Trent students Kieran Freitag, McKenna Lowrie, Erin Giroux and Suruthe Janakan have two things in common: they are all undergraduate students conducting incredible research in their respective fields, and they’re winners of the eighth annual 3-Minute Paper Competition (3MP).
Kieran, a fourth-year Biomedical Science student from Champlain College, took home the Overall Prize (sponsored by the Office of Research & Innovation at Trent), winning the competition amongst all 20 Trent students in this year’s challenge.
Kieran’s presentation explored The curious case of the missing TATA boxes in this waterborne parasite, a reflection on Giardia intestinalis, and an exploration of where the TATA-binding protein (TBP) is going.
“Trying to think of a way to explain it in a way that everyone will understand,” said Kieran. “In my actual thesis I use so much of this scientific jargon that it’s probably completely unintelligible to any normal person reading it. Trying to figure out ways to use other words so everyone understands – that was the biggest thing.”
Competing in a virtual 3MP presentation
As a virtual event, this year’s 3MP featured three-minute videos pre-recorded in advance of the competition, which was live streamed on YouTube.
The process of creating the video and condensing everything he knows down to just three minutes allowed Kieran to explore explaining a complex research project in a new way.
“In life, everyone wants to be short, concise, and just get to the point and 3-Minute Paper really helps. You’re taking an entire project and boiling it down to three minutes, while making it compelling as well.”
This year, the competition was coordinated through Academic Skills and Otonabee College, with audience members joining remotely and voting for their favourite presentations before turning to a panel of judges to score each presentation and confirm the winners.
“The 3-Minute Paper is one of my most favourite events at Trent,” said Dr. Stephanie Muehlethaler, principal of Otonabee College, a key team helping to organize the 2022 3MP event. “It’s amazing to see the transformational and important research that is being done by our undergraduates! The event itself is also a great growth opportunity for students participating in learning how to articulate their work. I was extremely impressed by the presentations and the content.”
Also recognized for their presentations were:
- McKenna Lowrie from Otonabee College won First Runner Up (sponsored by Alumni Engagement and Services) and Audience Choice Prize (sponsored by the Office of the President) for their presentation, A Memory Trace in Two Systems: The HPC and Memory.
- Erin Giroux from Peter Gzowski College won Best Visuals Prize (sponsored by the Office of the President) for their presentation, The Key to Unlocking Solutions to SARS-CoV-2.
- Suruthe Janakan from Otonabee College won Second Runner Up (sponsored by the Centre for Teaching and Learning at Trent) for their presentation, Animal Neurotransmitters in Plants?