young woman punching logo reading "K.O. COVID"“Knock Out COVID” is the theme of a campaign to encourage UWindsor students to get vaccinated against the coronavirus.

Vaccination campaign encouraging students to knock out COVID

The University of Windsor launched a vaccination campaign Monday to encourage students not only to get into the ring and “Knock Out COVID,” but to carry the message to others in the under-25 population around Windsor-Essex County.

The KO COVID effort will team the University with the University of Windsor Students’ Alliance to help students and other young people in the community get the facts and support they need to overcome vaccine hesitancy and access vaccination in the community.

The University will work with WE-Spark Health Institute and UWindsor researchers to provide expertise, while student mentors will guide, engage, and empower students to protect their health and the health of others in the community.

“We’re finally getting closer to the finish line in terms of vaccination, but there is still some work to do and we need that final push with people under 25,” said Lisa Porter, a biomedical researcher at the University of Windsor and executive director of the WE-Spark Health Institute.

”Even though most younger people are in good health, they are still at risk of contracting COVID-19, and have an important role to play in stopping its spread and reducing the impact the disease has on family, friends, and vulnerable people in the community.”

University of Windsor Students’ Alliance president Jasleen Dayal says students are in a great position to share what they learn about vaccination with their friends, family, and others in community.

“We want our students to lead the charge and be community advocates for vaccination,” she said.

The website will not only provide students with opportunities to have vaccination questions answered by experts, but students will be encouraged to share their own vaccination experiences, concerns, stories, and photos through social media for a chance to win a series of prizes valued at more than $15,000.

“This is a true peer-to-peer initiative and one that will address the reasons why young people may be hesitant to get themselves vaccinated,” Dr. Porter said.

“We’re very optimistic that the campaign will make a real difference for young people in addressing concerns in a supportive and fun way.”

Sami Alrashed in bio labResearch experience as an undergraduate help pave the way to a medical career for biomedical sciences grad Sami Alrashed.

Undergraduate research experience leads alumnus to lifelong dream

When Sami Alrashed graduated this spring with his Bachelor of Science degree in biochemistry and biomedical sciences, he recalled fondly his research experiences as a UWindsor student.

Entering post-secondary studies as an Outstanding Scholar with a thirst for learning, he found opportunities to engage in exploration by reading about professors’ research and attending campus presentations on their progress and discoveries.

In his second year, he began working in the biology lab of Lisa Porter.

“Professors want to have you on board,” Alrashed said. “And they want to train you into future stars.”

By year three, he was known by science faculty and students, working as a teaching assistant and participating in community activities while holding down two part-time jobs off-campus.

Alrashed’s fourth-year thesis proposed a novel targeted therapy to combat glioblastoma — an aggressive cancer that can form in the brain or the spinal cord.

“Sometimes I would catch myself thinking about how surreal it is to have the opportunity to contribute to elevating the health of our community,” he said. “Even if my actions seem minuscule, it helps us understand the big picture.”

His passion for research earned Alrashed the 2021 Board of Governors Medal for the highest academic standing in his program. He will begin studies in medicine at the University of Ottawa this fall, fulfilling a lifelong dream.

And along the way, he has developed a network of colleagues who treat him like family. Alrashed credited support from Dr. Porter, her research assistant Dorota Lubanska, his lab mates, and “alllll of my friends.”

digitized fingerprintLancer Recreation is offering virtual summer camps related to science, suitable for beginners.

Science activities on offer at virtual summer camps

A series of free online sessions from Lancer Recreation promise interactive science activities for kids seven to 10 years old.

Lancer Summer Virtual Science Camps run just one hour and use materials found in the home. Led by UWindsor undergraduate students of science, each session begins at 1 p.m.

  • Programming Puzzles draws on computer science, math, and technology to offer a short programming activity, logic puzzles, and other fun online challenges: Wednesday, July 21, or Tuesday, July 27.
  • DNA Day will take participants all about DNA — what it is, why it is important, and how we can use DNA in different areas of science — through a short introduction, a hands-on craft activity, and an interactive online activity: Wednesday, Aug. 4, or Tuesday, Aug. 10.
  • Detective for a Day will explore the use of forensic science to solve mysteries through two hands-on activities — an ink chromatography (chemistry) experiment and fingerprinting: Wednesday, Aug. 18, or Tuesday, Aug. 24.

Register online through Activenet.

women in silhouetteApplications are now open for the EPIC VentureWomen Program, which provides training and support for female business founders.

Applications open for women entrepreneur support program

Applications are open through Aug. 9 for the EPIC VentureWomen Program, which provides training and support for female business founders.

Throughout the four-month program, the Entrepreneurship Practice and Innovation Centre (EPICentre) will help participants gain key skills, competencies, and know-how on:

  • leadership, teamwork, and communication;
  • sales strategy and lead generation;
  • finance and accounting;
  • business law and intellectual property law; and
  • product development and design strategy.

The program is free for participating startups. Find more details of eligibility, benefits, and an online applications form, on the EPICentre website.

coffee cup and box of facial tissuesHuman Resources offers tips to help hay fever sufferers lessen their symptoms.

Human Resources shares tips to lessen allergy symptoms

Sneezing, runny nose, itchy eyes, congestion — these symptoms are all too familiar to those who suffer from allergies to pollen.

In a message sent Monday to UWindsor faculty and staff, Human Resources shares tips to help lessen allergy symptoms:

  • Pay attention to pollen counts for your area. When they are high, stay indoors as much as you can.
  • If you do go outside during times of high pollen counts, remove the clothes you have worn when you get home and shower to rinse the pollen from your skin and hair.
  • Keep windows closed and air conditioning on at home and in the car to keep pollen from blowing in.
  • Vacuum and dust your home frequently to keep pollen levels down.
  • Avoid hanging laundry outside to dry as pollen can stick to clothing, sheets, and towels.

Read the entire Wellness Tip of the Week.