Three minutes to win it

Three minutes to win it

April 1, 2016


Pursuing a post-graduate degree means years of focus and hard work, so distilling that research into a three-minute presentation isn’t the easiest of tasks.

However, a group of Queen’s students took on the challenge once again as the university’s Three Minute Thesis (3MT) final was held Wednesday night.

Taking the title was Anastasia Shavrova, a master’s student in biology, whose presentation “Strategies on winning the game of life” was deemed the best by the panel of judges, which included Principal Daniel Woolf and Provost Alan Harrison.

Ms. Shavrova’s presentation – a three-minute talk and a single static slide – which took a look at how male fruit flies compete with each other to successfully mate with females, earned her the top prize of $1,000 and the chance to compete at the provincials.

She competed against 12 other finalists who spoke on a wide array of topics from using math to see inside the human body, to the use of twitter to determine the financial success of stocks and optimizing building design through using sensor technologies.

“I was very surprised because my thesis is interesting to me but I never thought it would be interesting to other people,” she says, after taking the audience on a fast-paced, raucous ride through the love life of Drosophila melanogaster. “I thought of this interesting way to tell a story, but especially amongst all these people who are doing these amazing things, like with cancer in humans, (I wondered) would a little fruit fly really win?”

Yu Qing Liu, a master’s student in neuroscience, claimed the runner-up prize and $500 for her presentation “Stimulate my lobe, activate my hope,” while Mohamed Al Guindy, a doctoral student in finance at the Smith School of Business, picked up the People’s Choice Award for his presentation “50 shades of blue.”

Ms. Shavrova will now represent Queen’s at the provincial competition being held on Thursday, April 14 at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo. For more information on the Queen’s 3MT competition, visit the website.

Joining Principal Woolf and Provost Harrison, on the judges panel were Carey Bidtnes of the Kingston Economic Development Corporation and Toby Abramsky, Vice-President of Keystone Properties. Kingston Town Crier, Chris Whyman, once again emceed for the event.

3MT, which got its start in Australia, is a university-wide competition for Queen’s masters and doctoral students in which participants have just three minutes and one static slide to convey their research to the judges and audience.

The competition aims to help researchers develop skills that carry into post-graduate employment and public service. Participants are judged on how clearly and concisely they are able to explain their research, how engaging their presentation is for the audience, and on their general narrative and communications skills.