Aprami Jaggi entered the University of Calgary’s Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition because she wanted to get better at communicating her research, and helping people understand the wider impact of research happening at the university. The Geoscience PhD candidate was surprised to win first place in the 2017 3MT Finals.
Jaggi’s talk, titled The Ultimate Fate of Oil in the Marine Environment Following Spillage, discusses her research on how oil interacts with water at various depths in the ocean, with the aim of discovering better ways to clean up oil spills in aquatic environments.
“A lot of the research we do at the university is working towards a bigger goal of helping the community,” says Jaggi. “However, a lot of times this message gets lost in translation.”
Understanding that the ability to communicate about one’s research to both specialist and non-specialist audiences is a practiced skill, Jaggi signed up for 3MT.
“Being a part of 3MT was a wonderful experience,” she says. “It taught me that both ‘how’ and ‘why’ are important elements of communicating one’s research.”
3MT offers 'journey of learning' for grad students
Each year, nearly 60 graduate students from thesis-based programs across the university enter the competition and take part in practice sessions and workshops to develop their research communication skills.
Organized by My GradSkills in the Faculty of Graduate Studies, the event is more than a competition. It is meant to be a journey of learning for graduate student communicators. For this reason, graduate students are encouraged to participate year after year and take advantage of all the preparatory workshops.
Finalist Susann Lagore, a PhD student in Environmental Design, participated in 3MT for the first time in 2016. She came back to the competition in 2017 to get more practice speaking about her research, which focuses on public transit needs, barriers and training for individuals on the autism spectrum. This time, she advanced to the finals.
“Participating in the 3MT has definitely helped me gain confidence in public speaking,” says Lagore. “More importantly, the process of getting to the heart of my research and creating a presentation that sums it up and conveys my passion for it has actually fed that passion.”
Finalist Tona Pitt, a master’s student in Community Health Sciences in the Cumming School of Medicine, has already expressed interest in participating again in 2018. After making it to the finals in 2017, he wants to use what he’s learned to help people better understand the characteristics of collisions between drivers and child cyclists.
“I learned a lot about how to explain my research more clearly,” says Pitt. “My presentation skills are a lot crisper than when I came in, and hopefully next year those skills will continue to improve.”
Representing UCalgary at the Western Regional 3MT
Jaggi will represent the University of Calgary at the 2017 Western Regional Three Minute Thesis competition at the University of Saskatchewan on April 28. The public is invited to watch a livestream of the event and cast online ballots for a People’s Choice winner.
UCalgary3MT 2017 Winners
Aprami Jaggi, PhD student in Geoscience
Supervisors: Steve R. Larter, Thomas B.P. Oldenburg
Talk title: The Ultimate Fate of Oil in the Marine Environment Following Spillage
Nancy Adam, PhD student in Medicine — Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
Supervisors: Tara Beattie, Karl Riabowol
Talk title: The Aging Clock: Capping the Lifespan of our Cells
Third Place and People's Choice
Cynthia Kahl, master’s student in Medicine — Neuroscience
Supervisor: Frank P. MacMaster
Talk title: Turning Down the Tics: Using Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation as a Potential Treatment for Tourette's Syndrome in Children