University of Waterloo | IDEAS Summer Experience

(The following is a brief description and link to a nice summer enrichment program, for students from outside Canada finishing Grade 10 and 11, or equivalent.  It combines the elements that we strive for in Engineering education, namely hands-on experience, interdisciplinary thinking, and creativity/innovation.  For more information or to consider participating see the link below.  Prof. Bill Anderson)

IDEAS: A summer enrichment program for international high school students Poverty. Global warming. The digital divide. It takes big ideas to solve problems like these. Join high school students from around the world at IDEAS Summer Experience, and use your big ideas to try to solve some of society’s most serious challenges.

IDEAS is a 2-week summer enrichment program at the University of Waterloo, ranked as Canada’s most innovative university for the past 25 years.

With help from our award-winning professors and IDEAS mentors, you’ll learn to look at global problems in new ways, use hands-on activities to develop your research and communication skills, apply problem-solving techniques from the fields of engineering, health sciences, the humanities, and more. You may not solve the world’s problems in 2 weeks. But you will learn valuable skills, experience what it’s like to study and live at one of Canada’s top universities, and make friends from other countries.

Source: University of Waterloo | IDEAS Summer Experience

Applications open for Waterloo Unlimited’s Grade 11 program

As I’ve noted before, this is a great program started by one of our Systems Design Engineering professors, Ed Jernigan.  I recently got a postcard from one of the Grade 12 participants, who clearly enjoyed the experience.

Waterloo Unlimited, the transdisciplinary high school enrichment program on campus, is currently accepting applications for Grade 11 “Design” program (March 13-17, 2017).  Bright, motivated students from across Canada will attend lectures and participate in workshops, seminars and labs offered by all six Faculties, exploring the theme of “Design”.  Applications are due December 14th, 2016.

To promote awareness of Waterloo Unlimited’s programming, Markus Moos from the Faculty of Environment, School of Planning, created a video based on an Urban Planning workshop he offered to Unlimited students during the 2016 grade 11 “Design” themed program. The video provides an inside look at one of the many “eye-opening” experiences high school students encounter while on campus.

Program and application details are available on the Waterloo Unlimited website.

Source: Thursday, December 8, 2016 | Daily Bulletin

Why Do We Care About High School English?

Although Grade 12 English (or something equivalent) is one of our admission requirements, we sometimes get applicants who question what it’s good for, and why should it hurt their chances of admission if they got low marks in that subject.  After all, engineering is just about physics, calculus, problem-solving, writing code, designing bridges and other hardware, …, isn’t it? Continue reading

Who > Where

The Bank of Montreal (BMO) recently released an interesting survey (summarized here) that ranks the qualities that business leaders look for when hiring new grads from college and university.  Basically, the ranking is:  Personality traits > Skill set > Work experience > References > Degree/school.

Not particularly surprising.  Nobody is going to hire someone whose personality is a “bad fit” for their organization, no matter what their degree says or how great their reference letters are.  Likewise, a great fit with good experience and skills will get snapped up even if their degree is from the University of Neverheardofit.

I didn’t see any details, but I would assume that this ranking is based on an interview process.  How else would one determine the “personality traits”?  So what about the earlier stages of a job search, when employers are deciding who to interview?  I suspect the ranking remains similar but without the personality traits, i.e. Skill set > Work experience > References > Degree/school.  At least, that’s what I usually look for in the hiring I’ve been involved with.

The take-home message?  If you’re working on building your career, focus on the top three things (personality, skills, experience).  For the degree and school, do whatever works best for you and your situation, because it probably doesn’t matter all that much in the long term.  Just my opinion anyways.

Meeting Your Waterloo: Our Students

One of the best ways to find out about a university and its programs is to meet and talk to the people that are experiencing it every day.  This includes our faculty, who can give broad and experienced insight into curriculum, careers, and the engineering profession.  But many applicants find it easier and more interesting (sorry faculty!) to talk to current students,  who were applicants themselves just a few months or years ago.  There are several ways for people to connect with our current students. Continue reading

Meeting your Waterloo

June 18 is the anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo in 1815, the final major clash between Napoleon’s French Imperial forces and the Anglo-Dutch and Prussian allies arrayed against him, near a small village in modern-day Belgium.  The battle clearly resonated throughout the western world, resulting in the eventual use of the name “Waterloo” for a county and village in Ontario, and a university named after the city where it was founded.  There is also a Waterloo in Quebec, Iowa, New York State, New Zealand, and many other locations according to Wikipedia.  You might wonder what history has to do with the theme of this blog, but I’ve managed to find a connection. Continue reading