Spotlight on student research at York’s Three Minute Thesis (3MT) event

York 3MT presenters with judges
York 3MT presenters with judges

Eighteen graduate students from York University shared an elevator pitch-style presentation on their research during the annual 3MT (Three Minute Thesis) competition held April 5.

Students, who had three minutes to explain their research to a panel of non-specialist judges with the aid of only a single, static visual slide, delivered succinct and engaging presentations on a wide range of topics, including nationalism, artificial intelligence, safe drinking water and ovarian cancer, to list a few.

3MT is a research communications competition for master’s and doctoral students that was originally conceived at the University of Queensland in Australia. It is a fun, challenging academic competition that supports the development of student research.

3MT York winners and judges
Winners of the York U 3MT are Victoria Larocca (second place), Annalise D’Souza (first place), Mikhaela Gray (third place) with judges Steve Watt, Shamshad Madhok, Alice Pitt, Matthew Shulman

The top three students from York were selected by judges Alice Pitt, York University vice-provost academic; Matthew Shulman, executive director at Peel-Halton-Dufferin Adult Learning Network; Steve Watt, York alumnus (BA ’06) and marketing adviser; and Shamshad Madhok, York alumna (BAS ’89) and associate partner at PwC Canada.

Winning first place was Annalise D’Souza, a PhD student in psychology, for her presentation “Mathematical modelling of brain performance across the life span.” D’Souza is researching more accessible and diverse methods of measuring executive functions in the brain, and how those methods compare to standardized testing methods currently used.

D’Souza won a prize of $1,000 for her top placement and will move on to the provincial 3MT competition where she will represent York University. She also earned the People’s Choice award from those in the audience, which came with a prize of $250.

She is currently a researcher in York’s Cognitive Flexibility Lab, which investigates how executive function, learning and long-term memory changes across the lifespan, from early childhood development through aging.

Judges selected Victoria Larocca, a master’s student in kinesiology and health science, as the second-place winner for her presentation “Physical activity commercials – What do youth with disabilities think?” Larocca earned a prize of $500.

In third place was Mikhaela Gray, a master’s student in education, who presented “Sold: The Cost of Trafficking Women and Girls Today.” Gray earned a prize of $250.

This is the fifth year that York University has participated in the Canadian competition.

York 3MT presenters with judges
York 3MT presenters with judges

On April 19, York will host the provincial competition, 3MT Ontario, where the top participant from each of the 20 graduate schools in Ontario will compete for the provincial title. The event is free to attend.