Provincial recognition for exceptional contributions

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A grad student and a staff member receive Ontario awards of excellence 

An engineering master’s student and a staff member have been honoured with provincial awards of excellence for exceptional contributions on campus, across the community and beyond.

Waterloo mechanical engineering master’s student Lucas Wen Tang (BASc ’21, mechanical engineering) was recognized in the Minister’s Awards of Excellence Rising Star category.

Tang co-founded Lumos , a company that looks to improve human well-being through sleep technology and neuroscience. He was part of a team that successfully competed in the University’s Concept $5K pitch competition, where funding was secured for Lumos.

The company’s first product, a pair of smart light therapy glasses, was created to supplement the health benefits of a blue sky for people who work indoors.

Tang and three of his undergraduate classmates further developed the light therapy glasses as their 2021 Capstone Design project, supervised by Zhao Pan , a Waterloo mechanical and mechatronics engineering professor.

The students represented the University of Waterloo in the 2021 Canadian Engineering Competition (CEC) and won the inaugural research and entrepreneurship award.

"Our project far exceeded expectations of undergraduate-level research and inspired CEC to create a new category for the competition in the years to come," says Pan who nominated Tang for the Rising Star award.

As an undergraduate student, Tang spent a work term as an Apple iPhone designer. He was the recipient of many honours including a First in Class Engineering Scholarship and an Engineer of the Future Award.

Since beginning his graduate studies in September 2021, Tang has continued his research in smart light therapy glasses, expanding into the broader field of smart lighting and wearable technology.

Opening the potential of postsecondary education for all 

Angela Pause, the senior writer for the Faculty’s advancement team as well as a Master of Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology (MBET) student, received an award in the Equality of Opportunity category.

Pause was recognized as a driving force behind two Waterloo Engineering initiatives that have opened the potential of postsecondary education to marginalized and underrepresented groups.

In her MBET studies, she developed Hive Mind Tutoring , a free program aimed at Grade 10, 11 and 12 students who are struggling in advanced functions, calculus, chemistry and physics - all key subjects required to pursue postsecondary engineering and other STEM programs.

Hive Mind offers individual or g roup sessions with Waterloo Engineering undergraduate students employed as learning assistants for their co-op work terms.

Many of the over 300 schools contacted about the program are in rural areas where there are generally fewer extra learning resources offered than in larger cities.

Pause also led the writing efforts for the 2021 launch of the country’s Indigenous and Black Engineering Technology (IBET) PhD project that has grown to include 12 Canadian engineering and architecture programs with 16 IBET Momentum Fellows and 24 mentors registered from across the country. 

Still involved in growing both initiatives, Pause says Hive Mind is looking for more sponsors and IBET would like to receive more applications from candidates with master’s degrees who are current students or are in industry.

The Minister’s Awards of Excellence were launched in 2020 to recognize the significant contributions of Ontario postsecondary faculty and staff members during the early stages of the pandemic.

Last year, new categories were added to spotlight achievements taking place at Ontario’s colleges and universities throughout the year.  Besides Rising Star and Equality of Opportunity, categories now include Everyday Heroes, Future Proofing and Innovative & Entrepreneurship.

Mark Servos, a Waterloo biology professor and the Canada Research Chair in Water Quality Protection, received a 2021 award in the Everyday Heroes category as a faculty member who stepped up and made a difference during the pandemic and 2020/2021 school year.

  *The banner photo was taken during a Hive Mind online tutoring session.

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