Tag Archives: Undergraduate education

A Life Well Lived

Photo from Flickr

Today I listened to friends, students, staff, and faculty describe a person I met about 19 years ago. She was an incredible, remarkable woman; full of life, compassion, and empathy. She was genuine. Truly genuine. And she was seemingly filled to the brim with all of the qualities that make a person an amazing mentor, educator, role model, and inspiration.

I knew Linda Allen as the embodiment of all that makes a teacher great. I will always be awed by her ability to connect with students. To not just help them, but to get to know them. To know their families, their friends.

Whenever I saw her on campus, she would often ask in her very maternal way about my brother – who, for a time, studied at the University of Guelph. She met him only a few times while we ran around getting papers signed and documents filled out so that he could enrol, and yet she remembered him. She remembered what he was doing then, and wanted to know where he was now, what he was doing, how he was doing.

And this is what was amazing about her. She wasn’t bestowing some special treatment on me and my brother. She did this with everyone. She knew or wanted to know about everyone. And she remembered. Even the tiniest of details.

Sadly, the world lost someone special on Sunday. Suddenly, unexpectedly, and far too soon.

Fortunately her memory will not be forgotten. She has touched so many lives, so many countless lives, that I think it impossible for that to happen. Her spirit, her passion, her smile, will live on in the minds and hearts of the people who knew her.

I was fortunate to know Linda as an undergraduate student. I knew Linda through my Masters degree, and then throughout my PhD. And I knew Linda as I happily accepted my current position in the School of Computer Science. She smiled the day that my paperwork was finally signed. And it was a proud and loving smile. Through it all she remained a constant and positive always smiling force on campus.

Thank you Linda for being one of the many examples of a life well lived.

I’m going to miss you.

What The What Is That?

Help us raise $15000 for the Farm To Fork project

So those of you out there with a keen eye – and let’s be serious, that’s probably all of you – may have noticed a new addition to the blog you have come to know and love1 as Consumed By Wanderlust. Of course, I’m speaking about that fancy new button over there to the right. The one that looks like an unembiggened2 version of this picture to the left.

Fancy, no?

Well that button is going to be here for a while.

Of course, you’re probably wondering what purpose it might serve. Wonder no more. That button is your link to a massive fundraising campaign that I’m involved in with my friend Danny Williamson, two amazing senior undergraduate students Lee-Jay Cluskey-Belanger and Beni Katznelson, and a team of 30 amazingly dedicated third year Computer Science students at the University of Guelph. The goal is to raise $15000 to help fund the Farm To Fork project – a website designed to improve the quantity and quality of food that makes it to the local food banks and food pantries.

While this isn’t your typical fund-raising campaign associated with a food bank, the end result is the same. With your help, Farm To Fork will be able to improve the quality and quantity of the food that makes its way to families in need. More than just that, Farm To Fork will help maintain a constant flow of quality food; something that is desperately needed between annual food drives.

If you’re interested in donating – please click on the button to the right, or click here. The campaign runs from now until May 19th. Every dollar counts. If you aren’t able to donate, please consider passing this campaign on to as many people as you can.

For more information about Farm To Fork, follow our blog, find us on Twitter, or Like us on Facebook.

1 I hope.

2 A perfectly cromulent word.


Fridays With Elliot

Well it’s Friday. Again. It seems that the weeks are just flying by. I put the blame squarely on the two courses that I’m teaching. But this isn’t a bad thing. Not even slightly. In fact, I think time is flying because I’m having so much fun.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m also exhausted. But it’s the good kind of exhaustion. The kind where you know you’ve just finished something really rewarding and now deserve the sleep of kings. Or perhaps some chocolate (thanks – don’t mind if I do).

Sadly, my reward is going to be short-lived. I have a lot of big projects coming up in the next few weeks. Several papers to edit. Several papers to finalize and submit for review and hopefully publication. Several papers to begin writing. A couple of grants to write. Assignments to mark. Assignments to create. Midterms to grade. Scholarship applications to review. An Undergraduate Research Assistant to hire (which means undergraduates to interview). A presentation to prepare. Meetings to attend. Too many meetings to attend. And then develop and teach three 8 hour days of statistical training for the Public Health Agency.

Beyond this, I’m stoked to write that I’ll be an examining member on my very first and second official Ph.D. qualifying exams. This means I have two separate proposals to review and evaluate, not to mention two separate students to question and hopefully form some opinion as to whether or not they are adequately prepared for the rigours of Ph.D. candidacy. I’m nervous and excited about this process. Probably not as nervous as the students, but I’m still pretty nervous.

Clearly these are going to be a challenging few weeks, but I know I’ll get through them. Of course I’ll get through them.┬áTo manage the stress that I’m sure might pop up from juggling all of this, I’m going to be trying to stick to my marathon training schedule as much as I can (translation – I’m going to be upping my mileage whoring). And I also have yoga to remind me to breathe. And as always there is Elliot, who is at this very moment pawing at my belly and reminding me that I should probably get off the computer and go to bed.

Such a smart kitty.