Undergraduate students put their research elevator pitch to the test – explaining their research to audiences in 180 seconds or less at the ninth annual Three Minute Paper (3MP) competition at Trent University’s Nozhem Theatre.
Developed in collaboration by the Colleges of Trent University and the Academic Skills, 3MP challenges students to present their research in a clear, concise, and engaging manner while balancing complexity and depth.
Fourteen students, including four from Trent's Durham Greater Toronto Area (GTA) Campus and 10 from the Peterborough Campus, shared their research with judges and attendees on topics ranging from memory retention to education and rates of cardiovascular disease in Metis populations, presenters were given the full attention of a captivated audience.
Student presentations were judged by a panel of esteemed Trent University leaders including Dr. Michael Khan, provost, and vice-president Academic; Dr. Karleen Pendleton Jiménez, associate dean of Trent Durham GTA; and Dr. Sean Lockwood, assistant director of research support; while Marilyn Burns, vice-president of Communications and Enrolment, led opening remarks.
“The Three Minute Paper competition is a valuable opportunity for our undergraduate students to develop and showcase their communication skills,” said Dr. Khan. “Being able to explain research clearly and effectively to a general audience is a skill that will serve students well in their future academic and professional endeavors. At Trent, we are committed to providing our students with opportunities to engage in meaningful research experiences, and 3MP is just one example of how we are supporting their growth and success.”
By requiring actual research to be presented and offering awards to the most creative and engaging presentations, 3MP provides undergraduate students with a glimpse of the communication skills necessary for success in their future careers.
“3MP is a fun, exciting and engaging way for our undergraduate students to develop those essential communication skills necessary in research," said Dr. Pendleton Jiménez. "The competition provides an opportunity for students to not only learn about work beyond their own disciplines but also expand their portfolios.”
How do CRHR2 receptors in tadpole brains change based on environmental stressors? A complex question reduced to an accessible three-minute presentation by Otonabee College student Diya Shah was the Office of Research Overall Prize winner of this year’s competition.
“My research is focusing on CRHR2 receptors in tadpole brains to see how that links to their physical changes, such as increasing tail size, so we’re trying to find the connectivity between the two,” shared Diya. “We’d like to be able to look at humans as well to see if the physical changes around us, or alterations around us, are causing any changes to our brain and ultimately our body as well. It's a great link from organisms in nature to humans.”
Diya, who also won the President's Office Audience Choice Prize award, was glad that she participated in the competition as she found it rewarding.
Congratulations all this year’s 3MP winners:
- The Office of Research Overall Prize – Diya Shah (she/her) (Otonabee College), To Be or Not to Be: CRHR2 in stress response
- Alumni Engagement and Services First Runner Up Prize – Lindsay Young (they/he) (Champlain College), The Deep End of the Dating Pool: Transgender exclusion in dating and sexual activity
- Centre for Teaching and Learning Second Runner Up Prize – Abbey Politeski (she/her) (Lady Eaton College), Cardiac Cachexia: Do females do it better?
- The President's Office Audience Choice Prize – Diya Shah (Otonabee College), To Be or Not to Be: CRHR2 in stress response
- The President's Office Prize for Best Visual Aids – Lindsay Young (they/he) (Champlain College), The Deep End of the Dating Pool: Transgender exclusion in dating and sexual activity
- The Social JUST-ice Prize – Mehmood Kohistani (he/him), Refugee Youth Participation: Paving the path to an equitable education
New award focused on social justice
This year's 3MP competition saw the introduction of the Social JUST-ice Prize, sponsored by the Journal of Undergraduate Studies at Trent (JUST), and presented to a participant presenting on research related to a social justice issue or in support of social justice work.
The inaugural prize was awarded to Mehmood Kohistani, a Child and Youth Studies student at Trent Durham, whose presentation focused on the need for equitable education amongst refugee youth and left an impression on everyone in attendance.
“I am thankful to be a recipient of the JUST-ice award and elated that the importance of my research is being recognized,” said Mehmood. “For the reward, I am going to match it and donate it towards Palestinian refugees' education. I would also like to thank the CHYS faculty at Trent Durham for their continued support. To practice education is to practice freedom; I hope 3MP continues encouraging research through such a fantastic event.”
As an additional award to presenters, the upcoming issue of JUST will feature the 3MP scripts of the winners of the overall prize, first runner up, and second runner-up.
Learn more about the Three Minute Paper and this year’s winners.