December 21, 2014

McMaster grad students are among SSHRC’s best storytellers

McMaster Master's student Matthew Stork and PhD candidate Myriam Nafte are among the 25 finalists in the Research for a Better Life: The Storytellers Challenge.

Postsecondary students from across Canada were asked to submit stories – in no more than 300 words or 3 minutes – on how research funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) is making an impact on people's lives. This is the second year that SSHRC has held the competition.

Stork's research investigates the role of self-control in achieving social and academic success among first year university students. He hopes to develop and implement self-control training programs to enhance student learning, studying, social habits and academic performance.

Now in his second year of a Master's of Science in Kinesiology, Stork said he's always interested in finding creative ways to communicate his work.

"The SSHRC Storytellers contest was the perfect opportunity for me to do this. This contest provided me with the platform to share my research with Canada and the rest of the world," he said.

Nafte also believes that the ability to communicate research should be a priority for graduate students.

"I think it's really important for researchers to share their stories within and beyond academia. Many graduate students are fairly cloistered, researching, writing, and consolidating data, and our work tends to stay confined to academic journals or much smaller venues," she said.

"We can also help connect the general public to academia and maintain their interest in our work and research, and thereby make it more relevant."

Nafte is a forensic anthropologist in the fourth year of her PhD studies. Her research examines the use of human remains as material commodities – in medicine, education, and art.

Stork and Nafte each receive $3,000 and the chance to compete to become one of the Final Five Storytellers during the Congress 2014 of the Humanities and Social Sciences in May.