Mindfulness research claims top 3MT prize

You could hear a pin drop when Kaitlyn Kerridge described how, as an undergraduate student, she lay on the floor, debilitated by waves of anxiety and depression.

She eventually did get help. But the experience left an indelible mark on her, motivating the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences master’s student to do in-depth research on a mental health strategy that worked for her: mindfulness.

Brock 3MT finalists

Brock Three Minute Thesis finalists Aly Bailey, Faculty of Applied Health Sciences; Ali Anwar, Goodman School of Business; Cody McMahon, Goodman School of Business; Kaitlyn Kerridge, Faculty of Applied Health Sciences; and Shannon Kitchings, Faculty of Social Sciences, competed on Thursday, March 29.

Kerridge was one of five finalists in Brock’s Three Minute Thesis (3MT) final round, held Thursday, March 29. Her presentation on how mindfulness – living in the present moment, being aware and accepting of one’s thoughts and feelings – can help post-secondary students deal with mental health issues won her the top spot.

She will be representing Brock University in the upcoming Three Minute Thesis (3MT) regional competition next month.

“I really want students who are struggling to know that they’re not alone and that there are supports available for them,” says Kerridge on sharing her research.

Shannon Kitchings, a master’s student in the Faculty of Social Sciences, placed second with her research that examines how spoken accounts of trauma affect both the speaker and the listener.

Now in its sixth year at Brock, the 3MT Challenge originated in Queensland, Australia in 2008 as a way for students to explain their research to a broad audience in plain, accessible terms. Presenters have three minutes and a single slide image to summarize their research.

A three-judge panel of judges selected five finalists from 12 presentations delivered at Brock’s Feb. 15 preliminary round.

A different, three-judge panel evaluated the final round. Presentation topics included transforming how we think about our body shape, balancing personalized marketing campaigns with consumer privacy concerns, and rehabilitating Second World War veterans through university education.

“All the rankings came really close,” says judge Mishka Balsom, President and CEO of the Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce.

“We really got a sense of the personality behind the research,” she says. “Each one of them was able to make the research uniquely their own; that was really nice to see.”

This year’s 3MT co-ordinator, Stacia Heaton, says she was inspired by how much the students developed their communication and presentation skills within the last few months.

“The 3MT challenge is a wonderful opportunity for Brock to get our research out there in a way that’s creative and engaging,” she says.

Heaton says this and other communications challenges help prepare students for future opportunities.

“Being able to share your research in plain language is an essential skill, whether pursuing a career within or outside of academia,” she says.

Kerridge takes home $500 and will advance to the 3MT Ontario regional round, to be held at York University April 19. Kitchings received a $250 prize.

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