Atia Amin continues her winning run at national 3MT lightning talk showcase

Human genetics researcher moves on to represent Canada against North America’s best

McGill graduate student Atia Amin has won the People’s Choice Award at the Canadian National Three Minute Thesis (3MT) Showcase, eclipsing a field of regional finalists at the Sheraton Hotel in Montreal on November 2. Now, she will go a step further, representing Canada at the North American 3MT showcase to be held at the annual meeting of the Council of Graduate Schools in San Francisco on December 10.

Atia Amin’s winning presentation was on leishmaniasisHaque Ishfaq

Originating at the University of Queensland in Australia in 2008, the 3MT competition invites graduate students from all disciplines to hone their communication and storytelling skills by distilling their research into a three-minute talk suitable for a non-specialist audience.

The topic of Amin’s winning presentation was her research on leishmaniasis, a little-known tropical disease estimated to affect around 1 million people every year with potentially life-threatening consequences. She captured the audience’s attention by telling the story of a victim of the disease in her home country, Bangladesh.

“At least 20,000 to 30,000 people die every year due to leishmaniasis, but most people do not know about it because it mostly affects poor countries in the world,” Amin explains.

“I gave this disease an image by telling the true story of a young girl that the audience could relate to right away. Then I explained my research with a simple, easy-to-understand example.”

Amin’s win at the national event follows her first-place performances at the 3MT Eastern Regional Finals in June and McGill’s in-house 3MT competition in April.

Amin’s Ph.D. supervisor, Professor David Langlais in the Departments of Human Genetics and Microbiology & Immunology, was among the first to congratulate her.

“Atia’s presentation gave a voice to the victims of leishmaniasis, a devastating parasitic disease affecting millions of people in some of the poorest populations,” Langlais said. “The whole lab is so proud of her!”

McGill support every step of the way

As she prepares for the next step in her almost year-long 3MT odyssey, Amin credits the support of her supervisor Langlais and her lab mates who served as a practice audience, as well as Andrew Churchill for the presentation skills coaching he provided through SKILLSETS in McGill’s Teaching and Learning Services (TLS). All McGill students who participate in 3MT/MT180 gain valuable insights into how to share their research with the general public through an intensive communication and presentation skills training program delivered under the SKILLSETS banner.

“Students go through training and practice sessions, where they develop their research communication skills, including crafting their talk, body language and voice,” explains TLS Skills Development Officer, Mithura Sanmugalingam. “We provide further individual coaching for finalists and students who move on to regional and national competitions.”

Graduate students: Sign up for 2023!

At McGill, meanwhile, preparations are underway for next year’s Three Minute Thesis/Ma thèse en 180 secondes (3MT/MT180) competition. Graduate students across all disciplines, from humanities and social sciences to STEM, are encouraged to follow the lead of Atia Amin or Ylauna Penalva, the neuroscience Ph.D. student who was this year’s MT180 winner at McGill before going on to achieve third place at the national finals hosted by the Association francophone pour le savoir (Acfas).

Save the date for McGill’s 3MT/MT180 final on Wednesday, March 29, 2023, and stay tuned for registration which opens in December.

Learn more about 3MT/MT180 at McGill

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