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Ontario Tech acknowledges the lands and people of the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation.

We are thankful to be welcome on these lands in friendship. The lands we are situated on are covered by the Williams Treaties and are the traditional territory of the Mississaugas, a branch of the greater Anishinaabeg Nation, including Algonquin, Ojibway, Odawa and Pottawatomi. These lands remain home to many Indigenous nations and peoples.

We acknowledge this land out of respect for the Indigenous nations who have cared for Turtle Island, also called North America, from before the arrival of settler peoples until this day. Most importantly, we acknowledge that the history of these lands has been tainted by poor treatment and a lack of friendship with the First Nations who call them home.

This history is something we are all affected by because we are all treaty people in Canada. We all have a shared history to reflect on, and each of us is affected by this history in different ways. Our past defines our present, but if we move forward as friends and allies, then it does not have to define our future.

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Graduate students show academic flair at UOIT’s 3MT finals

UOIT's six 3MT finalists for 2015. From left: Rachel Goldgrub, Julianne Baarbé, Abdalla Abdel-Rahman, Noosheen Walji, Michael Williams-Bell and Elizabeth Suen.
UOIT's six 3MT finalists for 2015. From left: Rachel Goldgrub, Julianne Baarbé, Abdalla Abdel-Rahman, Noosheen Walji, Michael Williams-Bell and Elizabeth Suen.

Years of work goes into the completion of a university graduate thesis. The document is often one of the most important requirements for earning a master’s degree or PhD. The graduate student’s research represents tireless investigation and inquiry and puts forth fresh knowledge on an original topic. The final product is often the same length as a typical book: dozens, if not hundreds of pages long.

With so much material packed into a thesis, one might wonder if it’s possible for a student to explain the wider impact of their findings in bite-size form for a brand new audience. And what if they had just the same amount of time as an average pop music song to tell their story? In a nutshell, that’s the challenge of Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) – a competition for graduate students at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) and other universities around the world.

3MT® participants share their research story in three minutes or less in front of a panel of non-specialist judges. No props or notes are allowed, other than a single screen slide.

After a series of rehearsals and training workshops for an original group of 27 candidates, on April 16, UOIT’s 3MT® competition came down to a field of six finalists. When the dust settled, Applied Bioscience PhD candidate Michael Williams-Bell was crowned UOIT champion for his presentation on exertional heat stress factors that can affect decision making by firefighters. His research findings are based on physiological testing conducted with actual firefighters in the climate chambers of ACE, the university’s unique research and testing facility.

Williams-Bell is also working on the development of a video game simulation (serious game) on the same issue.

“We are very proud of all of our 3MT® presenters for showing such poise as they shared their compelling stories,” said Svetlana Novak, UOIT 3MT® organizer and Graduate Professional Development Co-ordinator with the UOIT Office of Graduate Studies. “They worked very hard from the moment we launched our event in mid-February. They handled the pressure of the competition and had a lot of fun showcasing their innovative and significant research.”

Williams-Bell will represent the University of Ontario Institute of Technology at the third Ontario provincial 3MT® competition on Thursday, April 23 at Western University in London, Ontario. Winners in London advance to the Canadian national 3MT® competition in June.

The 3MT® competition was developed initially by the University of Queensland (Australia) in 2008. The competition has since spread internationally to include Canada.  

2015 UOIT 3MT® finalists

  • Abdalla Abdel-Rahman** (Master of Applied Science (Mechanical Engineering) candidate): Aero-thermal testing of race cars
  • Julianne Baarbé (Master of Health Sciences candidate): Does neck pain affect co-ordination?
  • Rachel Goldgrub (Master of Health Sciences candidate): Soft-tissue injuries of the shoulder? A systematic review of the literature
  • Elizabeth Suen (Master of Health Sciences candidate): An arts-informed narrative inquiry into the experiences of older Chinese Canada immigrants with depression
  • Noosheen Walji*** (Master of Applied Science (Mechanical Engineering) candidate): Paper-based microfluidics for arsenic detection in water using gold nanosensors
  • Michael Williams-Bell* (PhD in Applied Bioscience candidate): Development of a serious game to evaluate and train cognitive decision making during exertional heat stress.

*first place
**second place
***People’s Choice winner