Finalists chosen for Three Minute Thesis Challenge

It was a race against time 10 graduate students were eager to win.

Each with three minutes on the clock, they attempted to explain their research in a captivating way to impressed the judges and those in attendance during the preliminary round of Brock’s Three Minute Thesis (3MT) Challenge.

The Feb. 16 event resulted in the selection of five finalists now set to compete Thursday, March 30 in Pond Inlet.

Advancing to the finals, in no particular order, are Caitlyn Gallant, Katie Faust, Laura Kovac, Andréanne Hébert-Haché and Camille Xinmei Rousseau.

The research presented throughout the preliminary round touched on a number of topics, from improving cold tolerance of grapevines to the degeneration of female sports.

Narrowing down the finalists was a difficult decision for judges Ryan McCarthy, Director of Research Services, Grant Armstrong, Associate Vice-President of Human Resources and Carly MaGee, Research Ethics Officer, who was also Brock’s 2016 3MT competition winner and a national 3MT People’s Choice award recipient.

Sitting in the judge’s seat offered MaGee a chance to reflect her time as a competitor and to “appreciate the immense number of skills and connections” the experience brought her.

“I continue to be amazed at the calibre of work going on here at Brock. I find each new project and each student’s unique passion truly fascinating.” she said.

“Judging the competition gave me a sense of pride in our students and their bravery in taking on this challenge — not only to share their research story but also develop and gain confidence as a presenter and advocate for their work. I’m really looking forward to seeing the finals in March.”

The top five presenters demonstrated all of the key components of the judging criteria, including communication, comprehension and engagement.

Karin Perry, Vitae Program Co-ordinator and 3MT organizer, said she is always impressed with the passion presenters bring to the table, especially given the intense nature of the competition.

“Each presenter has distilled very specialized and complex concepts into concise phrases and perhaps a meaningful gesture,” Perry said.

“They have rehearsed and tested a selection of words or gestures with friends. Watching pauses, vocal tone and aware of their own body presence. There is a lot going on there.”

The overall winner of Brock’s contest will receive $500 and the runner-up $250. Brock’s winner also will advance to the provincial 3MT competition hosted by the University of Waterloo on Wednesday, April 12.

The top finishers in Ontario move on to a 2017 national competition that is sponsored by the Canadian Association for Graduate Studies and held later in the spring.

Brock’s Three Minute Thesis Challenge finalists

  • Caitlyn Gallant, a Master of Psychology student in the Faculty of Social Sciences, is studying the impact of concussions and how they affect reactivity to unpredictable social situations. She was also the winner of the competition’s inaugural People’s Choice Award.
  • Katie Faust, a Health and Physical Education master’s student in the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences, is researching through personal experience the impact the loss of a teammate can have.
  • Laura Kovac, a Social Justice and Equity Studies master’s student in the Faculty of Social Sciences, is looking at the degeneration of female sports.
  • Andréanne Hébert-Haché, a Master of Science in Biological Sciences student in the Faculty of Math and Science, is researching ways to improve cold tolerance of grapevines by clone and rootstock selection.
  • Camille Xinmei Rousseau, a Child and Youth Studies master’s student in the Faculty of Social Sciences, is studying implications for children’s reading motivation and achievement through participation in dog-assisted reading programs.

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