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Katrina ManzoccoKatrina Manzocco, an MBA student in the Odette School of Business, is part of a Mitacs Business Strategy Internship with Acrolab Ltd.

Grad student helps local company join missions to space

A local company is working with UWindsor’s Odette School of Business to expand its foothold in the aerospace industry.

Acrolab Ltd., a Windsor-based company that specializes in thermal engineering and related products, is hoping to become a parts supplier for satellites and missions to space. The company has attained that lofty goal once in the past, supplying its trademarked custom Isobar heat pipe for the space shuttle Columbia in 1993.

“We’ve done a lot of work on the aero side, but not on the space side,” said John Hodgins, Acrolab CEO. “Because we are a small business, it takes a lot of focused work to formulate a deliberate approach to such a high-tech sector.” 

Acrolab is participating in a Business Strategy Internship through Mitacs, a national not-for-profit organization that fosters growth and innovation in Canada by bringing together industry and academic institutions to solve research challenges. Mitacs received an additional $40 million in funding this year from Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada to help companies pivot during the pandemic to new business opportunities.

Hodgins is working with graduate student Katrina Manzocco to come up with a plan to ramp up Acrolab’s engineering, design, and manufacturing capabilities and devise a strategy to market the company’s products to the space sector. Manzocco’s 16-week internship earns her $10,000, half coming from Mitacs and the remainder split between with Acrolab and the business school.

Manzocco, a full-time student in Odette’s MBA program, said it’s the first time she has worked in the manufacturing industry. She holds a bachelor of commerce degree from the University of Calgary and worked in marketing for a few years before returning to her hometown to pursue a graduate degree at UWindsor.

“It’s been challenging because it’s an area where I’m not familiar with the product or the sector,” she said of the internship.

She likened the first few weeks to “drinking from a firehose,” learning as quickly as possible all she could about the company, its products, and the sector it wants to enter.

“This involves a lot of application of the skills from my program.”

It will open new opportunities upon graduation by proving she has versatile skills applicable to a variety of industries, she said.

Acrolab has done work for Lockheed Missile and Aerospace, the company responsible for providing a spectrometric examination of the spacecraft’s surfaces to evaluate spacecraft glow during the shuttle’s re-entry into the atmosphere. Acrolab’s custom-designed Isobars allowed the spectrometers monitoring the two test areas to be kept uniformly cool on re-entry through the Earth’s atmosphere.

Hodgins said Acrolab was contacted recently by the European contractor in the space sector about providing Isobar heat pipes assemblies for satellites.

The contract would involve a “substantial build” of up to 400 units a month, Hodgins said.

Developing that manufacturing capacity requires planning, so Hodgins reached out to Fazle Baki, associate dean, programs, in the Odette School of Business, to see if there might be an opportunity to collaborate. Dr. Baki learned about the Business Strategy Internship and offered to supervise it together with his wife Fouzia Baki, an engineering professor who specializes in manufacturing processes and business integration.

“I believe that this is a very good opportunity to connect with industry,” Fazle Baki said. “This just shows once again that we have a good program, attract good students, connect our students with industry, and that we are capable of venturing into unfamiliar territory and do well.”

While business students have participated and continue to participate in other internships with local partners, this one with Acrolab is particularly relevant, said Mitch Fields, dean of the Odette School of Business.

“This Mitacs Business Strategy Internship is a result of a long and fruitful relationship with the senior team at Acrolab,” said Dr. Fields. “It’s a win for all partners involved. Our student obtains invaluable real-world experience, Acrolab benefits from our expertise, and the university benefits from solidifying an important partnership in the community.”

—Sarah Sacheli

cover image: This is KlausSales of Heidi Jacobs’ latest literary work support the Windsor Essex Humane Society.

Stray cats inspire librarian’s book for children

It was during the gloomy month of March in the early stage of lockdown that librarian and author Heidi Jacobs found herself restless and distracted. Staring out her back window to the garden her she was entertained by the antics of two stray cats who had made a home for themselves in her backyard.

“I spent a lot of time staring out my back window, drinking coffee, watching the winter fade to spring,” said Jacobs. “It was the funny antics of these cats, who I named Klaus and Sebastian, that brought inspiration to my distraction.”

Jacobs admired the little creatures; they were kind and genuine despite facing difficulties of their own in an already difficult time.

“Rather than focusing on what I couldn’t do, I tried to see those lockdown days as an opportunity for doing something I could finally do,” said Jacobs. “I wanted to do something creative and collaborative and I realized I had no excuses to put things off.”

Jacobs then put pen to paper and started the story of Klaus.

Jacobs teamed up with local artist Lydia Joy Palmer to illustrate the story with 28 pages featuring Klaus and his adventures with friends in his South Walkerville backyard.

“Lydia’s final pictures blew me away — the colours and the plants, the way she got Klaus’s expressions and poses just right,” said Jacobs. “The illustrations tell as much of the story as the words do — maybe even more.”

Jacobs and Palmer were keen to use their creativity to support the community and agreed that the story of Klaus could bring awareness to organizations such as the Windsor-Essex Humane Society who care for stray animals.

Klaus will join the shelves of Leddy Library in the Curriculum Resource Centre for aspiring educators. The book is available to purchase on Etsy with a portion of every book sale being donated to the Windsor Essex Humane Society.

—Marcie Demmans

woman looking thoughtful at computerThe Senate Student Caucus has launched a new online form to solicit feedback on issues and concerns.

Student caucus seeking input into issues before Senate

The Senate Student Caucus is a sounding board to help bring student issues, concerns, and successful initiatives to the Senate or other appropriate University offices or bodies.

Under the leadership of co-chairs Linden Crain (representing the University of Windsor Students’ Alliance) and Phebe Lam (faculty member in the Faculty of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences), the Senate Student Caucus has launched a new online form to solicit feedback.

Students are encouraged to share their thoughts and help the Senate Student Caucus learn about student issues, concerns, and successful initiatives through the online feedback form at www.uwindsor.ca/studentexperience/student-feedback.

image indicating chat -- speech bubble with ellipsis insideIT Services has added live chat to its remote options for helping clients.

IT Service Desk launches live chat

Faculty and staff as well as current and future students can now connect with the Service Desk in Information Technology Servcices via live chat.

Access to the live chat function is available from the bottom right corner of www.uwindsor.ca/its or www.uwindsor.ca/itshelp.

Fall 2020 live chat hours are:

  • Monday – Friday from 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
  • Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Live chat joins phone support at 519-253-3000, ext. 4440, and submitting a ticket to www.uwindsor.ca/itshelp as part of the IT Services remote service options. To help protect the health and safety of the University community, the IT Service Desk remains closed for in-person assistance until further notice.

RSVP to attend part-time student awards celebration

The Organization of Part-time University Students invites the campus community to attend its 28th annual awards ceremony on the Zoom videoconferencing platform, Friday, Oct. 30, at 4:30 p.m.

The event recognizes part-time undergrad students, professors, and staff members for “Going the Extra Mile.” RSVP to opus@uwindsor.ca to receive the link to join online the celebration of these Lancer successes. Find more details on the event website.

file folders reading "Funding" and "Grants"Nov. 18 is the deadline for the next round of submissions for funding through the Campus Safety Grant.

Funding available for campus safety projects

The Campus Safety Grant Committee is accepting applications for funding for projects to promote safety, with a focus on addressing issues of sexual violence on campus.

The committee invites creative, innovative proposals from members of the university community, including individuals or groups, faculty, staff, and student organizations.

The deadline for the next round of submissions for funding through the Campus Safety Grant is Nov. 18.

In accordance with the parameters set by the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, submissions are required to support one of the following broad categories or objectives:

  • Awareness or education (e.g., workshops, websites, awareness campaigns)
  • Student services and supports (e.g., campus walk safe programs, sexual assault prevention initiatives, volunteer training, resource materials)
  • Facilities and equipment (e.g., lighting, mirrors, security cameras, emergency phones)

Funding requests are accepted on an ongoing basis by the Office of Human Rights, Equity and Accessibility at:

Projects funded in the current round must be completed — and invoices paid — by March 15, 2021.

Lancer Gaming logoLancer Gaming has announced its team roster for League of Legends competition.

Lancer Gaming names League of Legends roster

Ali Abdeulmula, head coach of Lancer Gaming, has named the team roster for League of Legends play.

Representing the University of Windsor in Ontario Post-Secondary Esports and National Association of Collegiate Esports competition are:

  • computer science student Tyler Hong, captain and attack damage carry;
  • mechanical engineering major Ben Cristina, jungle;
  • business students Mark Barkou, support, and Michael Clarke, top;
  • civil engineering student Mohammed Al-Abbas, mid-lane, flexible;
  • neuroscience major Osama Al Eisawy, jungle;
  • biology student Ali Abed, support.

“We are really excited to welcome our inaugural team into the League of Legends’ fray,” Abdeulmula says. “We have additional members and alternates in the wings who will be competing for spots weekly through scrimmages, as we always want to showcase our best players on the online battlefield.”

The squad will next see action against the St. Clair Saints on Thursday, Oct. 29. The competition will be webcast at 8 p.m. at https://www.twitch.tv/SaintsGamingCA.

More information is available on the Lancer Gaming webpage.