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Communications - News at Medicine - April 2017 - PhDs On the Go

PhDs On the Go
April 10, 2017
Graduate Studies, CBC Radio bring doctoral research to public airwaves
(with files from the Gazette)

Completing a PhD takes years, but some Memorial doctoral students presented their research in just three minutes.
Through a partnership with the School of Graduate Studies and CBC Radio, two Faculty of Medicine PhD students were featured on CBC’s On the Go program, along with eight other Memorial students.
A pilot project, PhDs On the Go was designed to bring PhD research to the broader public. It is based on similar projects such as the Three Minute Thesis competition, UBC’s Public Scholar initiative and CBC Radio’s Ideas from the Trenches.

Research passion

PhDs On the Go was developed by Dr. Danine Farquharson, associate dean, School of Graduate Studies, and Ted Blades, host of On the Go.
Dr. Farquharson says the motivation behind the project is simple. “Graduate students at Memorial are passionate about their research, committed to their local and global communities, and devoted to a better future,” she said. “We simply wanted more people to know about their work and their ideas.”
PhD students at Memorial were invited to submit a pitch. A committee then selected 20 to audition for the 10 broadcast spots. The students came from medicine, sociology, engineering, biology, ethnomusicology, business, history and interdisciplinary fields.

The two Faculty of Medicine students included in the initiative were Vashti Campbell (right), a PhD student in the Division of Community Health and Humanities and Emma Quinlan (left) from the Department of Biomedical Sciences. They also presented their research at Memorial’s MUNbuttoned, a live event held at the Rocket Room in St. John’s recently as part of the Harris Centre’s festival of research.

Emma says she very much enjoyed the whole experience. "This was the first time I had to write about my PhD project for such a wide and general audience; it was somewhat difficult to take a step back and reevaluate my project in the eyes of someone who isn't as familiar with scientific terminology. That being said, it was invigorating to look at my work with a fresh pair of eyes, seeing as I've been neck-deep in it for almost four years."
"The MUNbuttoned event was nothing like I expected. I had expected it to be more informal, but I was pleasantly surprised at the set up they had upstairs in the Rocket," she added. "It was nice to finally meet the other PhDs and to hear more about their projects. All in all, I learned a lot from these experiences and I am very glad I participated."

Dr. Farquharson says the 10 students challenge established ideas while creating new opportunities. “The School of Graduate Studies hopes this program will offer our province a better understanding of the research our students are doing and celebrate with them.”

For more information about PhDs On the Go and to hear the presentations, visit the CBC website.

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