Ontario 3-Minute Thesis: Queen’s Crowns First-Ever Winner

Queen’s students Sashun, Julia, Cassidy, Holly and Amanda at the Ontario 3MT and GRADflix events.

Pictured above: Queen’s students Sashun, Julia, Cassidy, Holly and Amanda at the Ontario 3MT and GRADflix events.

On May 7th and 8th, Lakehead University hosted the 2024 Ontario 3-Minute Thesis competition & GRADflix showcase, bringing together students from across the province to share their research in two different, exciting formats. The 3-Minute Thesis (or 3MT) challenges students to share their research in 3 minutes or less to a non-specialist audience, being graded on clarity, engagement and ease of understanding. In the words of Fahim Quadir, Vice-Provost and Dean of the School of Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs:

The 3MT/GRADflix provides a unique opportunity to highlight how research conducted by our graduate students is making an impact. It empowers our graduate students to narrate the story of their research, demonstrating their dedicated efforts to contribute to a more equitable, just, and sustainable world.”

 This year the Queen’s University representative, Julia Tropak (Chemistry) took the first-place title with her talk entitled “Bacteria: Friend or Foe?”. Julia’s research focuses on using bacteria to fight bacteria, by synthesizing new drugs to fight antibiotic resistant bugs. About the competition, Julia said:

“Lakehead hosted an amazing event for the GRADflix showcase and the Ontario 3MT Competition. I, and I’m sure everyone else, felt so welcome to be there. It was an invaluable experience to meet fellow graduate students not only from different departments but also different institutions from all over Ontario, which is not something we often get to do. I would definitely recommend attending these types of events to anyone – it’s important to learn about the diversity of communities and perspectives that are integral to successful research.”

On the theme of research communication, part of the event involved the Ontario GRADflix showcase, with students preparing short, 1-minute videos that explain their research. Cassidy Laub (Translational Medicine) from Queen’s showcased her short video on the impact of delays on cancer treatment. Cassidy had this to say about GRADflix:

“It was an honour to represent Queen’s University at the Ontario GRADflix Showcase and cheer on Julia Tropak at the Ontario 3MT Finals.  I loved celebrating with the other GRADflix participants, connecting with other Ontario graduate students, and chatting with the Chancellor of Lakehead University, Dr. Rita Shelton Deverell.  This was truly an amazing experience that I will remember for a very long time.  Thank you Lakehead University for your warm hospitality.

Participating in GRADflix was an incredible opportunity to challenge myself to communicate my research creatively and comprehensively.  Thank you to Colette and Queen's Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs for organizing this experience for graduate students.”

Fahim Quadir congratulated both students, saying: “We thank Julia and Cassidy for representing Queen’s at the 2024 Ontario 3MT and GRADflix showcase events in Orillia at Lakehead University. Our heartiest congratulations to Julia on winning this year's Regional 3MT and the People’s Choice award!”

Julia will go on to represent Ontario at the national 3-Minute Thesis competition in Toronto during the Canadian Association of Graduate Studies conference in November.