Fifteen Faculty of Graduate Studies students presented their stellar research to a panel of judges inside a packed Eckhardt Gramatté Hall during The University of Winnipeg’s 10th annual 3-Minute Thesis (3MT) Competition on Friday, March 3.
“The 10th annual 3-Minute Thesis Competition demonstrated that UWinnipeg graduate students perform an impressive breadth of applied research and can communicate it in a concise, accessible manner,” said Dr. Manish Pandey, Chair of UWinnipeg’s 3MT Committee. “This year, a record number of students registered for the competition, with representation from seven of our graduate programs. This is a testament to the support and encouragement students receive from their supervisors and UWinnipeg faculty members. Eckhardt Gramatté Hall was energized by a large and lively audience of supportive peers, friends, family, and UWinnipeg staff. We thank everyone who contributed to make it a successful event.”
The top prize, $1,000 and an all-expenses-paid trip to the Western Regional 3MT Competition at the University of Saskatchewan on May 7, was awarded to Michelle Beltran, Master of Science in Bioscience, Technology and Public Policy, for her presentation Oh My Gut: Effects of Short Chain Fatty Acids on Enteric Glial Cells.
“My research interest includes understanding how short chain fatty acids modify properties of enteric glial cells, and if they may act as a potential therapeutic strategy for the attenuation of intestinal inflammation and intestinal barrier disruption,” she explained.
While she admitted presenting was a “nerve-racking” experience, Beltran says she learned it’s good to step out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself. She also enjoyed having the opportunity to learn about the research happening within the Faculty of Graduate Studies.
Even though she was happy with her presentation, she says it was still a shock to win.
“There were so many amazing contestants with very interesting research, so I didn’t think I had a chance in winning.”
As she looks ahead to the Western Regional 3MT Competition, Beltran is looking forward to representing UWinnipeg on a larger stage.
“I would like to express my deepest appreciation to my supervisor Dr. Danielle Defries,” she said. “Without her encouragement, support, and guidance, I wouldn’t have had this amazing opportunity to represent The University of Winnipeg at the 3MT Western Regional Competition.”
Second-place honours went to Sage Broomfield, Master’s in Development Practice: Indigenous Development, for her presentation Towards Intergenerational Energy Solutions: A Comprehensive Review of Indigenous Youth-Focused Participatory Research with Applications in Alternative Energy Research.
“The 3MT was a great learning experience. After having participated, I feel more connected to The University of Winnipeg’s graduate research community,” Broomfield said. “The 3MT also allowed me to engage with my research in a new way and challenged my public speaking skills. After getting passed the nerves, I felt proud to share the research that I am passionate about with the judges, the audience, and my peers. And I am grateful that they believed in my research as well. This event was a highlight of my graduate experience.”
The People’s Choice Award was awarded to Jasmyne Storm, Master of Science in Bioscience, Technology and Public Policy, for her presentation It’s Getting Hot in Here: Milk Nanovesicles Promote Heat Shock Response and Reduce Neuroinflammation.
“It was truly an honour to participate in this year’s 3MT Competition. The opportunity to learn about all the amazing work currently being conducted by my colleagues and to share my own research in such a fun and supportive environment is not an experience I will forget anytime soon,” Storm said. “For me, winning this year’s People’s Choice Award will always serve as a reminder of how we each successfully overcame the challenges associated with having to deliver such a condensed version of our research in a competitive setting, truly no easy feat. A huge thank you to The University of Winnipeg for all their efforts in organizing this event, to the judges for their valuable time, and to my mentors and colleagues for all their encouragement.”
If Beltran wins the Western Regional 3MT Competition in May, she will move on to the 2023 National 3MT Showcase in November, which is part of the Canadian Association for Graduate Studies Conference.