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Queen's student the People's Choice at national 3MT

Cara (Chenman) Yin has given Queen’s University its first award at the national level of the Three Minute Thesis (3MT).

[Cara (Chenman) Yin]
Queen's University's Cara (Chenman) Yin has won the People's Choice Award at the national competition of the Three Minute Thesis (3MT).

Ms. Yin, a master’s student in physics, captured the People's Choice Award for her presentation “Seeing the world at the tip of a laser beam,” which encapsulates her ongoing research into using lasers to cut bone and improve outcomes in brain surgery. Voting for the award was conducted online.

Making the win all the more impressive is that Ms. Yin is an international student, who, when she first arrived in Kingston for her undergraduate studies, spoke very little English.

In the 3MT, competitors have just three minutes and one static slide to convey their research to the judges and audience.

Having advanced through the preliminary and final rounds at Queen’s, as well as the provincials, before reaching the national competition, Ms. Yin says she entered the 3MT as a fun challenge for herself. Although she says she was nervous to begin with, she gained strength and refined her presentation with each round.

“By the time of the Queen's finals, I was more confident about what I had to say in that three minutes. And I am very lucky to have family, friends and the Queen's physics department to cheer me on which really calmed me,” she says. “For the Ontario final, I really wanted to do well because I am not just representing myself but also Queen's. Queen's School of Graduate Studies helped me prep for the provincial competition which was extremely valuable.”

Judging for the national competition was based on videos of the presentations at the provincial competition.

Her accomplishment is also being lauded by the university.

“We are delighted that Cara has been recognized with the People’s Choice Award in the Canadian Three Minute Thesis competition. She represented Queen’s University brilliantly with her clear, informative and engaging presentation that landed her the majority of the more than 2,000 votes submitted from across the country,” says Brenda Brouwer, Vice-Provost and Dean, School of Graduate Studies. “ In three minutes Cara has educated many people about how lasers may be used as a neurosurgical tool with the potential to improve outcomes and she has provided a glimpse into the incredible research that our graduate students are doing.”  

Ms. Yin is grateful for the support she received from the Queen’s community and beyond.

“Winning the national People's Choice Award was a nice surprise. I should thank those who used social media like Facebook and Twitter to spread the word,” she says. “I am very grateful for the whole 3MT experience and highly encourage other graduate students to participate in future years.” 

First place went to Elizabeth Watt, a physics and astronomy student from University of Calgary, while second went to Rebecca (Delong) Dielschneider who is studying immunology at the University of Manitoba.

The announcement of the results and videos of all 11 presentations can be viewed at the Canadian Association of Graduate Studies website.