adam Ruben requires a separate RSVP.

Image credit: Toronto’s CountryCraft53

 

 

Reporting on the English Awards!

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Our annual awards ceremony, held March 31st, was well-attended as usual. The event attested to the incredible diversity of research being conducted in UWaterloo English. Joseph Stapleton won a prize for writing in rhetoric for his essay “O.J. Simpson and the Construction of Hyperbolic Reality”; Laura Bayer received an award for an essay on Dionne Brand’s novel What We All Long For that drew on the work of Spanish artist Remedios Varos. Likewise, Devon Moriarty’s award-winning essay considered “When Rhetoric, Science and Reddit Collide,” while Ian Gibson took up the novels of Cormac McCarthy through Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle to explore quantum mechanics as a novelistic strategy, in the processing capturing a Beltz Essay Prize. Judges spoke of the difficulties in adjudicating awards. Dr. Victoria Lamont described feeling at one point that she had a “seven way tie.” For more about the awards and winners, see the full listing below. More photos are also available online.
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Undergraduate Award Winners

Grade Average Award Winners
Second Year Spring:  Kate Stericker
Second Year Fall:  Joanna Cleary
Third Year:  Kayley Marner
Fourth Year:  Isabelle Cote

Academic Awards
Walter R. Martin English 251 Award:  Masha Janjuz
Award in American Literature and Culture:  Alex Rollinson
Canadian Literature Prize:  Kathleen Moritz
History and Theory of Rhetoric Award:  Sarasvathi Kannan (runner-up); Theresa Shim (winner)
Rhetoric and Digital Design Award:  Trevor Nielsen (runner-up); Theresa Shim (winner)
Rhetoric and Professional Writing Award: Dominique Kelly, Elizabeth Scott, Erin Taylor, Christine Williams (group prize)
Andrew James Dugan Prize in Literature:  Alexandra Siebert
Andrew James Dugan Prize in Rhetoric and Professional Writing:  Joseph Stapleton

Co-op Awards
Quarry Integrated Communication Co-op English Award: Danielle Bisnar Griffin
Undergraduate Co-op Work Report Award: Carla Rodrigo

Creative Writing Awards
Albert Shaw Poetry Prize:  Zainab Ahmed-Yassin Mahdi
English Society Creative Writing Award for Poetry:  Joanna Cleary
English Society Creative Writing Award for Prose:  Chris Masterman
Graduate Creative Writing Award for Prose:  Lacey Beer
Graduate Creative Writing Award for Poetry:  Masa Torbica

Graduate Award Winners

Grade Average Awards
MA:  Julie Funk
PhD: Ian Gibson

David Nimmo English Graduate Scholarship:  Justin Carpenter
Jack Gray Fellowship:  Rebecca Anderson, Devon Moriarty
Graduate Co-op Work Report Award:  Andreea Perescu

Academic Awards
Beltz Essay Prize, MA:  Laura Bayer
Beltz Essay Prize, PhD:  Ian Gibson
Rhetoric Essay Prize:  Devon Moriarty
Graduate Professional Communication Award:  Devon Moriarty
W.K. Thomas Graduate Scholarship:  Jessica Van de Kemp

Teaching & Professionalization Awards
TA Award for Excellence in Teaching:  Kaitlin O’Brien (runner-up); Nicholas Hobin (winner)
Lea Vogel-Nimmo Graduate Professionalization Scholarship:  Ashley Irwin

 

 

Award for PhD candidate Houman Mehrabian!

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Congratulations to UWaterloo English PhD candidate Houman Mehrabian, who has won the Amit and Meena Chakma Award for Exceptional Teaching by a Student (AETS). The awards committee writes:

“Houman Mehrabian, an Arts PhD student in English Language and Literature, is highly recognized for his dedication to learning and teaching. When asked about Mehrabian’s impact on student learning, one undergraduate student explained that “his teaching went [far beyond] and always incorporated [a] set of knowledge from other respected fields, such as philosophy and politics.” Another student wrote that “he enjoys what he is teaching and manages to allow that to flow over to his students. He is highly knowledgeable in what he is teaching and makes courses enjoyable. He’s a great influence.” In addition to his student support, one faculty member also highlighted that “he is the most dedicated student I have encountered in my 30 years of university teaching, and I can easily see how this commitment to excellence shines through in his teaching.” His support serves as a testament to this recognition. Mehrabian has been an instructor for ENGL 109, ENGL 309C EL, and DRAMA 387/ENGL 363 EL. He has also been a teaching assistant for ENGL 109 EL and ENGL 210F EL.”

Houman’s dissertation explores the complex relationship between emotions and the construction of character – between pathos and ethos – in Aristotle’s rhetorical, ethical, and poetical theories; William Shakespeare’s plays; and Friedrich Nietzsche’s oeuvre.

Counselling Resources on Campus and in Waterloo

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This week has been a difficult one for many in the UWaterloo community, following the death of a student. There have been many conversations in hallways, classrooms, and online spaces about how we can support–and better support–our students and community members. While this is not meant to be definitive or close down discussions about future initiatives and improvements, I do want to flag current counselling resources on campus and in Waterloo and urge those in need to access them, and/or encourage others to access them. These resources are from the UW Counselling webpage.

UNIVERSITY OF WATERLOO & WATERLOO REGION

 UW Counselling Services 519-888-4567, x32655
Crisis Clinic Grand River Hospital 519-742-3611
Good2Talk 1-866-925-5454 or 211
Health Services 519-888-4096
Here 24/7 1-844-437-3247
Kitchener-Waterloo Distress Line 519-745-1166
Kitchener-Waterloo Sexual Assault

Support Centre (24/7)

519-741-8633
Mental Health 519-888-4567, x31976
Telecare Distress Line Cambridge 519-658-5455
Mobile Crisis Team (24/7) 519-744-1813
University of Waterloo Police (24/7) 519-888-4911
Waterloo Region Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence  519-749-6994

Other UWaterloo Resources:

UWMates
MATES (Mentor Assistance Through Education and Support) is a counselling-based, one-to-one peer support program offered by the Federation of Students (FEDs) and UW Counselling Services. MATES provides services to students who are experiencing social difficulties, mental health challenges, and transitional challenges adapting to university life or different cultures. Monday – Friday: 8:30 am – 4:30pm  Located in Counselling Services at Needles Hall (New Expansion – 2nd Floor).

Emergencies
On campus? Call ext 22222
Contact Campus Police for emergency services on campus also at Ext. 84911  OR (519) 888-4911
Away from campus? Call 911

ASK YOURSELF, ARE YOU:
In crisis?
Feel unsafe?
Worried you might hurt yourself or others?

  • Contact someone you trust
  • Go to the nearest hospital or safe place
  • Call a local help line
  • Contact us during regular University of Waterloo hours at Counseling Services, Mental Health, or Health Services, and we’ll try to find local supports to help you
  • See the list of Waterloo Region emergency contacts below
  • If you are out of the country we will do our best to accommodate your communication needs and appointment time requirements. Teleconference, phone etc can be accommodated as necessary.
  • Let us know how we can help

https://uwaterloo.ca/counselling-services/resources/emergency-contacts