Trent students Sam Blondeau and Danielle Harper are worlds apart in terms of their fields of study, but a shared passion for their subject matter served them well at the 6th annual 3-Minute Paper (3MP) Competition.
Ms. Blondeau, a Child and Youth Studies/Sociology student, and Ms. Harper, a Biology student, were among 16 Trent undergraduate students who rose to the 3-minute challenge at the this year’s Three Minute Paper competitionbefore an attentive audience in Gzowski College’s Nozhem Theatre.
Ms. Blondeau, whose topic was Squeegee Kids Are Not Broken Windows, won the Office of Research Overall Prize while Ms. Harper, via her presentation titled Spice Up Your Life: Blood Vessel Formation and Cellular Stress, won the President’s Office Audience Choice Prize.
“I looked at the history of street-involved youth in Canada and the policies that have been used to deal with them to try and understand why Ontario used the Ontario Safe Streets Act to criminalize squeegee kids back in the day, given the fact that squeegee work actually helped them,” explained Ms. Blondeau, adding she has “a 360 view” having been a Peterborough frontline social worker for 12 years who at one time was on the streets herself.
“We need to care about the criminalization of poverty and homelessness because the more people are criminalized, the worse it gets for everyone. The policies we’ve been using aren’t getting us anywhere.”
Ms. Harper, meanwhile, impressed with her presentation on the effects of cambium toxicity on blood vessel formation and the potential protective effects of percumin.
“My supervisor Dr. Carolyn Kapron has been amazing supporting my project but also constantly working together with my peers and learning new things from them…there’s so much collaboration and opportunities to learn from each other,” said Ms. Harper.
Ms. Blondeau concurred, crediting her Trent instructors with helping her “understand the consequences that ideas have.”
“3MP is a wonderful celebration of the quality and breadth of Trent undergraduate research,” said Stephanie Muehlethaler, Otonabee College principal and co-organizer of the event. “I was so impressed by the student presenters at 3MP; they all brought such different perspectives and approaches to their 3-minute stories.”
Also recognized for their presentations were Overall Prize runner-ups Katherine Nocera and Alissa Sallans while Ms. Harper also received the Best Visual Aids Prize.
Participants represented nine different disciplines, both campuses, and all five undergraduate colleges. They delivered short talks on research they completed for course work, theses, and community research projects, which covered a wide range of topics from the impact of vaping on health issues to issues of free speech on campus to the motivations of volunteers in an environmental education program.