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Arts Three Minute Thesis draws crowds

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Two students will go on to university-level competition

With topics as far-ranging as video games, urban design, refugees and the Franklin Expedition, graduate students from across the Faculty of Arts enthralled the audience at the Three Minute Thesis competition, held on Feb. 8 and 9. The departments of English Language and Literature, Psychology, Religious Studies, Germanic and Slavic Studies, History, Philosophy, Anthropology and the Balsillie School of International Affairs were all represented.

Andria Bianchi

Philosophy PhD candidate Andria Bianchi presents at the Arts Three Minute Thesis competition.

On the first day of competition, the runner-up prize was given to Robin Mazumder, a PhD student studying cognitive neuroscience, for his presentation on the psychological impacts of being exposed to skyscrapers. With a vertigo-inducing slide behind him, Maxumder spoke about the challenge of building up when towers cause feelings of stress.

Samuel Schirm, a PhD student in the Department of Germanic and Slavic Studies, was awarded the runner-up prize on the second day of competition. He spoke about speaking – something he told the audience he loves to do – but specifically about conversational style and language learning during study abroad.

Judges watch the competitionJoseph Buscemi, a PhD student in the Department of History, won the first day of competition. He had the audience laughing with his depictions of Protect and Survive, Britain’s “hauntingly useless” nuclear civil defence program during the Cold War. The documents surrounding the program’s creation were only recently declassified and Buscemi went to the UK to find answers.

Andria Bianchi, a PhD student in the Department of Philosophy, won the second day of competition. She spoke with great eloquence about the challenges of establishing sexual consent when one or both partners has dementia. About 75 million people will have dementia by 2030, she said. They are unable to consent to sex, yet many are sexually active.

Joseph Buscemi and Andria Bianchi will advance to the university-level finals on March 23 at 3 p.m. in the Theatre of the Arts, Modern Languages building.  

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