The University of Winnipeg



Graduate student returns from Western Regional 3MT Competition

A group of students stands along the Kelowna harborfront at dusk.

Olivia Kehler (top row, centre), an MA candidate in Environmental and Social Change, represented UWinnipeg at the 2024 3MT Western Regional Competition at UBC Okanagan in Kelowna, B.C. on May 8.

Olivia Kehler, an MA candidate in Environmental and Social Change supervised by Dr. Ryan Bullock, represented The University of Winnipeg at the 2024 Western Regional Three-Minute Thesis (3MT) Competition in British Columbia last week.

Kehler was one of 17 graduate students from universities across Western Canada—and one of only two from Manitoba—who gathered at UBC Okanagan on May 8 to compete for $3,000 in prize money and the chance to advance to the 2024 National 3MT Showcase at the Canadian Association for Graduate Studies Conference in Toronto this November.

If you can’t share it with people, it’s not going to go anywhere.

Olivia Kehler

“It was a lot of fun,” Kehler said. “All the participants were super well-prepared. The highlight was getting to meet all the other students from across Western Canada.”

Kehler’s strong finish at UWinnipeg’s 11th annual 3MT Competition on March 1 secured her a spot at the Western Regional contest.

Her presentation, entitled Researcher Reflexivity on Empowering Practice in Indigenous Community-Engaged Research, is available to watch on YouTube. It flows from her longstanding interest in community development, environmental problem-solving, and culturally appropriate research methods.

“My thesis focuses on how researchers empower people through research—how could they, and how should they do so?” she explained.

Kehler decided to participate in 3MT after attending UWinnipeg’s competition as a spectator last year.

A female students stands at a microphone and speaks in front of a black backdrop.

Olivia Kehler presents at UBC Okanakan in Kelowna, B.C. on May 8. Photo credit: Laura Bissell

“It was a really fun day, so when the opportunity came around this year, I thought I would go for it,” she said. “It was a great chance to meet other grad students, be part of this event, and workshop how I communicate my research. I kind of wanted to do it for me too. Figuring out how to say something simply in three minutes gives clarity.”

Kehler said the biggest benefits of 3MT are meeting students from other disciplines, and learning how to communicate research clearly and succinctly, in terms everyone can understand.

“If you can’t share it with people, it’s not going to go anywhere,” she said.

While in Kelowna, Kehler enjoyed exploring the downtown and dining with her fellow competitors. She also went on a hike near campus.

“When you’re from Manitoba, seeing a hill is exciting,” she said with a laugh.

Kehler will spend the summer break working and then return to UWinnipeg this fall to finish writing her thesis.

Originating at Australia’s University of Queensland in 2008, 3MT is an internationally recognized competition for thesis-based graduate students in which participants present their scholarly and creative activity and its wider impact to a panel of judges in three minutes or less.

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