Three Minute Thesis finalists Sophie Wilkinson (left), Gautham Kirshnaraj, Nourhan Shalaby, Tsz Wing Cheung, Michelle Ogrodnik, and Matthew Berry enjoy a moment after the competition.
Three Minute Thesis finalists Sophie Wilkinson (left), Gautham Kirshnaraj, Nourhan Shalaby, Tsz Wing Cheung, Michelle Ogrodnik, and Matthew Berry enjoy a moment after the competition. Photo by Peter Self

February 27, 2017

From the burning Boreal to lead poisoning, McMaster 3MT a showcase of grad research

Lead Poisoning is Everywhere earned Master’s student Tsz Wing Cheung top spot at this year’s McMaster Three Minute Thesis (3MT) Competition held February 23.

“I didn’t expect to present this year, but then I decided to try. This was a good experience. The 3MT really helped me with my public speaking skills,” Cheung says.

Her decision – and effort – paid off. She will represent McMaster at the Ontario Provincial Final at the University of Waterloo in April. Twelve students competed in the 3MT Final Heat. Cheung also takes home $1,000 and the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Communicating Research, to be given at the Graduate Recognition Awards in September.

Cheung is in the first of a two-year Masters in Radiation Sciences (Medical Physics), working under supervisor Fiona McNeill. She completed her undergraduate degree in Hong Kong.

Competitors who placed in the top five receive cash prizes and the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Communicating Research. They include:

  • Gautham Krishnaraj, Health Sciences, in second place;
  • Sophie Wilkinson, Science, third place;
  • Matthew Berry, Science, fourth place; and
  • Nourhan Shalaby, Science, in fifth.

Michelle Ogrodnik, Science, was selected by her peers as winner of the Competitor’s Choice Award worth $250.

Final Heat judges included members of the broader Hamilton and McMaster communities:

  • David Carter, executive director of the Innovation Factory;
  • Grace Diffey, vice-president, community relations at the Hamilton Community Foundation;
  • Peter Dyakowski, named Canada’s Smartest Person after competing in the inaugural CBC special, and offensive lineman for the Toronto Argonauts;
  • Chukky Ibe, president-elect for McMaster’s Student Union; and
  • Allison Sekuler, strategic advisor to McMaster’s President and Vice-President on academic issues.

More than 50 graduate students registered to participate in this year’s full-day event, a number that has steadily climbed since the first University competition in 2013.  Competitors took part in four preliminary heats throughout the day. The top three from each heat moved forward into the Final at day’s end.