Is it possible to present an 80,000-word thesis in just 180 seconds?
On March 28 at the Market Hall Performing Arts Centre in downtown Peterborough, 22 Trent students undertook that daunting task at the Three Minute Thesis (3MT) challenge, not only proving that what would normally take some nine hours to do can be done in three minutes, but that it can be done well.
“It’s incredibly hard…you have a 200-page thesis and you’re trying to figure out how to explain it in three minutes to an audience that doesn’t use the specialized language that you would normally use,” says event organizer Dana Capell, a Trent Academic Skills instructor. “It’s really an exercise in thinking ‘What’s important about my research and how can I explain it to an educated but non-specialist audience?’
When all was said and done, Sustainability Studies student Chris Magwood was declared the winner, taking home $500 and earning a spot in the provincial 3MT event April 19 at York University. Mr. Magwood summarized his thesis titled GHG Drawdown and Carbon Storage in Buildings.
Environmental and Life Sciences student Sumiko Polacco was a double winner, earning $250 as the runner-up and another $250 as the People’s Choice Award recipient, voted on by the some 200 audience members in attendance. Meanwhile, Psychology student Anastasia Nepotiuk claimed Honourable Mention honours, also winning $250.
Allowed a single PowerPoint slide as the only visual aid, each presentation was judged by a panel of five: Trent vice-president, External Relations and Advancement, Julie Davis; Noblegen technical advisor Martha Gauthier ’96; Artspace director and curator Jon Lockyer ’04; Angel investor Kate Ramsay ’71; and naturalist, teacher and writer Drew Monkman.