Other than a substantial cash prize, UBC Okanagan’s annual Three Minute Thesis gives graduate students a unique way to share academic endeavours with a larger audience.
Three minutes is not a lot of time when it comes to presenting a research topic that’s potentially taken up years of mental energy. The 3MT presentations limit students to a single PowerPoint slide and they are not allowed to use props or aids.
The winner could take home cash prize, but two contestants see the 3MT as a chance for more than academic progress.
While the prize is appealing, Richard Amante, one of eight finalists in the 2019 3MT, is taking the opportunity to improve his social skills.
“It’s more like a practice for my public speaking. I hope it’ll give me a little more confidence for speaking English in front of people,” said Amante.
Originally from Brazil, Amante moved to Kelowna almost two years ago to attend school in a medium size city, where he can study, bike and hike. Studying for his master of fine arts, Amante knows his presentation will be different from the presentations from the other participants.
“It’s just for the joy of the competition, as a writer my research is a little different as it’s mainly artistic, and will be hard to explain in three minutes,” said Amante.
“I think it’s fun though, and I’m a little nervous but I’ve been practising and getting help from friends to help express myself better.”
Amante said he hopes the practice and fine-tuning of his public speaking will help him stay in Kelowna, where he’s applied for his PhD, and has been looking for work to help him stay in the city he’s come to love.
Cassidy Wallis, who will also be competing in the 3MT final, hopes it will help her prepare for the world outside of school.
“In academia, we get used to writing in a certain way, the 3MT is a great opportunity to share and convey our research to the general public, which I think is important,” said Wallis.
Wallis is working towards her Masters in Psychology and will present research on childhood abuse.
“It will be a great opportunity to help publicizes the agency I’ve been working with, the Child Advocacy Centre of Kelowna and work towards qualifying for an academic career, because I want to be a professor.”
Three minutes and no available help, Wallis is acceptive of the challenges, and is ready to overcome them.
“You really have to deliver, there’s no time to blank and then recover. I get a little stage fright, but it is a good opportunity to practice. I’m excited, but I’ll be a little relieved when it’s over,” said Wallis.
The winner of this year’s UBC Okanagan 3MT will go on to compete at the Western Regional 3MT competition, hosted by the University of Northern B.C. on April 17.
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