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Grad Students Battle to Make a Quick Point: Three Minute Thesis Competition

March 24, 2016

Jessica Reid named winner at 2016 Three Minute Thesis competition

Jessica Reid named winner at 2016 Three Minute Thesis competition
Jessica Reid named winner at 2016 Three Minute Thesis competition

Donald Trump and Justin Trudeau could learn a lesson or two from former Canadian Prime Minister Louis St. Laurent. In fact, says Trent Masters in History student, Cory Baldwin, maybe they already have.

Mr. Baldwin was one of more than a dozen Trent graduate students who competed in the annual Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition on March 23. The event challenged grad students with just three minutes – 180 seconds a piece – to sum up their months of research in front of a crowd of students, professors, and business leaders in the community.

Mr. Baldwin used his time to argue the merits of brand theory in politics, explaining how St. Laurent was a forerunner in the world of media manipulation which proved how political marketers can manipulate various social, cultural, and psychological differentiators to create a candidate that people are desperate to vote for. He pointed to the backers of George W. Bush, who marketed their candidate as one who you would be comfortable sitting down with for a beer.

With many great and well-thought out presentations, the judges at the event had a difficult time selecting the winner. Although Mr. Baldwin’s points were strong, and his presentation well received by the crowd, in the end, the judges awarded Jessica Reid, a Masters in Psychology student, the top prize – the President’s First Prize and Graduate Student Association (GSA) $500 travel stipend, for her presentation Beyond the Prison Walls: Gender Differences on the Effects of Parental Incarceration.

"I feel honoured to have the opportunity to represent Trent at the Provincial 3MT competition where I will share the impact of parental incarceration and the need to support children of prisoners in Canada to a larger audience," said Ms.Reid. "It has only been with the continued support of my supervisor, Dr. Elaine Scharfe that this achievement was possible. I hope that participating in these events will help to dismantle the stigma of parental incarceration and leverage support for these innocent victims of crime in our country." 

Additional 3MT 2016 winners included:

  • Jonathan Martin, Ph.D. candidate in Environmental and Life Sciences, awarded the School of Graduate Studies Runner-Up prize ($250) for his presentation, Nanosilver Additions to a Lake Ecosystem: How do Fish Respond?
  • Samantha Stephens, Environmental and Life Sciences Masters student, won the Catharine Parr Traill College Honourable Mention ($250) for Mingling for Mates: How the spatial structure of a clonal plant affects its mating patterns;
  • Jessica Correa, Masters in Sustainability Studies, awarded the Provost’s People’s Choice Award ($250) for her presentation, Grow up, Get a Car?

Dana Capell, academic skills instructor at Trent and an organizer for the event, said the competition was truly inspiring in terms of its presenters and its audience.

“The graduate presenters not only demonstrated the incredible breadth of graduate student scholarship at Trent, but drew on amazing creativity to explain their projects with clarity and grace,” Ms. Capell said, adding that it was exciting to look around The Venue downtown and see an audience that included not only students and professors but also members of the Peterborough community, all of who came to experience the joy of understanding ideas and information that they might never had heard of before.

The Trent University Three Minute Thesis competition is sponsored by the School of Graduate Studies, the Academic Skills Centre, Trent Graduate Student Association, Traill College, the Office of the President, the Office of the Provost, and External Relations and Advancement.