Snake research gives student win at thesis competition

By Costa Maragos Posted: April 29, 2016 6:00 a.m.

Tera Edkins, seen here practicing her Three Minute Thesis presentation to an audience of faculty and staff members, as she prepares for the regional final in B.C.
Tera Edkins, seen here practicing her Three Minute Thesis presentation to an audience of faculty and staff members, as she prepares for the regional final in B.C. Photo by Rae Graham - U of R Photography.

Student Tera Edkins is representing the University of Regina at the regional 3 Minute Thesis Competition, April 29.

Edkins, a second year master’s student in Biology, advanced to the regionals after beating a very tough field of about 30 graduate students at the U of R competition in March. The event was hosted by the The University of Regina Graduate Students’ Association and the Faculty of Graduate Studies.

The regional final is at UBC’s Okanagan Campus in Kelowna, B.C.

The top three finishers will advance to the national final in May.
“I’m feeling a mix of excitement and nerves about going to regionals. It’s quite humbling to be able to go and compete with 3MT winners from universities across western Canada,” says Edkins.  

Click here to watch Tera Edkins compete at the Regional 3MT Competition – It’s live streaming here Friday, April 29 – 3 pm Saskatchewan time.

There will be a People’s Choice Award, open for voting for 20 minutes after the last presentation, where you can all vote online. Click here and give Tera your support.

The Three Minute Thesis is a tough competition. Students have to explain their thesis to a general audience in a mere three minutes, maximum. The students are assessed by a panel of judges based on comprehension, content, engagement and communication.  
Edkins research expertise is grassland snakes.  

“The ultimate goal of my talk was to shine a light on snake, and even reptile, conservation in Saskatchewan. We live in such a harsh climate up north, so we don’t tend to think of reptiles in terms of a group that can persist here. But they do. And, just like birds or mammals, they are an important part of prairie ecosystems,” says Edkins who is working under the supervision of Dr. Chris Somers and Dr. Ray Poulin.

Sarah 3MT
Sarah Elizabeth Ivens, PhD student in psychology, was one of dozens of students competing at the 3MT competition.
Photo by: Arturo Segura, Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research.

“When I heard that I was the winner of the 2016 3MT competition I was excited, but also surprised. There were so many well-put together and well-executed talks in the competition that I was completely uncertain of who the winner would be.”

Edkins has been practicing with help from faculty, staff members and others.  

“Leading up to the U of R competition, I had practiced my presentation many many times, with my friends, over Skype with my mom, and with my lab mates, so I was quite confident in what I was saying. That being said, in the period right before I got up in front of the audience, I definitely had butterflies in my stomach,” recall Edkins.

In winning the U of R competition, Edkins received a $1,500 scholarship and travel award to compete at the 3MT regionals, from the Faculty of Graduate and Research Studies.

Tera Edkins is tracking bull and yellow-bellied racers in the Big Muddy. Read all about her research here.

2016 3MT Competition at the U of R, March 19.

First Prize:
Tera Edkins: “Ecology of Grassland Snakes in Natural and Human Modified Landscapes”.

Second Prize:
Lydia Miliokas: “Through ‘the Forest of Things, Acts, and Signs’: A Study of Curatorial Practice and Spectatorship in Edmonton’s The Works Art and Design Festival and Nuit Blanche.”

People’s Choice:
-Jennifer Burton: “Positioning of South Korean Students in a Canadian University.”
-Anastasye Kisheev: “From NPC to OPC to Myelination: Possible Solution for Neurodegenerative Disorders.”