Earth Science students compete in Science's 3MT heat

Monday, February 20, 2017


The annual Faculty of Science Three Minute Thesis heat returned this week.  More than twenty graduate students from all six units gathered to compete and describe their research in less than three minutes, using only one slide.

The Associate Dean of Graduate Studies, Rob Hill, kicked off the competition and hosted the event.

“I wish all faculty and students could attend to see what magnificent work our students do,” said Hill. “Hearing these presentations makes me proud to be part of the Faculty of Science at this University”.

Five out of the 21 master’s and doctoral students who competed were from the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences. Cameron Drever, Janice Cooper, Mostofa Kamal, Stephanie Slowinski and Richard Li. Drever, a master’s student from the Chris Yakymchuk Lab, captured the audience by using an example of Tesla to gain significance of how to source graphite mines for many of today’s high-tech, green energy products.      

Janice Cooper, a master’s student from the Groundwater Geochemistry and Remediation Group, is researching how to prevent contaminants left over from firefighting foam from harming our groundwater and surrounding environment.

Mostofa Kamal, a master’s student supervised by Professors Martin Ross and André Unger, is focused on increasing the predictability of weather so meteorologists can make more accurate forecasts. This would result in preserving more land and lives from unexpected harsh conditions.

Stephanie Slowinski, a master’s student from the Ecohydrology Group, made use of personification in her slide by adding construction hats to describe the role of microbes in the ecosystem. She pressed the importance they have in managing groundwater pollution.

Richard Li, a doctoral student from the Geomechanics Group, signified the importance of shale gas as a cheap and clean energy source. Due to its location, hydraulic fracturing is necessary to create accessible pathways to retrieve it. This would improve both quality of life and global energy.    

It was a challenging heat this year as all the students gave exceptional presentations. Nyasha Gondora, a doctoral student from the School of Pharmacy won $150 and the competition for her presentation on the long-term effects of childhood stress on mental health and brain physiology in adults. Emmanuel Alabi, a doctoral student from the School of Optometry and Vision Science was the runner-up. He’s developing an objective method to quantify pain.

The judging panel consisted of Professors Heidi Engelhardt, Marianna Foldvari, John Johnston, Barb Katzenback, Kevin Resch and Chris Yakymchuk as well as Outreach Manager Heather Neufeld. The panel assessed the students on their communication style, comprehension and engagement.

The University of Waterloo will be hosting both the University and Provincial finals. Last year, Science’s Gah-Jone Won, a doctoral student from the School of Optometry and Vision Science, won the national competition.

Let’s continue the winning streak and cheer on your Science candidates Nyasha and Emmanuel at the University competition on March 23rd.

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