Master’s student captures top prize at UBCO’s 3MT final

Event winner Robyn Thomas and runner-up Elizabeth Houghton with Dr. Peter Simpson, dean of the College of Graduate Studies, Katrina Plamondon, featured speaker and assistant professor, and Dr. Lesley Cormack, UBC Okanagan Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Principal.

Event winner Robyn Thomas and runner-up Elizabeth Houghton with Dr. Peter Simpson, dean of the College of Graduate Studies, Katrina Plamondon, featured speaker and assistant professor, and Dr. Lesley Cormack, UBC Okanagan Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Principal.

Finalists raced against the clock to present their work in a winning way

A compelling presentation of a topic all too familiar to some secured the top spot at yesterday’s eighth annual UBC Okanagan Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition.

For her winning presentation, Robyn Thomas spoke about the challenges family caregivers of children with medical complexity face. Thomas, a Master of Arts student in Interdisciplinary Graduate Studies, captivated judges with her thesis, “Developing the role of the volunteer in supporting family caregivers of children living with medical complexity: A Delphi Study.”

She took home first place and the top prize of $3,000. It wasn’t just the judges who were inspired by Thomas’ presentation, though. Thomas also won over audience member’s hearts, taking home the alumniUBC People’s Choice award.

“I’m honoured to have won this competition alongside so many brilliant graduate student researchers,” says Thomas, a master’s student in the Irving K. Barber Faculty of Arts and Social Science. “It’s exciting to know that community members are interested in my research and I look forward to future opportunities to share my results and findings and make an impact.”

UBC Okanagan’s popular 3MT competition returned this year in an all-new live virtual format, which saw eight graduate students explain years of research in just three minutes to a general audience.

Dr. Katrina Plamondon began the event with her inspiring talk “Walking a Path Toward Equitable Futures,” which discussed using research to move all of society toward collective futures that are more beautiful, more connected and more equitable.

Biology Master of Science student Elizabeth Houghton was awarded second place and $2,000 for her presentation, “Influence of postharvest deficit irrigation on sweet cherry cold hardiness in the Okanagan Valley.”

“I really enjoyed having the opportunity to share my research with others through this competition,” says Houghton. “Condensing my research into three minutes has taught me important skills that will help me throughout my graduate degree.”

As the winner of the 3MT final, Thomas will represent UBC Okanagan in the virtual Western Regional Three Minute Thesis competition on May 13, 2021.

From there, the top three presenters will win an opportunity to compete in the national competition, hosted by the Canadian Association of Graduate Studies.

2021 UBC Okanagan 3MT winners

Robyn Thomas, winner of the 2021 UBC Okanagan Three Minute Thesis Final.

Robyn Thomas, winner of the 2021 UBC Okanagan Three Minute Thesis Final.

Robyn Thomas

Presentation title: Developing the role of the volunteer in supporting family caregivers of children living with medical complexity: A Delphi Study.

Robyn Thomas is a Master of Arts student in Interdisciplinary Graduate Studies, under the community engagement, social change and equity theme. She is also a research assistant with the Health, Ethics and Diversity Lab at UBCO. She intends to explore the barriers and facilitators that family caregivers of children with medical complexity face when engaging with external support systems. Thomas’s research aims to develop a volunteer navigation program focused on improving the quality of life of caregivers and their children.

Elizabeth Houghton, runner-up of the 2021 UBC Okanagan Three Minute Thesis Final.

Elizabeth Houghton, runner-up of the 2021 UBC Okanagan Three Minute Thesis Final.

Elizabeth Houghton

Presentation title: Influence of postharvest deficit irrigation on sweet cherry cold hardiness in the Okanagan Valley

Elizabeth Houghton is a Master of Science candidate in the Biology Department. Working with local commercial cherry growers, she is researching the impact of postharvest deficit irrigation on sweet cherry growth, phenology, and cold hardiness. Through her research, Houghton aims to help enhance the local cherry industry’s resilience to climate change and at the same time contribute to improving water management in the Okanagan Valley.

About UBC’s Okanagan campus

UBC’s Okanagan campus is an innovative hub for research and learning founded in 2005 in partnership with local Indigenous peoples, the Syilx Okanagan Nation, in whose territory the campus resides. As part of UBC-ranked among the world’s top 20 public universities-the Okanagan campus combines a globally recognized UBC education with a tight-knit and entrepreneurial community that welcomes students and faculty from around the world in British Columbia’s stunning Okanagan Valley.

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