imagine you had three minutes and the use of a
single slide to describe your complex academic
work in simple terms to a lay audience. Where
would you even begin?
Joseph Donohue, a master’s student in bio-
chemical engineering at Western University,
took the direct approach. “Everybody poops,”
he states at the beginning of his presentation
describing a design for a more efficient sewage-
treatment system intended for use in remote
communities. Mr. Donohue was the first-place
winner in Canada’s inaugural, national Three-
Minute Thesis, or 3MT, competition organized
this past spring by the Canadian Association
for Graduate Studies.
Second place went to Kyle Massia, a master’s
student of history at Saint Mary’s University,
with his presentation on Ampelmann, the East-German pedestrian traffic-light figure whose
changing shape over the years mirrored broader political and cultural changes in that country.
The people’s choice winner was Kirk Luther, a
Canada holds inaugural, nation-wide
Ode à la nature
The ripple effect
A double discovery for fossil hunter
The audacity of … doing good
Campus Ici et là Here and there
PhD candidate in psychology at Memorial Uni-
versity who explored the best practices used by
law enforcement officials when interviewing
children who are victims or witnesses of crime.
The 3MT competition originated at Austra-
lia’s University of Queensland in 2008 and has
since spread around the world. CAGS decided to
test-drive the idea nationally after several prov-
inces ran their own contests in previous years.
Participants first competed at their own in-
stitutions and winners advanced to regional
championships in which 36 graduate schools
took part. Videotaped presentations by 11 fi-
nalists were judged by a panel of three: Nobel
laureate John Polanyi, CBC journalist Kady
O’Malley, and Doug Peers, dean of arts at the
University of Waterloo. – rosanna tamburri
Western University student Joseph Donohue takes first place out of 11 finalists
Joseph Donohue (at right)
and his design for a Circulating
Fluidized Bed Bioreactor.