Graduate Student Research Showcased at Three Minute Thesis Competition
Reesha Patel was hesitant to enter Trent’s Three Minute Thesis competition, but she’s glad she did. Ms. Patel, a Masters student in Applied Modelling and Quantitative Methods, walked away with the President’s First Prize at the event held on March 26, 2014 at Peterborough’s Market Hall.
Ms. Patel’s presentation of her thesis, “Predicting Floods Based on Climate Change Data,” was judged to be the best by a panel of prominent members from the Peterborough community, including: Bruce Bonner, president of D.M. Wills Associates; Carol Lawless ’83 from Greater Peterborough Health Services; Dr. Tom Miller ’82, emergency room physician at PRHC; Adrienne Richard ’06 of We Design Group; and Jim Russell, CEO of United Way of Peterborough & District. Participants were judged on communication style, comprehension, and audience engagement.
In total, 20 graduate students presented summaries of their research to a packed house of friends, colleagues, faculty and supporters.
It was the second year that Trent has held the event, which challenges graduate students to explain their research project to a non-specialist audience in just three minutes.
“The Three Minute Thesis is an international movement that originated at the University of Queensland. It is intended to bring back the art of oratory and to help graduate students develop the professional ability to speak about their research in a concise way,” explained Dana Capell, of the Academic Skills Centre, who organized the event. “Students need transferable skills, such as communication, which they can use anywhere.”
The event was a showcase for the broad expanse of research being conducted by Trent’s talented pool of graduate students. Their topics cut across a variety of disciplines including anthropology, sustainability studies, materials science, environmental and life sciences, psychology, history, applied modelling and quantitative methods, and cultural studies.
Ms. Patel confessed that it was difficult to condense her thesis into three minutes. “It’s hard, because you really understand the science after you spend two or three years immersed in research, but the general public doesn’t. This process helped me to simplify my research and communicate it to people who are not scientists.”
As the overall winner, Ms. Patel received a cash prize of $500. She will be representing Trent at the provincial Three Minute Thesis competition to be held in Hamilton, Ontario on April 24, 2014.
The School of Graduate Studies Runner-Up Prize was awarded to Michael Floros, a Ph.D. candidate in Materials Science, who won $250 for his presentation “Preventing Pandemics with Plant Polymers.”
Ayden Sherritt, a Masters student in Environmental Life Sciences, won the Provost People’s Choice Award, and $250, for his presentation “The Influence of Habitat on Woodland Caribou Site Fidelity.”
The Three Minute Thesis competition was sponsored by the School of Graduate Studies, the Academic Skills Centre, the Office of the President, the Office of the Provost, the Trent Graduate Students Association, Traill College, and the External Relations and Advancement Department at Trent.
Posted on March 28, 2014