2014 Participants

Participants of the 2014 Ontario Competition

Queen's University sent Mike Best to the 2014 3MT competition.

"Mike Best" Name: Mike Best"Queen's University logo"
 Program: Clinical Psychology
 Level: PhD
 Title of Presentation: Neurophysiological Biases Towards People With Schizophrenia

 Mike Best is a first-year PhD student studying Clinical Psychology at Queen's University under the supervision of Dr. Christopher Bowie. His research focuses on understanding the severe and persistent nature of the social exclusion experienced by people with severe mental illnesses such as schizophrenia and how this exclusion can impede symptomatic and functional recovery.

 Mike has developed and implemented a university-wide mental illness stigma reduction program at   Queen's University and some of his current research has focused on developing novel interventions to reduce the exclusion of people with schizophrenia. Through his work on social exclusion, Mike hopes to improve the opportunities available to people with severe mental illness within the community.

The list of participants from other participating schools is below.

"Leslie Nash" Name: Leslie Nash"Brock University logo"
 Program: Applied Health Sciences
 Level: Master's
 Title of Presentation: Simplici·tea: Investigating tea as a dietary   strategy for better bone health

 Leslie Nash has an undergraduate (honours) in Biotechnology and is currently an NSERC (CGS-M) funded M.Sc. student in   Health Sciences at Brock University.

Leslie is also the Vice President of Communications for the Graduate Student Association at Brock University. 

"Martha Attridge Bufton""Carleton University logo" Name: Martha Attridge Bufton 
 Program: History
 Level: Master's
 Title of Presentation: Radical Roses

 Martha Attridge Bufton, BBA (Hons), MA, is a full-time subject specialist in Reference Services at the Carleton University Library. She has recently completed her Master of Arts in history at Carleton and her research interests include oral history as well as gender and labour history. Her Master's   thesis studied the unionization of professors, librarians and support staff at Carleton University in   the mid-1970's and she has written a book chapter based on this research, entitled "A 'Honey' of a   Union Deal: Gender and Status in the Labour Action of Carleton University Librarians, 1948 - 1975." This chapter will be published in 2014 in the edited volume In Solidarity: Academic Librarian labour Activism and Union Participation in Canada. Martha is also the editor-in-chief of InsideOCULA, the official publication of the Ontario College and University Library Association.

"Andrea Hitchton" Name: Andrea Hitchon "University of Guelph logo"
 Program: Interdisciplinary Masters in Art, Media and Design
 Level: Master's
 Title of PresentationTransgenic crops-the future of Insect management?

 Andrea Hitchon is from Markham, Ontario. She received her B.Sc in   Environmental Biology from the University of Guelph (2012). During her undergraduate degree, she became intrigued by agriculture and completed an   8-month farm internship at the New Farm in Creemore, Ontario. Intrigue turned to passion and Andrea is now completing her M.Sc. in Plant Agriculture at the University of Guelph's Ridgetown Campus.

She has developed expertise in her field through a co-op term with the Canadian Corn Pest Coalition and through her participation in a number of international working group meetings. The focus of her research is detecting resistance to transgenic Bt corn by a major pest, the Western Corn Rootworm.

Alongside advisor Dr. Art Schaafsma and Research Associate Jocelyn Smith, Hitchon has engaged with academics, industry, government, and growers in both Canada and the U.S, in an effort to prolong the usefulness of Bt corn for insect management.

"Peipei Wang" Name: Peipei Wang "Lakehead University logo"
 Program: Biotechnology
 Level: PhD
 Title of Presentation: H2S: Can't breathe with it, can't breathe without it

 Dr. Peipei Wang is a PhD student in the biotechnology program at Lakehead University. She received her MD and practiced as a physician in China before she came to Canada. Dr. Wang's major clinical focuses were chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, asthma and other respiratory allergic diseases.

Dr. Wang's current research is looking into new innovative methods of treatment of asthma. She and her colleagues have found that cystathionine γ-lyase/hydrogen sulphide plays a critical role in the induction of airway hyperresponsiveness and airway inflammation to allergens. Her most recent research project aims to improve our understanding and current treatment of childhood-onset asthma.

In her spare time, Dr. Wang enjoys reading, cycling and hiking. She is an active member of the local cycling club

"Autumn Watkinson""Laurentian University logo" Name: Autumn Watkinson 
 Program: Biology
 Level: Master's
 Title of Presentation: Building Soils for Mine Reclamation

 Autumn Watkinson is currently pursuing her M.Sc. in Biology at Laurentian University. Her thesis work is investigating the use of locally sourced, industry by-products in manufacturing soils that can be used in boreal ecosystem rehabilitation of mined land.

Autumn received her Honours B.Sc. with specialization in Biology from the University of Ottawa in 2012 and plans to defend her M.Sc. in August 2014. When not working her thesis, Autumn can most likely be found outdoors – camping, canoeing, or hiking. She also enjoys creating short films and stories based on her and colleagues' thesis work and the oddities of graduate student life.

"Michelle Reid" Name: Michelle Reid "McMaster University logo"
 Program: Earth & Environmental Sciences
 Level: Master's
 Title of Presentation: Wetland Reclamation of Composite Tailings: Exploring Sulfur Cycling in the Oil Sands

 Michelle is currently completing a Master's degree in Earth and   Environmental Sciences. While pursuing an undergraduate degree in the Arts and Science program at   McMaster, Michelle had the opportunity to participate in two Undergraduate Student Research Award terms with Dr. Lesley Warren.

After taking part in a number of field campaigns, including research in Algonquin Park and Lake Ontario, she developed a passion for fieldwork and wanted to continue in geochemistry at the graduate level.

Michelle has found the exploration of sulfur dynamics in oil sands dry reclamation landscapes a fascinating experience, as she's had the opportunity to study a truly unique and complex system. The experience has been eye-opening for Michelle in terms of illustrating the waste-management challenges faced by mining industries in Canada, and how critical it is to understand the geochemistry of these changing environments.

"Linda Coffey" Name: Linda Coffey "Nipissing University logo"
 Program: History
 Level: Master's
 Title of Presentation: Radio, Resistance, and Re-presenting History

 Linda was born and raised in Toronto and spent many years living in Hamilton. After decades in   the working world she decided to follow her dream of pursuing a university education.

During her undergraduate years, thanks to inspiring professors, she fell in love with academia. Linda is a graduate from the Bachelor of Arts and Culture program and currently a student in the Masters of History program at Nipissing University.

Linda's research examines CBC radio's first national indigenous current affairs program, "Our Native Land." The program was hosted and produced by an all-Aboriginal team and existed alongside emerging indigenous political movements of the l960's and l970's. "Our Native Land" featured indigenous news, entertainment, culture, politics, and history. Her project will examine and analyze excerpts and episodes of "Our Native Land" from l965 – l975 and will demonstrate how the program subverted persistent racial stereotypes, resisted oppressive government policies, and represented the history of indigenous people's previously presented from the perspective of a dominant white settler narrative.

"Marjan Verstappen" Name: Marjan Verstappen "OCAD logo"
 Program: Interdisciplinary Art, Media and Design
 Level: Master's
 Title of Presentation: Imagining UV; The Idea of the Invisible

 A sculptor, draughtswoman and installation artist, Marjan Verstappen loves to look at things for a very long time. As a child she drew obsessively as a way of holding the world still, and caressing it with her eyes and her hands.

This impetus continues to inspire her practice, where she renders the banal with care and consideration, using her skills to make it precious and interesting. Marjan loves weeds, insects and ugly little creatures.

Her passion for observation has brought her from rural southern New Zealand to downtown Toronto where she is an MFA candidate at OCAD University.

"Emily Bremner" Name: Emily Bremer"UOIT logo"
 Program: Health Sciences (Kinesiology)
 Level: Master's
 Title of Presentation: Investigating the Effectiveness of a   Fundamental Motor Skill Intervention for 4-Year-Old Children with   Autism Spectrum Disorder 

 Emily completed her Bachelor of Health Science and recently defended her Master of Health Sciences at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology. Her research focuses on the relationship between fundamental motor skill development, physical activity, social behaviour, and health in children with and without disabilities.

Outside of school, Emily enjoys being physically active, as well as coaching hockey and soccer to children with developmental disabilities. Emily is excited to continue to pursue her research interests throughout her Doctoral studies, which will begin this fall at McMaster University.

"Sheida Rabipour""University of Ottawa logo" Name: Sheida Rabipour
 Program: Developmental Psychology
 Level: PhD
 Title of Presentation: Can We Deliberately Shape Brain Function?

 Sheida completed both her B.Sc. and M.Sc. in Neuroscience at   McGill University and is currently working on her PhD in Experimental Psychology at the University of   Ottawa.

Her research interests centre on the theme of cognitive training. She published a critical review paper on this topic in the scientific journal Brain & Cognition and it's the most downloaded article of 2012. Sheida's doctoral research continues this line of work, evaluating ways to optimize brain function with a focus on older adults.

Sheida is also passionate about scientific communication and often seeks opportunities to contribute through articles and presentations targeted at a broad audience. When she's not busy crunching data, Sheida enjoys running and hiking outdoors – especially in exotic countries.

"Muhammed Ali Naqvi""Ryerson University logo" Name: Muhammad Ali Naqvi 
 Program: Molecular Science
 Level: PhD
 Title of   Presentation: Milk. It does a body good! ... but how?

 Ali Naqvi is a PhD student in the Molecular Science program at   Ryerson University studying the structure and function of casein peptides in milk.

He has co-authored two journal articles regarding drug delivery, lectured in Chemistry classes and has received the prestigious NSERC doctoral scholarship for his research. Ali is passionate about both graduate and undergraduate students working together to create a cohesive student community at Ryerson. To that end he is serving as the Graduate Chairperson, representing 2,300 graduate students at the Ryerson Students' Union until April 2015.

"Daiva Nielsen" Name: Daiva Nielsen"UofT logo"
 Program: Nutritional Sciences
 Level: PhD
 Title of   Presentation: Do dietary recommendations based on genetics change eating behaviour?

Daiva Nielsen is completing her PhD in the Department of Nutritional Sciences under the guidance of   Dr. Ahmed El-Sohemy

Her research area is Nutrigenomics and Personalized Nutrition, which aims to enhance the effects of nutrition on human health by tailoring dietary recommendations to a person's DNA. Although researchers have discovered gene variants that affect how people process nutrients, no one has studied whether or not people follow DNA-based dietary advice more closely than general "one-size-fits-all" dietary advice. Filling in this research gap has been the goal of her PhD and she is very passionate about the work that she does. With diet-related chronic diseases like heart disease and Type 2 diabetes on the rise, it is important for health researchers to develop novel strategies that will motivate people to adopt healthier nutritional habits.

Outside of the lab, Daiva enjoys cooking, playing the piano, and volunteering for different groups such as the Nutritional Sciences Graduate Students' Association and Let's Talk Science.

"Reesha Patel" Name: Reesha Patel "Trent University logo"
 Program: Applied Modelling and Quantitative Methods
 Level: Master's
 Title of Presentation: Predicting Future Foods From Climate Change Data

 Reesha is a Masters of Science student in Applied Modelling and Quantitative Methods at Trent   University whose research focuses on adaptation planning for events driven by climate change. 


Her work seeks to predict future flood extents for the years 2030 and 2050 in Tabasco, Mexico through the coupling of computer simulation models and climate change data. She has developed an online tool (www.climate-adapt.com) to display her spatially explicit results. Her research is rooted in her undergraduate study of physical geography and environmental science during which she became increasingly interested in climate change, specifically how we plan to cope with its effects. After completing her undergraduate degree, Reesha attended Sir Sanford Fleming College, where she earned certification as a Geographical Information Systems Application Specialist. 

In the future Reesha would like to spend her time working internationally on climate change adaptation projects.

"Matthew Vonk" Name: Matthew Vonk"University of Waterloo logo"
 Program: Kinesiology -  Neuroscience
 Level: Master's
 Title of Presentation: The Effects of a Single Session of Weight Training on Mental Health

 A varsity football player for the University of Waterloo, who was recently drafted by the Saskatchewan   Roughriders of the CFL, returned to UW to start graduate work that focuses on the functioning of the brain in relation to human movement.

Much is known about weight training's physical benefits, but what about the mental benefits? Matt is interested in seeing how weight training can affect mental health and cognitive function. This research aims to see if exercise, in general, can be used to delay cognitive decline in older adults.

"Joseph Donohue""Western University logo" Name: Joseph Donohue
 Program: Chemical & Biochemical Engineering
 Level: Master's
 Title of Presentation: Scale-up of a Circulating Fluidized-bed Bioreactor

Joseph Donohue is a Master of Engineering Science candidate at Western University in London,   Ontario. Before attending Western, he received a Bachelor of Engineering in chemical engineering from Laurentian University. His current area of research is in biochemical engineering with a specialization in wastewater treatment. He is an active member on a research team working to scale-up a bioreactor technology to treat municipal wastewater.

"Cory Scurr" Name: Cory Scurr"Wilfrid Laurier Univeristy logo"
 Program: History
 Level: PhD
 Title of Presentation: Cold War Warrior? Diefenbaker and Canadian-Soviet Relations

 Cory is a second-year doctoral candidate in history at Wilfrid Laurier University, and his supervisor is Dr. Kevin Spooner. 

Broadly speaking, Cory's research interests are Canadian Cold War history and Soviet history. His dissertation research focuses on how the personal and ideological convictions of Prime Minister Diefenbaker shaped Canadian-Soviet relations from 1957-1963.

Cory hopes his research will help bridge the gap between political, international, and social history by utilizing a global political Cold War context and examining how public opinion and culture impacted Diefenbaker's Soviet policy. Additionally, he plans to examine the much-neglected Soviet side of the story by analyzing Soviet government documents and communist publications.

"Yasina Somani" Name: Yasina Somani "University of Windsor logo"
 Program: Kinesiology
 Level: Master's
 Title of Presentation: Getting a grip on high blood pressure with a   novel treatment

 Yasina Somani is completing her Masters of Human Kinetics at the University of Windsor under the supervision of Dr. Cheri McGowan.


She completed her Bachelor of Science at the University of Guelph majoring in Human Kinetics. Her work in the Physical Activity and Cardiovascular Research (PACR) Laboratory involves looking at innovative exercise interventions for both prevention and rehabilitation of chronic disease. The focus of her thesis is on primary prevention of hypertension in young normotensive individuals with the use of isometric handgrip training.
She is also assessing cardiovascular reactivity to a series of stress tasks to determine who will respond best to this novel form of training.

She hopes to use her research and knowledge of chronic disease to influence primary health promotion.

"Bart Danko" Name: Bart Danko "York University"
 Program: Environmental Studies/Juris Doctor, Joint Program
 Title of Presentation: Terra Communis: A Film About   Greening from the Rooftops

Bart Danko is currently completing the MES/JD (Master of Environmental Studies/Juris Doctor) at York   University's Faculty of Environmental Studies and Osgoode Hall Law School.

It is his passion to combine his interests in the environment and law in creative ways, which is how he embarked on his journey in green roofs.

Bart has also been involved in social justice issues while working for the Canadian Forum on Civil Justice, as well as sitting on the Board of Directors at the Canadian Institute for the Administration of Justice. Bart spends his free time volunteering as an Auxiliary Constable with Peel Regional Police and speaking at high schools in Peel Region about environmental careers.