Biology grad student to represent U of R at 3-Minute Thesis regionals on home turf

By Costa Maragos Posted: April 23, 2018 6:00 a.m.

Adam Sprott, a biology master’s student, will represent the University of Regina at the 3-Minute Thesis Western Canada final, hosted by the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research.
Adam Sprott, a biology master’s student, will represent the University of Regina at the 3-Minute Thesis Western Canada final, hosted by the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research. Photo by Rae Graham - U of R Photography

Few things, it appears, can distract Adam Sprott from presenting his grad research to a general audience, including a microphone malfunction.

Sprott, a master’s student in biology studying forestry dynamics, won the right to represent the University of Regina at the Three-Minute Thesis Western Regional Competition after beating out five other top-notch competitors on March 7.

The 3-Minute Thesis (3MT) regional final is slated for April 27 and is hosted by the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research. It’s the first time the regionals are being held at the U of R, attracting graduate student finalists from universities across Western Canada.
 
“I’m honoured to be the contender representing the U of R,” says Sprott. “I just moved here not that long ago and it’s quite something to be at this point in the competition.”

3MT logo

The Three-Minute thesis is a competition in which graduate students have a maximum of three minutes to explain their research to a general audience.

The 3MT idea originated at Queensland University in Australia, and competitions now take place at universities around the world.
 
Sprott made it through a preliminary round at the U of R before competing in the final round. There was extra pressure for the finalists. They presented in front of a live audience and graded by judges.

The U of R competition was recorded for future broadcast on Access Community Television and will be shown on Access TV channels across Saskatchewan.

Sprott had the added pressure of being asked to re-start his presentation when the TV technical team realized his microphone was not working properly. Sprott handled the interruption with calm and confidence.

“Once I got going I really didn’t notice the cameras, “ says Sprott, who is studying under the supervision of Dr. Mark Vanderwell, Assistant Professor in the Biology Department. “I guess having the cameras helped as I knew I was speaking to a bigger audience than just those in the room, so now I feel more prepared for the regionals.”

Sprott’s presentation for the upcoming competition is titled: Unmanned and Unlanded: Seeing a Forest Through Aerial Data.

“Having done the 3MT a few times now, I find it’s more of a science performance than a science presentation. I like the energy of this competition and what it can do to make science both exciting and accessible,” says Sprott.

The top two finishers and the Peoples’ Choice Award winner at the regionals will advance to a national online competition hosted by the Canadian Association for Graduate Studies. The winner of the regionals will receive $1000.  

Event:     Three-Minute Thesis
Date:       Friday, April 27, 2018
Time:      1:00 – 4:30 p.m. (drop by anytime).
Location: Research and Innovation Centre (RI 119)
Reception to follow

The competition will be live streamed here where links will also be provided for you to submit your People’s Choice award.