Student researchers tell their stories

The Storytellers

Two Waterloo students have earned national recognition after securing spots among 25 finalists in the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC)’s annual Storytellers competition.

Storytellers invites postsecondary students from across Canada to tell a story, in 3 minutes or 300 words, of a SSHRC-funded research project taking place at their institution.

Fatima (Noori) Khan, a Master's student in the School of Environment; and Emma Vossen, a PhD candidate in English, were selected as stand-outs from over 200 applicants. Fatima and Emma will each receive $3,000, and an all-expense paid invitation to Congress -- SSHRC’s annual conference -- where they will give a live presentation of their research story.

While Emma and Noori managed to place very well, the process wasn’t without its challenges. Noori was conducting research in India when she found out about the competition, so time was her biggest concern.

Noori KhanI didn't think too much about why I wanted to do it, I just didn't want it to be an opportunity lost if I didn't give it a shot. It ended up being a great experience and It was fun to challenge myself to summarize the importance of my research in just 3 minutes.

For Emma, it was a different beast entirely.

Despite being comfortable speaking in front of large crowds I feel very awkward and nervous on camera, so recording the video was an interesting experience.

Emma says that she entered the competition because she wanted to help change academia and speak out against the ethical problems surrounding publishing.

Emma VossenThere are a lot of very troublesome and problematic things in academia that we accept as an implicit part of our lives and culture. Academia is a place of conformity where you have to pick your battles. You have to decide when to blend in and when to stand out. To people outside of academia my Storytellers video might not seem very exciting, but those inside academic circles know that the topic of academic publishing is very controversial.

To watch all of the other Storytellers finalist submissions, checkout the SSHRC playlist on YouTube. If you’re interested in getting involved next year, keep an eye out on the SSHRC website for more information. Submissions generally open in the fall.

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