Meet the GRADflix winner who filmed her video while researching abroad

Thursday, May 11, 2023

Each year the University of Waterloo GRADflix competition sees Master’s and PhD students from every discipline participate, creating 60-second videos describing their research and showcasing the amazing ideas and ambitions of our community of graduate researchers. This year, Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs is following up with our 2023 participants. In a series of video interviews, we asked them about their GRADflix experience, what they learned, and what they hope to share with others.

Caitlin sititng against a mountain backdropOur first GRADflix experience profile belongs to Caitlin Laidlaw, an MES student in the department of Geography and Environmental Management. In 2022, while conducting research abroad in a remote region of Western Nepal, she gathered footage of her work and the people and places she connected with. Upon returning to Canada, Caitlin collected and edited her footage into a 60-second video to use for her GRADflix submission, going on to win second place in the 2023 GRADflix competition.

Caitlin has been studying human-snow leopard conflict in Nepal, a complex situation often oversimplified by North American audiences focused more on the charismatic megafauna than the human impacts. In her GRADflix video Local attitudes towards snow leopards in western Nepal, Caitlin shone a light on how local communities often face the hardship or burdens of large carnivore conservation, exploring their perspectives and pathways towards coexistence with snow leopards.

In this interview, Caitlin shares her experiences of filming the raw footage for her GRADflix video during her weeks of research in Nepal. She discusses why she chose to participate in the 2023 GRADflix competition, how she addressed the challenges of capturing footage in the field, and what advice she has for any students considering participating in the next competition.

If you are a Master’s or PhD student conducting research in the field, or even travelling abroad, consider Caitlin’s example. Consider how you can record or document your experiences. Consider how you could communicate your research, the importance and excitement of your work. And if that appeals to you, consider joining us for the next GRADflix competition, and sharing your work with the wider academic community.