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The Keynote: March 2021

Monthly newsletter from the School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies (SGPS) with information for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows.


Grad and postdoc engagement

Catch the last two Grad Pro Skills workshops of the winter term! Learn more and register today!

Presentation Skills – Thursday, March 18 from 2 to 3:15 p.m.

A clear and concise presenter, a visual presentation and engaging content are some of the keys to keeping your audience’s attention in a presentation. In this workshop, you will learn what makes a great presentation and what you can work on to develop your skills.

*This workshop is a part of the Professional Communication Certificate.

Writing Effective Research Proposals (for STEM) - Monday, March 29 from 10:30 a.m. to noon

Writing a compelling research statement can be the most challenging step in the application process. This workshop demystifies the statement and research proposal writing process to help you achieve success. 

*Note: This workshop is tailored for graduate students in STEM disciplines.

Register for Grad Pro Skills


Three Minute Thesis

  • Have you registered to watch the virtual 3MT® finals on Thursday, March 25? Be sure to join in and cheer on your fellow graduate students as they race the clock to present their complex research in under three minutes!

    Learn more about 3MT

SGPS updates

  • The Spring application deadline for the Graduate Student Research Travel Award has been extended to Monday, May 31, 2021 for conferences between April 1, 2021 and September 30, 2021. Both in-person and online conferences are eligible.

  • The rare Charitable Research Reserve has partnered with the Agnes Foundation Fund to offer a fellowship and bursaries program that will allow students to study in a relatively undisturbed though highly accessible site in Waterloo Region. Applications are open to all graduate students and will be accepted until April 1, 2021. Visit the rare Scholarship website for more details.

  • CAGS is launching a new webinar series entitled The Good and the Bad of Black Grad. The aim of this five-part series is to create a space for dialogue that encourages Black academics to share their stories and experiences with the hope that these diverse stories will serve to make connections among Black scholars, to inform university administrators of the challenges experienced by Black students and to inspire prospective students to pursue and achieve their educational goals. Register to watch Episode 1: Being the Only One on March 25, 2021.

Are you planning to defend your thesis in the Winter 2021 or Summer 2021 terms?

  • There are deadlines to guide students for completing program requirements by the end of an academic term. The last day to submit your post-defence thesis package and/or COA for Winter 2021 is April 21, 2021. The last day to submit your post-defence thesis package and/or COA for Summer 2021 is August 23, 2021.

  • Once a student has successfully defended their thesis, they must formally submit a thesis package to SGPS before they are considered complete.  Submission procedures, deadlines and conditions can be found in the Graduate Academic Calendar or on the Graduate Studies Website.  If you have any questions, email

The School of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies is proud to announce that the following doctoral students recently defended their Ph.D. thesis! Please join us in congratulating your fellow colleagues:

Mark Borg

Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering

Thesis title: Autonomous Robot Navigation Through the Littoral Zone

Supervisor: Dr. Scott Nokleby


Zahra Fattahi Massoom

Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering

Thesis title: Modeling and Experimental investigations of Drilling Carbon Fiber

Reinforced Composites

Supervisor: Dr. Hossam Kishawy


Sara Behnami

Ph.D. in Applied Bioscience

Thesis Title: Forward and reverse genetic approaches to investigate cellulose

biosynthesis in Physcomitium patens

Supervisor: Dr. Dario Bonetta


Student Life

  • The Indigenous Student Success Network (ISSN) invited you to a discussion with Rachel Radyk, fourth year Nursing student at Ontario Tech, on COVID Mental Health and Self Care: An Indigenous Perspective on March 24 at 11 a.m. Register through EventBrite.

  • Do you know a student who has exemplified leadership in the campus community? Nominate them for a Student Leadership Award before March 31. Graduate students are eligible for the President's Award of Excellence which includes a $500 award. Find out more on the Student Leadership Awards of Recognition page.

  • Join us for a panel discussion celebrating Trans Day of Visibility! Ontario Tech teams up with the University of Guelph for a discussion on allyship and what Trans Day of Visibility means to the panelists. Register now to attend on Wednesday, March 31 at 6 p.m.

  • Student representatives are needed for the Advisory Committee on Student Sexual Violence Prevention and Support. Become part of the team that provides advice and guidance to the Provost on the university’s efforts to oppose sexual violence among students on campus. Submit your application on the Sexual Violence policy page.

  • Panelist event, Braiding Relationship, Well-Being and Entrepreneurship, brings together entrepreneurs, artists and leaders from the Indigenous community on Thursday, March 18 at 11 a.m. discussing their lived experience. Register now to reserve your spot.

  • On March 8 the Digital Community celebrated International Women’s Day with posts on influential women throughout history and the contributions of women at Ontario Tech. Make sure you check them out!

  • For Career Chats in March we welcome Elevation CPA on March 23 and Intellimeter Canada on March 25 who will be meeting with students to provide insider tips and advice for your job search. Learn more and register on the Career Chats page.

  • Looking for part-time work while you study? Make sure you come to the Part-time Job Fair on March 23 and 25 to meet with local employers looking for part-time staff. Register and view the guidebook on the Part-time Job Fair website.

  • The March schedule for Equity Discussion Groups includes conversations on racism is education with the Not Another Black Lives group on March 22 and discussing cultural foods with Equity Talks on March 29. Be part of the conversation by signing up on the Equity groups and workshops page.

  • The Student Mental Health Advisory Committee is recruiting new members! If you're interested in developing and reviewing mental health initiatives at the university, submit an expression of interest! Learn more a submit through the Get Involved page.


Campus Announcements and Events

  • The Celebrate Teaching! Student Choice Awards are now live. These awards are given to our outstanding teachers who are committed to engaging teaching and student success at Ontario Tech University. Students can nominate their favourite instructors and TAs for the 2020 calendar year by going to the TLC website. Nomination deadline is March 31, 2021.

  • Brilliant Catalyst Summer Incubator Applications now open! The Brilliant Incubator is a four-month program that runs during the Summer. Participants will attend interactive virtual sessions, learn in-demand entrepreneurial skills, receive mentorship from industry experts, and have the opportunity to receive funding. Deadline to apply is April 18, 2021.


Money matters

  • 2020/2021 OSAP Extension Form Coming Soon! If you are an OSAP student taking full time classes in the Spring/Summer term, you need to complete an OSAP Extension Form once you are officially registered. It will be available electronically through MyCampus. Do not apply through the OSAP website.

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