UWindsor Together: Student Mental Health and Remote Learning Services
UWindsor professor Ken Drouillard holding masksUWindsor professor Ken Drouillard is heading a research project to help the Windsor-Essex Sewing Force. The volunteer group recently passed a production milestone of 50,000 masks and scrub caps.

Sewing volunteers hit milestone

An army of volunteers aided by UWindsor researchers has hit the milestone of sewing more than 50,000 facemasks and scrub caps in one year.

The Windsor-Essex Sewing Force began producing personal protective equipment for local healthcare workers when the pandemic first struck. The group also provided masks to vulnerable populations, including seniors, low-income families, people with disabilities, migrant workers, and at-risk children.

The items were designed with the help of scientists at UWindsor’s Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research. With a grant from the Office of Research and Innovation and the WE-Spark Health Institute, experts used GLIER’s scanning electron microscope to analyze materials and designed a database and website to track inventory, requests, donations, and sources for fabric and notions.

“Volunteers knew they wanted to make the best masks possible for our community,” said Rebecca Rudman, WESF co-founder. “It was natural for us to reach out to local researchers at the Great Lake Institute for Environmental Research with its expertise in quality control and materials analysis, and WE-Spark Health Institute with their network of experts at Hôtel-Dieu Grace Healthcare, St. Clair College, the University of Windsor, and Windsor Regional Hospital.”

A survey is part of the project.

“Most mask surveys have been focused on healthcare professionals. We are leading a new mask survey of the public to understand their perspectives on mask fit, comfort, and usefulness,” said Ken Drouillard, lead researcher.

“Understanding the experience of people in the community is critical as public mask mandates have been shown to be a vital public health tool. We have a unique opportunity to improve tools for the remainder of this pandemic and prepare for the future.”

WESF enlisted the help of all sectors of the local community to get masks to the people who needed them most. Local organizations supporting the volunteer efforts include the City of Windsor, Windsor-Essex County Health Unit, local quilt guilds, industry and small businesses, social service organizations, and advocacy groups.

“Our next step is a public awareness campaign to make sure everyone in the community who needs a mask gets one and raising funds to meet those needs” said Rudman. “In addition, WESF will be focused on sharing what we’ve learned with the science community.”

To request a mask or cap, to volunteer, to donate, or to take part in the mask survey, visit www.wesf.ca.

—Sarah Sacheli

Aayush Vashi, Iram Malik, Zorka Globarevic, and Mahmoud YaminAayush Vashi, Iram Malik, Zorka Globarevic, and Mahmoud Yamin took first place in the first-ever Windsor Mold Group Capstone Endowment Awards for UWindsor’s industrial engineering program.

Engineering student projects make mark in industry

From a multi-criteria decision support system to optimize restaurant menus during a pandemic to boosting the efficiency of local manufacturing shopfloors, UWindsor students are improving the community through industrial engineering.

Seven student teams presented their capstone designs during the Industrial Engineering Virtual Capstone Showcase on March 26. Capstone projects challenge fourth-year engineering students to apply the formal knowledge they’ve gained during their undergraduate studies and partner with industry to solve real-world problems.

“Our students spend the fall and winter semesters working on sponsored projects from initial concepts to final designs,” says Jill Urbanic, capstone co-ordinator for the industrial engineering program.

“Although the present COVID-19 pandemic situation has altered how we do business, these students have met the challenges head-on.”

A new addition to this year’s showcase was the Windsor Mold Group Capstone Endowment Awards. Students had the chance to win three cash prizes for their innovative designs. The top three teams were selected by Windsor Mold Group representatives Keith Henry, Sandeep Singh, and Marc DiDomenico, and guest industry judges Mark Dolson of TRQSS and Pete Naysmith of Valiant TMS.

“Windsor Mold Group would like to congratulate this year’s industrial engineering capstone teams on their creative designs and innovative solutions to problems encountered in industry,” says Henry, Windsor Mold CEO. “Thinking creatively is the cornerstone of engineering designs and businesses depend on ingenuity to efficiently resolve problems.”

Windsor Mold Group Capstone Endowment Award recipients include the following:

  • First Place - Resilient Restaurants; Iram Malik, Aayush Vashi, Mahmoud Yamin, Zorka Globarevic
  • Second Place - Hiram Walker’s; Natalie Barcic, Lucas Dodson, Luke Gecse, Pierre Yousif
  • Third Place - Martinrea Metallic; Elvis Amukamara, Sukhvir Dhaliwal, Tylene Gall, Bukky Sosanya, Mitch Wang

Undergraduate capstone projects present an opportunity for companies to solve engineering problems and recruit top talent. If your organization is interested in participating or would like more information about sponsoring a student project, contact 2021-22 capstone co-ordinator Waguih ElMaraghy at wem@uwindsor.ca.

—Kristie Pearce

text advertising launch of the book Grace of Falling Stars on Wednesday, April 7.Several associated activities will add to the fun of the launch of the book Grace of Falling Stars on Wednesday, April 7.

Book launch to add music and mixology to poetry

Prior to the pandemic, the book launch at the conclusion of the Publishing Practicum course was an in-person event with cocktails, food and a large crowd. This year, the launch will happen online Wednesday, April 7, and organizers are determined to still make it fun.

“Since the event is online this year, people from all over the world can attend,” says student Victoria Hecnar. “In the past, the live launch events were limited to people living locally.”

The evening will kick off with a pre-event “Do-It-Yourself cocktail hour” on Facebook Live at 5:30 p.m.

As the audience moves onto Zoom at 6:30 p.m. for the main event, they’ll enjoy a performance by singer-songwriter and education student Allesandro Rotondi (BMus 2020).

Then the virtual launch gets underway at 7 p.m., with author Bruce Meyer reading poetry selections from his new book Grace of Falling Stars, a behind-the-scenes video on the publishing process, giveaways of autographed copies, and a live question-and-answer session.

Join the Zoom event, purchase books, and link to Grace of Falling Stars’ social media feeds here: linktr.ee/GraceofFallingStars.

—Susan McKee

inspirational text messageThe Umeditate Windsor club will text an inspirational quotation once a week as a way to promote mental wellness.

Student club sharing messages of mindfulness

A service of a new student organization aims at promoting mental wellness. Mindful Texting will send weekly inspirational quotations by text message to any phone.

“I am hoping that faculty and staff will share this information with students and consider signing up themselves,” says Aliyah King, founder of the Umeditate Windsor club. “This would greatly help in promoting the importance of being mindful and positive, especially throughout the circumstances we are all living in.”

The project is funded through the Outstanding Scholars program. To sign up for a weekly mental health reminder, text “mindful” to the toll-free number: 833-935-1823.

students conversing onlineFree sample lessons will give future UWindsor learners perspective on what training in English for academic purposes looks like online.

Sample lessons to give taste of English Language Improvement Program

The English Language Improvement Program (ELIP) is providing free sample lessons to future UWindsor learners to give them perspective on what training in English for academic purposes looks like online.

In the past year, the percentage of students pursing English proficiency studies and residing outside of Canada has increased from 22 per cent in intersession 2020, to 71 per cent in fall 2020 and 85 percent in winter 2021.

“We want prospective students to know that if they choose to begin their pre-academic language pathway training online — while residing within or outside of Canada — they can expect interactivity and engagement,” says Anouchka Plumb, manager of language program for Continuing Education.

“This serves a way to demonstrate what we will be doing to support their English language growth. The curricular team has invested in a multitude of ways to enhance content capturing and delivery strategies to meet the diverse English language proficiency needs of students. Essentially, our goal is to set students up to succeed.”

The one-hour session includes an overview of Windsor-Essex, the University of Windsor, a targeted lesson in language skills, and steps to pursing education and language training at UWindsor.

The lessons have received positive feedback from the Bolashak International Education Fair as well as from participants in its most recent session, Dr. Plumb says.

To learn more about the English Language Improvement Program, visit uwindsor.ca/englishpathway.