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Wilfrid Laurier University Leaf
August 22, 2017
Canadian Excellence

Competition winner Cory Scurr with Joan Norris, dean: Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies at Laurier.
Competition winner Cory Scurr with Joan Norris, dean: Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies at Laurier.

Headlines (Campus Updates)

Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies

Doctoral History student Cory Scurr wins Three Minute Thesis competition

Communications, Public Affairs & Marketing

Mar 6/14

Cory Scurr, a doctoral student in History, won Laurier’s second-annual Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) competition, which was held March 4 in the Paul Martin Centre on the Waterloo campus.  

The 3MT® competition gives graduate students just three minutes and a single static PowerPoint slide to present their research to a panel of non-specialist judges, who evaluate how effectively the students communicate their research. The panel selected Scurr’s presentation as the winner, “Cold War Warrior? Diefenbaker and Canadian-Soviet Relations”, from a field of 26 Laurier doctoral and masters students, who presented research from a wide range of disciplines. 

“It was a challenging but really fun experience,” said Scurr, who received a $1,000 prize. “An opportunity like this allows you to show that you can take complex and seemingly unrelated issues and information and make them accessible. Not to mention the public-speaking skills, which are always good to refine.”  

Runner up Scott Mitchell’s (MSc, Biology) presentation, “Zombies in Bacterial Genomes”, earned him a $500 prize. Both Scurr and Mitchell will represent Laurier at the Ontario 3MT® competition at McMaster University April 24. 

Honourable mentions went to Alanna Riordan (MSc, Kinesiology) for her presentation, “Who am I? The Journey of Athletic Injury”, and Janice Edwards (PhD, History) for her research, “Mau Mau and Mississippi: Rights and Race in the Cold War World.” Both Riordan and Edwards received $250 prizes. 

"I'm proud of our graduate student researchers who participated in the 3MT® competition,” said Joan Norris, dean: Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. “Today’s 3MT® demonstrated the high level of our graduate researchers and their importance to the community.”

The contest’s judges were: Cathy Brothers (MSW ‘69), the executive director in residence at Capacity Waterloo Region; David Fedy, a lawyer with Kitchener firm McCarter Grespan; Matthew Smith (BSc ‘95), an associate professor of biology and associate dean in the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies at Laurier; and Jennifer Tedman-Jones, director of business development for nonprofit research organization Mitacs. 

The 3MT® competition was first held in 2008 at The University of Queensland in Queensland, Australia. It has since spread to 18 countries, including Canada, Hong Kong, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States. Laurier’s 3MT® was organized by Laurier’s Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies and Writing Centre, with support provided by the Graduate Students' Association through the Graduate Enhancement Fund.

Videos of the four finalists’ presentations will be available online soon. For more information on the Three Minute Thesis competition at Laurier, visit


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