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students showing moulded seatA team of Windsor engineering students worked with industry partners to develop a more efficient method of producing custom wheelchair seats for children with special needs.

Student project optimizes custom seating for children’s wheelchairs

A manufacturing process developed with help from UWindsor engineering students can help children with special needs get a customized wheelchair faster.

The team, fourth-year engineering majors Luka Mlinarevic, Pavneet Sarao, Alea Mclellan, Jasmine Bull, and Saifaldin Abdelhamid under the direction of professor Colin Novak, has been working with the John McGivney Children’s Centre (JMCC) to speed up its production of specialized seats uniquely designed to meet the specific needs of each child.

The high-quality individualized seats are better suited to young clients than those procured off the shelf, explained team member Bull.

“These custom-moulded seats make a huge difference for these children by providing optimal alignment and support while improving their well-being,” she said.

The new process, presented during the Faculty of Engineering Design Demo Day on July 29, has the potential to reduce production time to three or four weeks rather than the current six to eight months. It will introduce innovative technologies with support from Harbour Technologies, Valiant TMS, and other local partners.

“Our current approach was a mix of internal and external processes that could be costly and labour intensive at times, and the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated those challenges, introducing unpredictability in the cost and delivery of materials” said JMCC seating technologist, Gerry Demers.

JMCC CEO Jessica Sartori expressed gratitude to the UWindsor team and its industry partners.

“We will be a centre of excellence for this process and are excited to share this best practice with the other 21 children’s treatment centres across the province,” she said.

Bull said she and her classmates valued the experience.

“Our capstone project allowed us the unique opportunity to step outside of our textbooks and into the community,” she said.

Odette BuildingThe Odette School of Business is partnering with the John Howard Society of Ontario to share expertise, conduct research, and explore educational opportunities.

Business school partnership to advance opportunities for justice-involved persons

The University of Windsor’s Odette School of Business is partnering with the John Howard Society of Ontario to share expertise, conduct research, and explore educational opportunities.

The two have signed a memorandum of understanding to formalize and expand on the relationship between the school and the society, a not-for-profit organization that works toward effective, just, and humane responses to crime and its causes.

That relationship began with professor Kemi Anazodo sharing her expertise in employment reintegration for people who have had contact with the criminal justice system. The new partnership will allow other faculty members to collaborate on research, help the society with program offerings, and give students expanded learning opportunities.

“I’m very pleased to announce this partnership which will allow us to further share our unique expertise and resources in a spirit of mutual collaboration,” said Mitch Fields, dean of the Odette School of Business.

“At its heart, the purpose of this partnership is for the Odette School of Business to work with the John Howard Society of Ontario to improve second-chance initiatives and fair-chance opportunities for justice-involved persons. At Odette, we pride ourselves on creating socially responsible business and organizational leaders.”

The John Howard Society of Ontario delivers programs and services that build key life skills, support families, and allow people leaving incarceration to achieve a more productive future.

Its Centre of Research and Policy specializes in bridging the gap between analysis and front-line service delivery, said Reza Ahmadi, director of research and evaluation.

“We are thrilled to partner with the Odette School of Business and continue collaborating with the incredible faculty on important evidence-based applied research,” Ahmadi said.

The John Howard Society has championed the Fair Chances Campaign, forming a coalition of businesses and organizations committed to ensuring Canadians with criminal records can find employment and become contributing members of society. About four million Canadians — one in nine — have a criminal record. Police records checks often pose a systemic barrier to employment.

UWindsor researchers can lend expertise to the campaign. Dr. Anazodo, who specializes in organizational behaviour and human resources, is conducting research with the John Howard Society on employer perspectives on hiring people who have been involved in the criminal justice system.

—Sarah Sacheli

Zule Ankamah, Wen Teoh, Susan R. CrystalVentureWomen program member Zule Ankamah, founder of the Ghanaian restaurant Zuleeats, and EPICentre director Wen Teoh meet with U.S. consul general Susan R. Crystal.

Consular visit showcases regional partnerships

On Wednesday, Aug. 3, the U.S. consul general in Toronto, Susan R. Crystal, stopped by the Entrepreneurship, Practice and Innovation Centre (EPICentre) during her Windsor-Essex visit to discuss challenges, priorities, and opportunities in the region as a pivotal function of the bilateral relationship between the United States and Canada.

The consul general and her team received a warm welcome from University of Windsor staff upon their arrival at EPICentre. Crystal met with UWindsor president Robert Gordon, followed by a roundtable discussion with Irek Kusmierczyk, Member of Parliament for Windsor-Tecumseh, and officials from the U.S. consulate, the University of Windsor, and WEtech Alliance.

“It was a privilege to be able to sit down with consul general Crystal on the University of Windsor campus,” said Dr. Gordon. “Being able to showcase a few of the initiatives and partnerships that UWindsor has to offer couldn’t have come at a better time, as exciting things are happening both on campus and in the Windsor-Essex region.”

The meeting included discussions on regional issues such as the state of entrepreneurship in Windsor, economic and academic relationships with Windsor-Detroit, cross-border research, and the University of Windsor’s student pipeline to the talent workforce. The consul general also had the opportunity to visit the Traffic Lab at the Cross-Border Institute and learn more about their initiatives to improve traffic performance at the Canada-U.S. border crossings.

“Visiting the University of Windsor and learning how the institution plays such an integral role in empowering the Windsor-Essex community is truly impressive, particularly your focus on supporting women’s full and equal participation in the workforce. The Windsorites we met truly understand and value the interconnectedness of our two countries,” said Crystal.

During her visit, the consul general had the opportunity to meet many of the local startups currently participating in programs offered at the EPICentre. Entrepreneurs were able to speak to the her about their businesses, what they’ve been working on, and how EPICentre has helped them on their journey. VentureWomen program member Zule Ankamah, founder of Zuleeats, received a special visit in her restaurant from the consul general and her team at the end of their Windsor-Essex stay.

The Consul General’s office continues to support local initiatives in entrepreneurship, including EPICentre’s Entrepreneurship SpeakHER Series — a virtual speaker and networking series that aims to empower post-secondary students, especially women, to consider entrepreneurship as a potential career path — as well as WEtech Alliance’s Canada/US Power Panel, a program that aims to expand mentorship and strategic connection opportunities for women-owned technology and innovation companies in Southwestern Ontario.

—Layan Barakat

olde-fashioned microphoneCampus community radio station CJAM and the Graduate Student Society are teaming up to present a Student Open Mic Night on Saturday, Aug. 13.

Open mic night to provide stage for talents

Campus community radio station CJAM and the Graduate Student Society are teaming up to present a Student Open Mic Night on Saturday, Aug. 13.

Performances by dancers, singers, musicians, and even some comedians will start at 6 p.m. in the student centre.

A $5 donation is suggested for admission, and the event is open to all.

students sharing tableAs the start of the school year approaches, students are looking for answers to their questions about class registration and tuition.

Registration and tuition among top student queries

Campus partners are working to maintain a robust set of Knowledge Base Articles (KBAs).

The team will continue to compile a weekly digest of the most-referenced KBAs to streamline student-focused questions to ask.UWindsor to support consistent communication with current and future students.

These are this week’s top-five referenced KBAs:

You can submit common questions or make suggestions to the KBA team at askkba@uwindsor.ca.