DailyNews Issue for Thursday, Jul 27th, 2017

Search for shortcuts leads student to programming publication

Adriano DuranteOdette MBA student Adriano Durante developed a program to strip extraneous information from a financial database.

Looking for the easy way out doesn’t usually lead to academic success — unless you’re Adriano Durante.

The Odette School of Business MBA student will have his paper, “How to Build a Better Database: When Python Programming Meets Bloomberg’s Open API,” published in an upcoming edition of Finance Research Letters, all thanks to his search for shortcuts during an assignment given by his faculty advisor Eahab Elsaid.

“Dr. Elsaid asked for data from 300 company proxy statements and I thought to myself, ‘that’s going to take a while,’” Durante said.

The student, who is also Elsaid’s MBA research assistant, was collecting the information as part of an independent study course requirement — though it proved to be a daunting task for a student with strengths and a master’s degree in political science.

He started with the application programming interface (API) of the financial media company Bloomberg, which provides bulk data contained in corporate proxy statements to investors — everything from CEO salaries to option plans for directors — but faced the challenge of dealing with a firehose of information.

Durante used a web crawler to teach himself coding in order to weed out extraneous data — leaving only the information he needed to complete his assignment. The serendipitous result was a tool that can be shared with others doing similar research.

“Programming isn’t my background at all,” he said. “To be honest, I was just looking for a way to make this easier for myself — to strip away any unneeded data points to get at what I really wanted.

“It took me about three weeks to develop the code in the Odette finance lab but now it is something that can be used by anyone who wants to save time doing this type of research.”

Elsaid has high praise for his student’s ingenuity.

“When I picked Adriano to be my MBA research assistant it never occurred to me that we would be publishing a paper that I believe is going to make hand collecting data a thing of the past,” he said. “He is a brilliant researcher and I was very fortunate to get an opportunity to work with him.”

UWindsor prof digs into rare earth metals

UWindsor professor Iain Samson examines core from the Baerzhe deposit in Inner Mongolia on July 2, 2017.UWindsor professor Iain Samson examines core from the Baerzhe deposit in Inner Mongolia on July 2, 2017.

A University of Windsor professor travelled across the globe this summer to dig into the origins of rare metals in the Earth’s crust.

Iain Samson, a professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, ventured to China for three weeks to teach and conduct fieldwork.

Dr. Samson began the trip by teaching a short course to researchers and graduate students on metals and fluids in hydrothermal systems at the China University of Geosciences Beijing (CUGB) on June 23.

“My research is largely focused on the geochemistry of fluids and metals in the Earth’s crust, and processes that have led to metal enrichment,” Samson said. "There are various practical applications of such knowledge, including exploration for metals, and in mineral processing."

Dr. Iain Samson instructs a course on metals and fluids at the China University of Geosciences, Beijing on June 26, 2017.

Professor Iain Samson instructs a course on metals and fluids at the China University of Geosciences, Beijing, on June 26, 2017.

Following the class in Beijing, Samson travelled to the Baerzhe rare metal deposit in Inner Mongolia.

Samson and a PhD student spent a number of days taking core samples from the deposit to study the processes that concentrated the rare elements. He said the rare elements the two were focused on include the lanthanide chemical elements on the periodic table, as well as zirconium and niobium.

Some of the rare-earth elements like lithium and neodymium have applications in the green technologies sector with uses in batteries in vehicles or magnets in wind turbines. Other metals like tantalum are used for electrical components in smart phones, computers and cameras.

With more than 90 per cent of the world’s legal reserves in rare metals, Inner Mongolia has become an important resource for green energy producers.

Dr. Iain Samson prepares to go underground at the Baolun gold mine in Hainan Province on July 9, 2017.

Iain Samson (centre) prepares to go underground at the Baolun gold mine in Hainan Province on July 9, 2017.

He said the rock specimens they collected from the Baerzhe deposit will be the basis for a variety of mineralogical and geochemical analyses using a wide range of advanced techniques at both the CUGB and the University of Windsor.

“We sampled what’s called diamond drill core, and it allows you to look at the characteristics — the geology basically — of the deposit in three dimensions,” Samson said.

Following the fieldwork at the Baerzhe deposit in Inner Mongolia, Samson moved south to sample molybdenum and gold deposits on the Chinese island of Hainan Province.

Molybdenum improves the high-temperature and anti-corrosive properties of steel and is commonly used in military armour, aircraft parts and industrial motors.

Molybdenite from the Gaotongling Mo deposit in Hainan Province is pictured on July 8, 2017.

Molybdenite from the Gaotongling Mo deposit in Hainan Province is pictured on July 8, 2017.

“This has really been a bilateral exchange and collaboration and will be important going forward,” Samson said, adding that he currently has a visiting PhD student from the Guangzhou Institute of Geochemistry.

He said studying these rare earth metals is especially important as society moves to become more energy-efficient, and it is important for Canada in that he is also studying similar deposits nationally. Understanding the fundamental science is a global issue, and mineral deposits of interest occur all over the Earth.

"Resources are still fundamentally important for sustaining and advancing modern society," Samson said. “As we move to become more environmentally aware, then developing technologies that allow us a society to do that is very, very important.”

Students to display latest engineering innovations

Members of the Lancer Motorsports team pose with their baja car capstone project.Members of the Lancer Motorsports team pose with their baja car capstone project.

More than 300 University of Windsor students will display the latest engineering innovations Friday, July 28, in the Ed Lumley Centre for Engineering Innovation.

The capstone projects designed by fourth-year engineering students include a wearable device that uses body heat to charge cell phones, systems that monitor vehicle safety or blood pressure, and the design of bike trails between Point Pelee National Park and Hillman Marsh.

Students will present their projects to various industry partners and faculty during an open house from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. throughout the first floor of the Ed Lumley Centre for Engineering Innovation.

The team-based projects are the culmination of the undergraduate program and a requirement for degree completion. Students combine the technical skills and hands-on experience acquired during their program and design a project related to their chosen discipline.

Projects within the departments of Civil and Environmental Engineering; Electrical and Computer Engineering; and Mechanical, Automotive and Materials Engineering will be on display.

Internship opportunities open doors, says experiential learner

Vinay SarafAn internship turned into a job offer from Canada’s largest telecommunications company for Master of Applied Computing student Vinay Saraf.

Vinay Saraf has some advice for students seeking work experiences like the internship he served over the winter semester at Bell Canada.

“I would suggest that they learn the new technologies as employers would like to see how fast you adapt,” says the Master of Applied Computing student. “Students should develop the skills by doing projects at university by working with professors in requirement gathering, analysis, design, deployment and testing phase.”

The company, Canada’s largest telecommunications firm, offered Saraf a full-time permanent position after he completed his internship, which focused on supporting new financial reporting standards in revenue accounting.

Johanna Beneteau, internship co-ordinator for the Master of Applied Computing program, says job-seekers should connect their schoolwork to marketable skills.

“In preparing students for their job search, we encourage them to include projects on their resumes and to highlight their work through GitHub links,” she says.

Saraf his internship provided a valuable education in office culture.

“My experience helped prepare me for the real world by not only developing my technical knowledge, but also understanding the business,” he says. “It tested my analytic, reasoning and problem-solving skills.”

He says students hoping for a similar role should improve such soft skills as communication, positive attitude, time management, and self-confidence.

“Before an interview, they should do the proper homework about the organization and the business,” Saraf says. “Finally, they should represent themselves in such a way that they will be a great asset to a company’s growth.”

Professor Arunita Jaekel says the Master of Applied Computing program is growing in popularity with potential students and high-profile employers in information technologies.

“Its emphasis on experiential learning combines classroom theory with high-demand IT skills,” she says. “This is a win-win for both students and employers.”

Learn more about opportunities available to UWindsor students through the Master of Applied Computing program.

Maple Leafs great to greet golfers at alumni tourney

Al IafrateThe UWindsor alumni golf tournament Monday will welcome a special guest, Toronto Maple Leafs alumnus Al Iafrate.

Toronto Maple Leafs alumnus Al Iafrate will participate in the Alumni and Friends golf tournament Monday, July 31, at Ambassador Golf Course.

An all-star player with the National Hockey League franchise, Iafrate is one of only two Toronto defencemen to score 20 goals in a season — and the only one to do so twice. The Michigan-born and -raised blueliner recorded 463 points over his 799 games in the league, and another 35 points in the playoffs.

A few spots remain for golfers hoping to hit the links Monday. Cost to attend is $725 per foursome, $190 for individual golfers and $50 for dinner only, with the proceeds supporting student scholarships. Registration and lunch begin at 11 a.m. followed by a 12:30 p.m. shotgun start. Click here to register.

Film screening up next for summer programming at Aboriginal Education Centre

Destiny Soney, Kathryn PasquachDestiny Soney and Kathryn Pasquach staffed a booth representing the UWindsor Aboriginal Education Centre at last weekend’s Grand River Pow Wow.

The Aboriginal Education Centre will host a screening of short films by Indigenous youth on Friday, August 4. The Wapikoni Cinema on Wheels Tour will come to Windsor for a free outdoor screening at 8 p.m. in front of the CAW Student Centre.

The project brought a mobile audiovisual studio to communities across the country to discover Indigenous voices and talents. Viewers will witness the flowering of a new generation of young filmmakers, learn about other cultures and participate in a discussion with the facilitators.

It has been a busy summer for the centre: staff and students set up an information booth at the Grand River Pow Wow, July 21 to 23 on the Six Nations reserve. See a video from the event below; find an album of photos here.

The booth will next travel to Cape Croker in the Bruce Peninsula for the 33rd annual Neyaashiinigmiing Anishinaabekiing Pow Wow, August 19 and 20. Learn more on the centre’s Facebook page.

Budding businesses hoping for home run pitch

The 12 members of the 2017 RBC EPIC Founders program will pitch their start-up businesses before a panel of judges in a bid for $3,500 in seed monies, Wednesday at the Entrepreneurship Practice and Innovation Centre (EPICentre).

The founders will showcase their business ideas in an open house session before the competition. Both events are open to the public.

“Meet the Founders” starts at 2:30 p.m., followed by the pitches at 3:30 p.m., both taking place August 2 at EPIC Innovation on the second floor of the Joyce Entrepreneurship Centre. Find details on the EPICentre website.

Campus food bank looking for deposits

boxes of Kellogg's cerealsBreakfast cereals are a high-demand item at the campus food bank.

With more demand than usual this summer, supply is running low at the campus food bank, reports manager Sandi Rose.

“We’ve had a bit of a run on the bank,” she says. “We’re putting out a call for our generous donors to help out with some of the items we need most.”

She says those include: canned meats, vegetables, and fruits; chick peas and kidney beans; pasta and sauces; cereal; peanut butter; toiletries; notebooks and pens.

“We currently have an overabundance of soups and instant ramen noodles,” says Rose. “We are so grateful to our supporters, who make it possible for us to feed hungry students.”

Donations will be received at Canterbury College, 2500 University Avenue West, Monday to Friday between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Please make cheques payable to Iona College.

University seeking Associate Vice-President, Enrolment Management

The University of Windsor invites applications, expressions of interest, and nominations for the position of Associate Vice-President, Enrolment Management.

The office will lead relevant aspects of student marketing, recruitment, retention, and enrolment, and be responsible for developing and implementing all aspects of a collaborative and comprehensive multi-year enrolment plan and for identifying and meeting annual enrolment goals.

Find more information, including application instructions, in the job posting.