USask 3MT 2023: Grad student research on stage

The Three Minute Thesis (3MT) Competition originated at the University of Queensland in 2008 as an opportunity for graduate students to challenge their own understanding of their research. Using only one static slide and three minutes, grad students must summarize their entire body of research for a general, non-scientific audience. Since 2008, the 3MT competition has gained global popularity with local competitions hosted at universities across the world, providing students with a stage to put their knowledge and communications skills to the test. The University of Saskatchewan has hosted a local 3MT competition since 2018.

By Kassidy Guy
CGPS Dean Debby Burshtyn addressing the audience at the USask 3MT Finals event

USask's 2023 local 3MT competition kicked off in February when grad students were encouraged to submit their video presentation to the virtual Preliminaries. Some departments, such Ag-Bio and Engineering, hosted their own local 3MT competitions; local winners automatically moved on to compete in the Finals. During early March, a panel of professional communicators served as judges to select the top 15 competitors to move on to the USask Finals on April 11th.

The USask 3MT Finals were hosted by the College of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies at the GSA Commons. Attendees were also encouraged to attend via Livestream, and over 500 viewers from across the world tuned in to watch.

1st Place: Narsimha Pujari, Veterinary Biomedical Sciences

Narsimha Pujari, a PhD student in the department of Veterinary Biomedical Sciences, emerged as the USask 3MT champion with his presentation titles, 'Flirty Flies to Funky Physiology: The Impact of Sex on Female Metabolism'. As the winner of the USask 3MT Finals, Narsimha will move on to the Western Regional 3MT competition on May 25th, 2023, where he will compete against best of Western Canada's graduate students.

2nd Place: Shaheli Senanayake, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Second place was awarded to Shaheli Senanyake, a Master's student studying Civil and Environmental Engineering, with her presentation titled, 'Factors influencing road safety at urban signalized intersections. In her presentation, Shaheli discussed how research can help improve the safety of pedestrians and drivers by identifying factors at road sites that lead to increased rates of traffic collisions.

3rd Place: Hemlata Gautam, Veterinary Pathology

USask's third place recipient was Hemlata Gautam, with her talk titled, 'Protecting chickens from a gut rotting bacteria'. As a PhD student studying Veterinary Pathology, Hemlata described her work developing a novel vaccine strategy for meat-type chickens at risk for developing bacterial infections.

People's Choice Winner: Michele Monroy-Valle, School of Public Health

The final category awarded at the competition was the People's Choice winner, which was awarded based on the number of votes from the public watching the event live in-person or virtually via Livestream. CGPS reported that the People’s Choice category received over 900 votes during the event, and Michele Monroy-Valle, a PhD student from the School of Public Health, emerged as the People’s Choice favourite.

On May 25th, 2023, the University of Saskatchewan will host the top 3MT competitors from across Western Canada at the annual Western Regional 3MT Competition, hosted in partnership with the Western Canadian Deans of Graduate Studies. The Western Regionals event will be hosted at Quance Theatre from 2:00 to 5:00pm CST, as well as streamed live on the CGPS website. The entire USask community is invited to attend to celebrate the innovative research taken on by grad students across the country, and to cheer on USask champion Narsimha Pujari as he competes for the grand prize.

Learn more about the USask 3MT Finals and the Western Regional competition by visiting the CGPS website.

Pictured: Group photo of the 2023 USask Finals participants