There’s an art to summing up extensive research and boiling down to a three-minute-long presentation. Three Master of Science graduate students demonstrated their skill in doing this as they took top spots in this year’s Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition on Thursday, April 20.
The Three Minute Thesis was established in 2008 by the University of Queensland and is now held at over 200 universities across 18 countries; TRU has hosted the event since 2014. 3MT gives grad students the opportunity to practice their public speaking skills, develop a foundation for presenting their research and prepare them for real-world experiences.
Master of Science in Data Science student Nikita Kohli won the competition and is moving on to the Western Regional 3MT competition at the University of Saskatchewan on Thursday, May 25.
“I wanted to push my limits and challenge myself to communicate complex research concepts in a way that is easily understandable by a non-academic audience,” Kohli said.
“After spending countless hours poring over my thesis and academic papers, I was excited to step out of my comfort zone and take part in the 3MT competition. It was a unique opportunity for me to develop new skills in presentation and communication while showcasing my research to a diverse audience.”
A platform to share research
While Kohli plans to take her career in an industrial direction and pursue her PhD, Leona Shepherd will continue to focus on wildfire science research. Shepherd is working under the supervision of Dr. Mike Flannigan, the BC Innovation Research Chair in Predictive Services, Emergency Management and Fire Science, Faculty of Science.
“Working with Dr. Mike Flannigan has been an amazing experience. He is extremely knowledgeable and one of the top experts in his field, and he still finds the time to be very attentive to his students. He pushes me to work on my weaknesses while guiding me in the right direction to produce the best research that I can. The fire lab community here at TRU is full of awesome, helpful, and friendly people, and I’m grateful to be a part of it,” said Shepherd. She plans to apply with BC Wildfire Service once she has completed her MSc in Environmental Science.
Aida Sajid felt the 3MT was a perfect opportunity to showcase her skills. “My thesis topic is still considered to be a new and developing area of research, despite the urgency for transformation in business as usual. 3MT provided me with a great platform to discuss the significance and notable findings of my research, which shows the different ways corporations can reduce their environmental impact and contribute to stabilizing climate change,” said Sajid. She is excited to move to Melbourne, Australia to join Ernst and Young as a consultant in their Climate Change and Sustainability team after she completes her MSc in Environmental Science.
Here are the top three winners:
First place and people’s choice: Nikita Kohli, Master of Science, Data Science — Detection of SNPs using penalized models and Bayesian-deep learning
Genome-Wide Association Studies try to figure out how differences in our genes, like single nucleotide polymorphisms are connected to how we look and how we work. This can help us learn how genes affect our bodies and how we might be able to use this knowledge to make new medical treatments and detect illnesses (like cancer and heart disease) earlier, so people can get better, faster.
Second place: Aida Sajid, Master of Science, Environmental Science — Transformative drivers of environmental sustainability in contemporary organizations (2017-2020)
Only 100 companies are responsible for 71 per cent of global pollution. Our growing population is causing a lot of harm to the environment, so businesses need to change the way they work to protect the planet. This research looks at whether international climate agreements like the Kyoto Protocol and Paris Agreement have made a difference by analyzing data from over 100 large companies in the US and Europe.
Third place: Leona Shepherd, Master of Science, Environmental Science — Projecting future wildfire spread potential in British Columbia
As the climate gets warmer, wildfires will occur more often and become more dangerous. The study investigates the magnitude of change in wildfire weather over the next century in Wells Gray Provincial Park, BC, by comparing the frequency of potential spread days in the past (1950-2020) to those expected in the future (2030-2100). This research will provide information to local governments and fire management agencies on how they must adapt to prepare for increased fire activity in the future.