The pressure of competing in the Three Minute Thesis – Now add the TV cameras

By Costa Maragos Posted: March 2, 2018 6:00 a.m.

Students competing in the Three Minute Thesis (Front l-r) Eva Lopez and Sarah Elizabeth Ivens. (Back l-r) Maryna Moskalenko, Ale Castilla, Rachel Krakauer and Adam Sprott.
Students competing in the Three Minute Thesis (Front l-r) Eva Lopez and Sarah Elizabeth Ivens. (Back l-r) Maryna Moskalenko, Ale Castilla, Rachel Krakauer and Adam Sprott. Photo by Costa Maragos - External Relations

You’d think it would be tough enough trying to explain a thesis in three minutes to a non-academic audience.  Add to the mix a live theatre audience and roving television cameras and you get the picture of added pressure.

For the second year in a row, Access Communications Co-operative is going all-out to televise the Three Minute Thesis competition province-wide, featuring six finalist U of R graduate students. The final takes place Wednesday, March 7 at 7:00 p.m. at the University Theatre. The show is free open to the public.

“We received great audience feedback about the Three Minute Thesis when we broadcast the show last season,” says Wade Peterson, Manager of Community Programming at Access Communications and a U of R alumnus. “The students who were competing really fed off the energy of the crowd. They did a great job presenting their research in a way that was fun and informative.”

Three Minute Thesis TV
Access Communications will broadcast the Three Minute Thesis Competition from the University Theatre. The event drew a packed house at the Shu Box Theatre in 2017.
 The Three Minute Thesis was founded by Queensland University in Australia in 2008. It was a hit from the start and now universities around the world hold competitions.

The winner of the U of R competition will move on to the regional final featuring competitors from universities across Western Canada, held this year at the U of R on April 27.

For the students to win they have to impress a panel of judges. The judges this year are:

  • Dr. Katya Herman, professor in the Faculty of Kinesiology and Health Studies.
  • Phoebe De Ciman - Earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology in 2003 and a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science in 2005 (honours) at the U of R and is currently working at the Ministry of Advanced Education.
  • Jeph Maystruck – Co-founder of the Regina marketing firm Strategy Lab who earned a degree in Business Management; Administration from the U of R’s Faculty of Business Administration.   
Judges are required to mark the student presentations on comprehension, engagement, and communication.

The show will be hosted by Lynn Giesbrecht, a student in the School of Journalism. But most of the focus will be on the competing students who have a maximum of three minutes to explain their work.

“This is a good opportunity to show the audience the research we are doing at the University of Regina,” says Ale Castilla, a master of science student working in neuroscience research.
Another competitor is Adam Sprott, a biology graduate student who is working on his master’s in forestry dynamics.

“The point of this competition is making our research as accessible to as wide of an audience as possible,” says Sprott. “So to turn this into a TV show is just a natural progression, which vastly expands your audience.”

The winner of this event collects $1,500 and a spot in the western regionals. There are second and third place prizes. Those in attendance will vote for a People’s Choice Award.

“I’m really glad I get to showcase my research and hopefully spread the word and get other people interested,” says Eva Lopez who is pursuing a master’s of science degree in biology.

This event was made possible thanks to support from the U of R Graduate Students’ Association, Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research and Access Communications.

Event:  Three Minute Thesis
Date:   Wednesday, March 7, 2018
Time:   7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Venue:  University Theatre – Riddell Centre
This event is free and open to the public. A reception to follow. Complimentary parking has been arranged in Lot 1M.