The University of Waterloo has a number of enrichment programs and activities with a wide variety of topic and disciplines. A full list is available online at this site, ranging from finance to chemistry to kinesiology and mathematics. Engineering operates the very popular Engineering Science Quest, a summer program for students grades 1 through 9. Most universities seem to offer a variety of summer programs for elementary and secondary school students.
One program at Waterloo that’s a bit more unique is “Waterloo Unlimited“. I like the concept of it for a number of reasons including:
- It’s not a summer program, it takes place during November (for Grade 12), March (for Grade 11) and May (for Grade 10). The experience is more like being a university student, rather than just attending a summer camp.
- It’s not focused on one thing like math or physics, but includes a bit of everything. But it’s not just a mishmash of various stuff, it revolves around a theme. For example, the Grade 12 program has a theme of “research”. The sample program shows that it could include psychology, mechanical engineering, kinesiology, cryptography, environment, and nanotechnology (for example). The Grade 11 program revolves around “design”.
- We know that really innovative and creative people can integrate material and concepts from across many disciplines, and can see the connections between diverse areas. So Waterloo Unlimited tries to emphasize this trans-disciplinary thinking.
- Entrance to the program is by competitive application (due by October 7th for the November 2016 Grade 12 program), and it’s limited to about 45 students. So it’s going to be a good group with similar but diverse interests.
- My colleague Prof. Ed Jernigan from Systems Design Engineering developed Waterloo Unlimited (and was very active in Shad Valley too), and there are quite a few other faculty from across the university involved in delivering the different aspects of the program. It’s clear to me that the program has very good quality.
For good students in Grades 10, 11 or 12 who are trying to sort out their future path, this sort of program could be very helpful in opening their eyes to the wide variety of ideas, areas, interests and possibilities. I highly recommend that people take a look and see if it interests them.
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WU Spring ’16 alumni here! Can gladly confirm that WU was an awesome experience for me. It was really well-designed, and opened my eyes to how vast the field of design is, and how nearly everything in life can be related to design. I’ve seen my social and teamworking skills improve through the program. As well, the immersion factor was a huge plus. Being able to interact with university professors and students in an authentic setting was extremely beneficial. And finally, I’ve made a group of friends, some of whom I still talk to half-a-year after. Highly recommended!