3 Minute Thesis

Graduate Studies

3 Minute Thesis


3 Minute Thesis

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Participants of the 2016 Ontario Competition

Queen's University sent Anastasia Shavrova to the 2016 3MT competition.

Anastasia Shavrova

Name: Anastasia Shavrova
Program: Biology
Level: Masters
Title of Presentation: “Strategies on Winning the Game of Life”

Anastasia Shavrova did her undergraduate degree at Queen's University, where she found her interest in Biology. Her undergraduate work was centred around the influences of habitat on development and metamorphosis of Ontario tadpole species. After graduation she lived in France for a year embracing the language and culture, while also doing conservation work for the Fontainebleau Forest. Upon returning to Canada, she went back to Queen's University for her master's studies with Dr. Adam Chippindale. Now she studies sexual conflict and evolution in fruit flies, specifically looking at different mating strategies and trade-offs within populations.

The list of participants from other participating schools is below.

Brock University
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Carly Cameron - BrockName: Carly Cameron
Program: Applied Health Sciences
Level: Masters
Title of Presentation: Mirror, Mirror on the Wall...

Carly Cameron is researching ways to make the gym setting a more comfortable and less critical place for women. Modern day culture is engrossed by the “beauty ideal.” The prevalence of body image concerns and their associated negative health outcomes is steadily rising. Her master’s thesis investigated whether teaching inactive and low active women to use mirrors for form and technique purposes could lessen the negative impact of mirrors on self-presentational concerns, affect, and self-efficacy. Cameron hopes her research will contribute to shifting our society’s focus from physical appearance to body acceptance and appreciation. Her goal is to help women reap the benefits of exercise, and improve their self-image. Prior to her master’s studies, Cameron graduated from Brock in 2013 with an Honours BSc in Applied Health Sciences. She is the recipient of several awards and scholarships, including a 2014 Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Canada Graduate Scholarship, Master’s.

Carleton University
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Cassandra ErichsenName: Cassandra Erichsen
Program: School of Social Work
Level: Master's
Title of Presentation: “Shame in Social Work Students: A Qualitative Interview Study”

Cassandra Erichsen grew up in Manitoba and completed her Bachelor of Arts in psychology at the University of Winnipeg. Cassandra knew that she wanted to work as a counselor but she was drawn to social work because the profession recognizes the unjust conditions of our society and puts ethics and human rights at the forefront. In her SSHRC-funded thesis research, she is exploring shame in social work students – how they experience and cope with it, as well as the ways in which it might impact their professional practice. After completing her MSW, Cassandra hopes to work in direct counseling practice while also continuing her love of research and learning.

University of Guelph
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Peter ParkName: Peter Park
Program: Animal Bioscience & Toxicology
Level: Masters
Title of Presentation: 'Pig-Tacs': Delivering Fresh, Healthy, and Ethical Pork through Diet"

Peter Park was born in Seoul, South Korea but was raised in the Greater Toronto Area upon immigrating to Canada in 1999. Initially aspiring to be a companion animal veterinarian, he discovered production animal agriculture upon spending his last two years of undergraduate studies researching beef and dairy cattle physiology at the University of Guelph. He became very much interested in pig/swine research due to its vast areas of focus which often cross over to human applications. Despite not being from a farm background and having little knowledge of agriculture prior to his career path switch, he aspires to remain involved in the swine production industry and strives to educate the public on the real facts on agriculture. Outside of his studies, Park spends time writing, producing, recording, and performing hip-hop music and enjoys playing the guitar.

Lakehead University

Krystal RancourtName: Krystal Rancourt
Program: Natural Resource Management
Level: Masters
Title of Presentation:“Are Andean Foxes using a New Fad Diet?”

Krystal Rancourt is currently attending Lakehead University and pursuing her Master of Science in Forestry. Originally from Sudbury, she acquired her honours bachelor degree in Biology at Laurentian University. From a young age, she was always fascinated with anything about mammals. At Laurentian, she was able to get taste for studying mammals by looking at diet habits of the wolverine (Gulo gulo). Today, she is studying how Andean foxes (Pseudalopex culpaeus) are reacting to human disturbances in Ecuador.

Laurentian University

Emily TetzlaffName: Emily Tetzlaff
Program: Human Kinetics
Level: Masters
Title of Presentation: “International Review of Occupational Health and Safety Commissioned Reports in Mining: 1966-2015”

Emily Tetzlaff is a student in the Master of Human Kinetics program, and a Research Assistant with the Centre for Research in Occupational Safety and Health (CROSH), at Laurentian University. She is also a student member of the Association of Canadian Ergonomists (ACE), and a student member of the Canadian Society of Safety Engineering (CSSE). Emily holds an Honours Health Promotion degree from Laurentian University.

McMaster University
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Ana KovacevicName: Ana Kovacevic
Program: Kinesiology
Level: Masters.
Title of Presentation: “Stepping into a Healthy Mind”

Ana Kovacevic received her honours Bachelor of Science degree in Biology with a minor in Psychology from McMaster University. She is now completing a master’s degree in Kinesiology with Dr. Jennifer Heisz, investigating the dose-response relationship between exercise intensity and brain health in older adults. Kovacevic is passionate about communicating scientific research to promote health and has been actively involved in knowledge translation initiatives such as McMaster’s Demystifying Medicine Seminar Series. She is excited to continue conducting and sharing her research to help improve the quality of life for older adults.

Nipissing University
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Autumn VarleyName:Autumn Varley
Program: History
Level: Master's
Title of Presentation: “Nokomis’s Story: Identity, Family, and the Child Welfare System”

Autumn Varley is a current graduate student at in the Master of Arts History program at Nipissing University. She is the recipient of the SSHRC Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship and, most recently, the Nipissing University Dave Marshall Leadership Award. Varley engages in oral history research and Indigenous methodologies, both of which have been central to her current scholarship. Her graduate research highlights her maternal grandmother's experiences as an Indigenous woman in the Child Welfare system and the ways in which these experiences contributed to their family's identity and understanding of themselves as Indigenous people. This research will contribute to a growing body of work that discusses Indigenous women, family relationships, identity shaping, and reconciliation, and promises to reshape our understanding of the relationships between Indigenous people and major cultural and political institutions. While she calls Southern Georgian Bay home, her family hails from Kitigan Zibi Anishinaabeg.

OCAD University
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Mary BaumstarkName: Mary Baumstark
Program: Contemporary Art, Design and New Media Art Histories
Level: Master's
Title of Presentation: “Craftivist Clay: Activism and Resistance in Contemporary Ceramics”

Mary Callahan Baumstark is a writer, maker, organizer, and teacher currently pursuing her MA in Contemporary Art, Design, and New Media Art Histories at OCAD University in Toronto. She receiver her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Ceramics from the University of Montana. Her current research (Craftivist Clay: Activism and Resistance in Contemporary Ceramics) focuses on the emergence of ceramic craftivism in the U.S., Canada, U.K., and Australia (1989-2016) and the influences of feminism, DIY, and performance on the studio ceramic community. She is interested in interdisciplinary writing and learning, trendspotting in contemporary ceramics, and organizing socially engaged or activist projects. You can find her writing at bonedrybodies.com and follow her @maryminimally.

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Megalai ThavakugathasalingamName: Megalai Thavakugathasalingam
Program: Health Sciences
Level: Masters
Title of Presentation: "Reconstructing Childhood Cancer: A Young Adult’s Experience"

Megalai Thavakugathasalingam is completing her MHSc in the Community Health stream under the guidance of Dr. Otto Sanchez. Her research explores the experience of young adult survivors of childhood cancer using an arts-informed narrative inquiry defined by Connelly and Clandinin. Thavakugathasalingam has a passion for children’s health and cancer since her adolescent years and aims to use her master's as a first step into exploring the qualitative niche in the pediatric oncology world of health. Currently, she is one of the second year graduate representatives on the Student Affairs and Research Culture Committee, striving to foster a stronger and expansive research culture. On the days she isn’t stressing about her project, she loves to open up to a nice book. Thavakugathasalingam is excited for the opportunity to share her work at the 3MT provincial competition!

University of Ottawa
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Justin Michael WhitakerName: Justin Michael Whitaker
Program: Earth Sciences
Level: Masters
Title of Presentation: "Bacto-Glue for You (and Better Building Bases Too)"

Justin Whitaker is in his final year of an MSc Earth Sciences degree at the University of Ottawa. His research involves bacteria and how they can be used to harden sandy soils to make the bases around buildings more resilient to natural disasters. He has researched the topic since 2009 alongside Dr. Sai Vanapalli and Dr. Danielle Fortin (2012) of the University of Ottawa. Whitaker has achieved several distinctions on the topic, including a National Science Fair title in 2010. He has diversified alongside several other research ventures, hallmarking a 2012 summer internship in Germany investigating anti-cancer therapeutics. In his spare time Whitaker can be found reading, learning French or partaking in any one of the slew of volunteer positions where his efforts are dedicated. He also enjoys a good round of golf. Research his focus, people and wellness his passion, Whitaker hopes to pursue a career as a physician-scientist.

Royal Military College of Canada
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Carolina P. DahmerName: Carolina P. Dahmer
Program: Chemistry & Chemical Engineering
Level: Masters
Title of Presentation:“Speeding up Pesticide Cleanup”

Carolina Dahmer moved to Canada right after she graduated from university in Brazil. She was planning on staying here for just a few months to learn English, but she end up enrolling in a three-year program in Biotechnology at St. Lawrence College (SLC). After graduating from SLC in 2012, she started working at Queen's University as a research assistant in the department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine. Two years later she decided it was time to pursue her dream of working with environmentally relevant research. She joined the Phytotechnologies Lab at RMC in 2014, where she started her master's degree under the supervision of Dr. Barbara Zeeb. She loves working with plants and doing field work during the summer. In her free time, she likes to enjoy Canadian nature and go for long walks with her 10 pounds of fur (her Pomeranian puppy).

Ryerson University
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Michael MooreName: Michael Moore
Program: Physics
Level: Doctoral
Title of Presentation:“Listening to the ‘Seeds’ of Cancer”

In 2013, Michael Moore graduated from the University of Waterloo with a Bachelor of Mathematics in Mathematical Physics. In the same year he began an MSc degree in the Biomedical Physics program at Ryerson University, and has since reclassified into the doctoral program. As a PhD candidate, Michael's research is focused on the characterization of biological cells using ultra-high frequency photoacoustic (PA) and ultrasonic (US) microscopy techniques. Specifically, Michael is interested in developing a combined PA and US technique that can be used for the early detection of cancerous cells in a human blood sample.

University of Toronto
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Cristina D'AmicoName: Cristina D’Amico
Program: English
Level: Doctoral
Title of Presentation: “The death and life of ownership in nineteenth-century American literature [1840-1920]”

Cristina D’Amico is fifth-year PhD candidate in the department of English at the University of Toronto. Her dissertation, “The Death and Life of Ownership in Nineteenth-Century American Literature (1840-1920),” argues that liberalism’s equation of possession and political identity was critiqued, scrutinized, and supplanted in the fiction, philosophy, and political writing of nineteenth-century authors. She is a recipient of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council CGS-Doctoral Fellowship (2011-2014), the Ontario Graduate Scholarships, and the Gordon Russell and Beatrice Bott Dow endowment for the arts. Currently, Cristina teaches in the English department and Innis College’s Writing and Rhetoric Program at the University of Toronto. In June 2016, she will hold a Summer Fellowship at The New School’s Centre for Critical Social Inquiry in New York City.

Trent University
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Jessica ReidName: Jessica Reid
Program: Psychology
Level: Masters
Title of Presentation: “Beyond the Prison Walls: Gender Differences on the Effects of Parental Incarceration”

Jessica Reid is completing an MA in Psychology at Trent University under the supervision of Dr. Elaine Scharfe. Reid is examining the impact of parental incarceration on internalizing symptomatology and externalizing behaviours across sons and daughters and the mitigating role of visiting parents in prison. After being separated from her father for 24 years and witnessing the devastating effects of parental incarceration, Reid founded Fostering, Empowering and Advocating Together (FEAT) for Children of Incarcerated Parents in 2012. Currently, FEAT is the only organization in Canada providing supportive programming for children of prisoners. Since its inception, Reid has developed six programs to support the underserved needs of children and families. As an advocate, Reid speaks at universities, community events, and conferences and organizes an annual campaign, Feet for FEAT, where she walks from Toronto to Ottawa to raise awareness about the need to support children affected by parental incarceration in Canada.

University of Waterloo
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Gah-Jone WonName: Gah-Jone Won
Program: Vision Science and Biology
Level: Doctoral
Title of Presentation: The Development of an Antibody-Drug Conjugate to Specifically Target and Soften the Crystalline Lens in vivo

Gah-Jone Won is a PhD student under the supervision of Dr. Vivian Choh at the University of Waterloo's School of Optometry and Vision Science. His research focuses primarily on the crystalline lens, a structure within the eye that changes shape in order to allow for our eyes to focus on nearby objects. As the eye ages, the crystalline lens becomes stiffer and thus loses its ability to focus on nearby objects, resulting in a condition known as presbyopia. Gah-Jone’s PhD project involves the development of a pharmaceutical treatment for presbyopia, which acts by specifically targeting and softening the crystalline lens in order to restore nearby vision. Upon completion of his PhD, Gah-Jone will undertake a postdoctoral fellowship and hopes to continue his research career with an academic position in the future.

Western University
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Thea KnowlesName: Thea Knowles
Program: Speech Language Pathology 
Level: Doctoral
Title of Presentation: “Optimizing Deep Brain Stimulation for Speech in Parkinson’s”

Thea Knowles is a student in her second year of the combined MClSc/PhD program in speech-language pathology at Western University. Originally hailing from Massachusetts, she completed an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Linguistics at McGill University in 2012. After working as a researcher in labs with a focus on speech production and perception, she decided to return to school to complete a clinical masters in speech-language pathology while simultaneously pursuing a research-based doctoral degree through Western’s unique combined program. Studying under the supervision of Dr. Scott Adams, Knowles’ research is focused on the acoustic analysis of speech produced by individuals with Parkinson’s disease. She is especially interested in the relationship between objective acoustic measures of speech and subjective measures of intelligibility, and how these variables are affected by different therapeutic interventions available to individuals with Parkinson’s.

Wilfrid Laurier University
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Becky EarhartName:Becky Earhart
Program: Psychology
Level: Doctoral
Title of Presentation: “Source Monitoring Training with Young Children”

Becky Earhart is in the fourth year of her PhD in the Developmental Psychology program at Wilfrid Laurier University, supervised by Dr. Kim Roberts. She has been studying children’s memory and children’s eyewitness testimony for the past seven years. Her research interests include children’s source monitoring, memories for repeated events, children's spatial and temporal memory, and the effects of interview techniques on the quality of children’s memory reports. She collaborates with many experts in children’s memory, including researchers in Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia. She has presented her research at numerous academic conferences in Canada, the United States, and Europe, and she recently provided workshops on interviewing techniques at an international conference for practitioners who investigate, treat, or prosecute child maltreatment. Her work has been supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

University of Windsor
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Jeremy JohnstonName: Jeremy Johnston
Program: English Language, Literature & Creative Writing
Level: Master's
Title of Presentation: “Wait, you feel that, too?”

Jeremy Johnston was born in Barrie, Ontario. In 2014, he received an honours BA in English Literature from Laurentian University. He is currently a master’s candidate in the English Literature program at the University of Windsor. With his reading interests revolving around the genre of Young Adult literature, he hopes to build upon his current research by exploring the role of mental health in Young Adult novels. He currently lives in Windsor, Ontario, where he remains hopeful the Leafs will win the Stanley Cup in his lifetime.

York University
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Benjamin VolohName: Benjamin Voloh
Program: Faculty of Science
Level: Doctoral
Title of Presentation: “A Spotlight in the Brain: Brain Waves Underlying the Control of Attention”

Benjamin Voloh received a BScH in Life Sciences and BSc in Mathematics from Queen’s University in 2013, and an MSc in Biology (Neuroscience) from York University in 2015. He is currently continuing his work as a PhD in the Attention Circuits Control lab at York University. Voloh studies the neuro-circuitry behind decisions. Specifically, how our brain extracts information from our environment, combines it with internal models of the world that we’ve learned through past experiences, and then uses this information to guide our behavior. In his research, he uses machine-learning techniques, used by the likes of Google to deliver targeted ads and win Go tournaments, to predict behavior from neural-circuit activity. By understanding how these circuits work, we can better manipulate them. Voloh's ultimate goal is to help treat mental disorders by targeting neural circuitry via pharmacological or electrical intervention.