School of Graduate Studies

School of Graduate Studies
School of Graduate Studies

Queen’s 3MT final offered a look into graduate research

By Sharday Mosurinjohn

March 2013

Queen’s second 3 Minute Thesis competition final on Thursday, March 21st, offered a fascinating cross section of research going on around campus at both the Master’s and Doctoral levels. With just a three-minute talk and a single static slide, contestants rapidly delivered a snapshot of projects ranging from manipulating carbon nanotubes on the quantum scale to charting the life cycle of galaxies light years away.

some of our finalists


Finalists(LtoR): Heather Ridgway (Rehabilitation Science), Joel Roediger (Astro Physics) & Alaa al-Helaili (Physiology)



The array of knowledge, organized into a series of thirteen three-minute-long talks represents the culmination of what first place winner Xiaoqian Liu describes as a process of careful editing. The M.Ed. student joined the competition at the behest of her supervisor Dr. Liying Cheng, who coached Liu and also set up an opportunity within the Faculty of Education for her to practice in front of peers her talk on what combination of achievement and non-achievement factors really goes into the grades educators give students. “I couldn’t have been a part of this event without the rounds and rounds of feedback I got from my friends, family, supervisor and others in my program.” It is in this sense that Liu offers a word of advice for future competitors not to only look at 3MT as a competition; the preparation process is a highly collaborative one that Liu says is “important to remember to enjoy!”

For runner up Ryley Beddoe, a doctoral candidate supervised by Dr. Andy Take in the Faculty of Civil Engineering, it was encouragement from friends that got her into the 3MT competition in the first place. In fact, the most influential of the bunch happened to be last year’s 3MT winner Jen Campbell, an Engineering Physics PhD candidate, who Beddoe calls “inspiring.” In Thursday’s event, Beddoe presented research from her fourth degree at Queen’s which is dedicated to better understanding the way landslides happen with a view to saving more of the lives that are regularly endangered by these natural disasters. Teaching is already a passion for Beddoe – the odd degree out among her three endeavours in the department of Engineering is a Bachelor of Education – and her goal for the future is to continue engaging undergraduate audiences with her geotechnical knowledge.

Liu and Beddoe will go on to represent Queen’s in the first Ontario 3MT competition to be held in the same venue, the beautifully renovated Abramsky House room 032a on April 18that 4pm. People’s Choice Award winner Ala’a Al-Helaili, a Physiology PhD student supervised by Dr. Michael J. Beyak, walks away with a backpack full of goodies compliments of the Campus Computer Store, and, of course, the high praise of her presentation about a promising new avenue towards weight loss having earned its place as crowd favourite.

Q3MT-2013-Final winners

Presentation time(LtoR): (1) Principal Woolf & winner Xiaoqian Liu. (2) Dr Brenda Brouwer, Xiaoqian Liu, Ryley Beddoe &Principal Woolf. (3) Dr Brenda Brouwer, Alaa al-Helaili &Principal Woolf

Judges for our final did not have an easy task.  Dr Steven Liss (VP Research) got to sit in the hot seat this year (Dr Liss was the Tie-breaker judge last year) along with newcomers, Linda Ann Daly and Ann Lukits. Back for a second final was Principal, Daniel Woolf and the Honorable Peter Milliken, P.C

3mt judges

Meet our judges (LtoR): Dr Steven Liss, Linda Ann Daly, Ann Lukits, Principal Woolf, Hon.Peter Millken

The upcoming Ontario-wide 3MT competition will represent yet another level of crystallizing complex research into a quick, clear, and compelling three minutes, offering an unparalleled look not only for the participants but for the wider community at the diverse forms that university research can take.


Finalists & Judges 2013 (LtoR): Dr Steven Liss, Principal Woolf, Linda Ann Daly, Ann Lukits, Hon Peter Milliken, Haroon Malik (Computing), Laurelle Veloce (Physics), Rana Pishva (Psychology), Ryley Beddoe (Civil Engineering), Xiaoqian Liu (Education), Heather Ridgway (Rehabilitation Science), Sharief Oteafy (Computing), Jasmin Ma (Kinesiology & Health Studies), Alaa al-Helaili(Physiology), Frank Secretain (Mechanical & Materials Engineering), Joel Roediger (Astro physics), Nida Latif (Psychology), Mitchell Anderson (Physics)

All Photos courtesy of Chi Yan Lam