Vision science grad student Yara Mohiar places second at Waterloo 3MT competition

Friday, July 10, 2020

Group photo of all 2020 Waterloo 3MT competitors.

Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs hosted the first ever virtual University of Waterloo Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition. Biologist Isabel Hilgendag and vision scientist Yara Mohiar both represented the Faculty of Science. Mohiar won second place, making her the fourth student from the School of Optometry and Vision Science to place/win at the university level competition.

The Three Minute Thesis competition challenges research-based graduate students to articulate the breadth and significance of their research to a non-specialist panel of judges, in a 3 minute presentation using just 1 static power point slide.

At every level of the 3MT competition, each competitor is assessed on communications, comprehension and engagement. Each criterion is equally weighted and has an emphasis on audience.

The University of Waterloo hosts the largest 3MT competition in Canada, with heats taking place at the faculty and university-wide levels. The Faculty of Science has produced university, provincial and national level 3MT champions.

This year, 200 graduate students competed in the 3MT faculty-based heats, resulting in 15 champions moving forward to compete at the University level competition.

The 2020 Waterloo 3MT top three winners were:

  • First place ($1000): Jasdeep Multani, Designing the Classrooms of the Future: Incorporating Sensory Cognizant Design Strategies (Engineering) -
  • Second place ($500): Yara Mohiar, The Pressures of Space Exploration (Science)
  • Third place ($250): Robert Bennett, Simulating the Technology of Tomorrow (Engineering)

Multani will represent the University of Waterloo at the Ontario Three Minute Thesis (3MT) Provincial Competition, which will be hosted by University of Windsor.

From June 30th until July 6th, the Waterloo community was asked to watch the competitor's videos and vote for the People's Choice winner. More than 1,500 votes were cast. Sarena Daljeet (Arts) won $250 and People's Choice for her presentation "How Do you Feel About That?".

"I want to commend you for proceeding with the 3MT competition in such a challenging time. I think what you’ve done this year demonstrates your resilience, commitment to and passion for your research. I’m so thrilled to have you as part of our University of Waterloo graduate student community," said Jeff Casello, Associate Vice-President, Graduate Studies and Postdoctoral Affairs.

    The 2020 Waterloo 3MT judges were: Gary Klassen (Waterloo alumnus & Technical Lead/Manager at Google in Waterloo), Maryam Latifpoor-Keparoutis (Director of Advancement, Faculty of Environment) and Katy Wong-Francq (Senior Manager, Strategic Initiatives at the Office of the VP Research and International). 

    The 3MT concept was first established in 2008 by the University of Queensland (UQ), as a research communication competition that cultivates students' presentation and communication skills and provides them with invaluable networking opportunities. 

    Learn more about the Faculty of Science competitors and watch their videos.

    Yara Mohiar, School of Optometry and Vision Science

    Headshot of Yara Mohiar

    Yara Mohiar is currently a MSc student in the School of Optometry and Vision Science and working under the supervision of Prof. Elizabeth Irving.

    Her research investigates the effects of long-term space travel on the optic nerve. By simulating the fluid shifts that occur in the human body in space, and comparing the effects on blood pressure and eye pressure, her research may help to prevent eye damage in future space travellers.

    This past March, she was awarded both first place and Audience Choice at the Faculty of Science 3MT competition.

    Mohiar obtained her BSc degree in Optometry from Jordan. Her research interests include behavioural psychology and ocular pathophysiology.

    Outside of research, Mohiar enjoys riddles, creating treasure hunts, reading and watching comedies. With a passion for teaching, Mohiar aims to complete her PhD in Optometry in the near future. 

      Isabel Hilgendag, Department of Biology

      Headshot of Isabel HilgendagIsabel Hilgendag is a MSc student in Biology working under the supervision of Profs. Heidi Swanson and Michael Power. 

      She's researching mercury contamination in Arctic food webs. She is using stable isotopes to determine the rates of mercury accumulation in Arctic char - Nunavut’s most important fish for consumption.

      Her field work takes place in Frobisher Bay, near Iqaluit, Nunavut. This work will be used to compare future changes to mercury dynamics induced by climate change in order to better understand the fate of Arctic char as a reliable diet source for Inuit. 

      Hilgendag first became intrigued in how contaminants affect northern ecosystems during her BSc degree in Environmental Science at Laurentian University. Outside of academia, she’s passionate about travelling, learning languages, and photography.

        Congratulations to all of University of Waterloo's 2020 Three Minute Thesis competitors!

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