Lister Family Engaged Science Initiative

Macdonald Campus Student Competitor holding a microphone at the Lister Family Engaged Science 3-Minute Thesis CompetitionHelping researchers make their science accessible by teaching them to hone their content, physical presence, visuals and voice to effectively engage a variety of audiences.

For three years the generous gift of the late E. Edward, BSc(Agr)'55, MSc'57 and his wife, Teresa, has supported over 50 workshops and events offering dynamic science communication training to more than 240 Macdonald Campus students. Thanks to this continued generous contribution, the program will deepen its impact by collaborating with McGill's SKILLSETS team to bring graduate student peer instruction and coaching to an innovative suite of learning experiences improving the science presentation skills of Macdonald campus students.

For more information please contact ingrid.chiraz [at] mcgill.ca (Ingrid Chiraz) about:

Interested in a poster presentation workshop this semester? Let us know what you would like to learn in this short form!

Enjoyed one of our events? Get notified of upcoming Lister public events by signing up here.


Student Testimonials

Anikka Swaby a Masters student in the School of Human Nutrition

Anikka Swaby
MSc student in the School of Human Nutrition

To my fellow graduate students, I say “Take on the 3MT challenge!”, you will be surprised at how much you will push yourself and evolve your ability to get others excited about your science!

In Fall 2019 I entered the Macdonald Campus Lister Family Engaged Science 3MT Competition with a presentation on “How to keep our friendly gut bacteria happy”; I won 1st Place! The biggest take-away from my experience was how much I raised the bar for how I communicated my research. 
These sessions pushed me to tailor my content for a lay audience and work on various elements of stage presence. I was amazed that by competition day, I wanted to do much more with the allotted three minutes! I now wanted to tell an exciting and informative story about my work that would also transmit my passion for science and make a lasting impact on the audience. 
Even months later, people would pass me in the Mac hallways and say “Yes, I ate yogurt today!”. I was happy that they could recall what they heard and how they felt during those 3 minutes! I saw the same trend when I participated in the McGill-wide 3MT competition and presented at the finals. Overall, my participation and experience in the 3MT competition has made a lasting impact on my approach to science communication and I gained new skills that can be applied to future presentations. 

Vincent Desaulniers Brousseau a PhD candidate in Bioresource Engineering

Vincent Desaulniers Brousseau
PhD candidate in Bioresource Engineering

Anyone who is wondering if they can really benefit from participating in their activities has to ask themselves one question: “Have I ever had the undivided attention from a professional who is willing to help me give the best presentation on a subject that is dear to me?”

The Lister Family Engaged Science Initiative has helped me in honing my presentation skills. Not only have I had excellent mentorship from a very good mentor, Andrew, but I also was to have honest feedback about my presentation material.
Their collaborative approach really helps in bringing out the best in you. They have a personalized approach and really know how to put you at ease. This does not feel like a traditional workshop or class. I personally encourage anyone in the academic domain, undergraduate, graduate or even post-doctoral, to try their classes. I certainly did not regret it and had a memorable 3-minute thesis presentation.

Morgan Crowley a PhD candidate in Natural Resource Sciences

Morgan Crowley
PhD candidate in Natural Resource Sciences

The experience empowered me to speak about my research in a compelling and powerful story suitable for an audience of all backgrounds and ages.

In Winter 2020, I joined the Sustainability Through Science Symposium workshop and coaching series supported by the Lister Family Engaged Science Initiative. From January until March, myself and three other Macdonald Campus graduate students met weekly with Dr. Andrew Churchill to receive group and individual coaching to improve the impact of our symposium talks for the John Abbot College audience. After holding our in-person dress rehearsal, the organizers made the innovative decision to move these talks online so all could attend the symposium while in lockdown. After receiving additional coaching form Dr. Churchill, we were able to powerfully teach and present our research talks virtually to new audiences.
Through this training, my symposium talk and my confidence improved drastically. Additionally, other presentations that I have since given have improved because the 8-week training and virtual experience taught me how to highlight and streamline my message in a clear and memorable way. I would recommend workshops, coaching, and events sponsored by the Lister Family Engaged Science Initiative to other graduate students hoping to improve their research and outreach presentations and increase their confidence speaking!

Jacob Liberty a PhD candidate in Bioresource Engineering

Jacob Liberty
PhD candidate in Bioresource Engineering

Through the intensive, thorough and systematic training by the trainers (Dr. Andrew Churchill and Ms. Ingrid Chiraz), I have now been transformed from an unorganized and anxious presenter to a persuasive, stress-free and vocal orator by being a compelling storyteller instead of a boring presenter.

Participating in the 3MT Lister Family Initiative has considerably impacted my academic, professional, and personal life. I think it was one of the best decisions I have ever taken throughout my student life. I have always known that communication skill is an asset and makes up 50% of one’s life as a scientist since nobody cares what I know until I can clearly express it to others in an understandable manner but do not know how to obtain the skill practically. Generally, I know what to say but how to say it has been a big challenge, especially when time is allotted – as typical in most presentations. I have found that impression without expression equals frustration.
In my opinion, every graduate student should take this opportunity of free effective communication to a non-specialized audience very seriously and participate. I assure you that you will never regret it!

Mariam Saad a PhD candidate in Microbiology

Mariam Saad
PhD candidate in Microbiology

My advice, JUST DO IT! Participate in the 3MT. Take the opportunity to share your research because it matters and it is interesting or…(I hope) ,you wouldn’t be doing it in the first place.

As a graduate student there aren’t many opportunities for me to share my research with a BROAD audience. Conferences are one thing but you’re usually a little fish in a big pond and its easy to be overlooked. But when you participate in something like the 3MT, all eyes are on you. You get a platform to talk about your “baby” aka your research project AND a chance to win cash prizes which is great for your pocket and for your CV.
The real prize, however, is the exclusive opportunity to network. Not only did I meet amazing graduate students with life-changing projects that I now understood better, thanks to their 3MT but I got contacted for collaborations (which is huge in terms of academic and social currency). Thanks to the 3MT,I have met people ranging from scientists and government analysts to plumbers and building managers . All of whom are helping me to advance my career and its all because I spoke for 3 minutes. As someone who’s had her fair share of self-doubt and nerves, the 3MT is a huge confidence booster and extremely validating.

 


Current Events

Join us for a second edition of the Lister Science Chats!

  • The World of Parasites: Thursday May 27 @ 16h00
  • Improving Human Health: Wednesday June 2 @ 16h00

 

Interested in a poster presentation workshop this semester? Let us know what you would like to learn in this short form

Workshops and Other Services

Set Up Strategies for Online Presenting

Other videos on science communication and online presenting can be found on Dr. Andrew Churchill's YouTube Channel HoneCommunications

Online 101: Quick Tips

Online 101 Quick Tips logoQuick Tips is a 45-minute Zoom session designed to help people optimize their Zoom presentation strategies. Three topics will be covered: basic set-up issues such lighting, camera and body position; transforming PowerPoint for the online environment; engagement strategies to increase audience interaction. Whether you are prepping for an 8-minute research presentation or an hour long class lecture, you are sure to come away with some helpful tips that can increase your impact!

There will also be an additional 15-minute open Q&A at the end for people to ask questions to our Presentation Skills Director: Dr. Andrew Churchill who will be leading all 5 sessions. 

The workshops are hosted live on ZOOM. Advanced registration is required.

Winter 2021 semester:

  • Tuesday March 30 @ 4:00PM
  • Tuesday April 6 @ 4:00PM - CANCELED

McGill University Co-Curricular Record Approved logo

As a McGill student, your participation in this workshop will be automatically recognized on your co-curricular record (CCR)! Having your co-curricular activities listed in one document can help you revise your CV or cover letter, prepare for interviews, and explore career options. To learn more, please visit: https://www.mcgill.ca/involvement/myinvolvement

Workshops: Effective Presenting 101

Effective Presenting 101 logoThe Effective Presenting 101 Series takes you through each of the basic steps needed to present effectively: honing content and creating trajectory, designing effective visuals, and developing a dynamic presence. Together these skills combine to increase the comprehension, credibility and connection needed to maximize your impact when presenting.

The first workshop, Content Development, helps you understand how a framework to interrogate audience and purpose can help refine content so that is accessible, interesting, and strategic. Additionally, you will learn detailed hook strategies and sequencing strategies for everything from a 3-minute to a 1-hour long presentation.

The second workshop, Body Language & Voice, focuses on understanding how to develop a dynamic presence that will help you overcome public speaking nerves. You will learn to appear confident and credible to your audience, while increasing engagement and clarity.

The third workshop, Effective Visuals, explores how to use PowerPoint and other technology to effectively supplement your talk, without interfering with people’s experience of listening to you. Sample slides for everything from methodology overviews, to results, to effective hooks will be shared to give you ideas about how to effectively develop visuals for your next presentation.

These 45-minute workshops can be taken independently or as a series, depending on your needs and presentation goals. There will be an additional 15-minute Q&A at the end of the workshop for people to ask their questions. 

The workshops are hosted live on ZOOM. Advanced registration is required.

Winter 2021 semester:

  • Workshop #1 Content Development
    • Tuesday April 20 @ 4:00PM
  • Workshop #2 Body Language & Voice
    • Tuesday April 27 @ 4:00PM
  • Workshop #3 Effective Visuals
    • Tuesday May 4 @ 4:00PM

McGill University Co-Curricular Record Approved logoAs a McGill student, your participation in this workshop will be automatically recognized on your co-curricular record (CCR)! Having your co-curricular activities listed in one document can help you revise your CV or cover letter, prepare for interviews, and explore career options. To learn more, please visit: https://www.mcgill.ca/involvement/myinvolvement

Workshops: Conference Prep

Conference Presentation Preparation logoPresenting at a conference sometime this spring? It’s not too early to start preparing! The Lister Engaged Science Initiative is sponsoring a series of group workshops and individual coaching sessions with our trained team to help you prepare. For more information come to our initial information event (see link below) or email us at ingrid.chiraz [at] mcgill.ca.

Workshops: Public Speaking

Public Speaking 101 logoThe presentation workshop series covers basic building blocks identified by Dr. Churchill of developing effective presentation skills: body language, voice, visuals and attitude. Workshops can be as short as 45 minutes and cover a single topic, or as long as a half or full-day retreat.

Pitch Training

Pitch Training begins with a focus on developing the effective content needed in emerging competitive arenas such as the 3MT competition, grant funding, entrepreneurship, and business development competitions. Typically, a three or four session sequence is ideal.

For more information on how to schedule a pitch training session, please email ingrid.chiraz [at] mcgill.ca

Coaching

Coaching is done in groups of four or fewer and focuses on the final stages of presentation preparation and involves targeted specific feedback for each individual.

For more information on how to schedule a coaching session, please email ingrid.chiraz [at] mcgill.ca

Event Preparation

Event preparation is customized to the needs of event organizers with a focus on helping speakers understand the audience and purpose of the event and then translating that information to participants in a manner that helps them succeed in achieving these goals.

For more information on how to schedule a training session, please email ingrid.chiraz [at] mcgill.ca

Annual Events

USRA Poster Presentations - Fall 2020

USRA Poster Presentations logoThe original LFESI event, the USRA Poster Presentations has been running since 2017. The event features 25 summer research interns displaying the results of their three-month long work with a Mac campus professor. During the summer before this capstone event, there is a series of workshops designed to help the interns understand how to effectively develop and present a scientific research poster.

Congratulations to all of the Undergraduate Students and to the winners of the 2020 USRA Poster Presentations:

  • 1rst place: Rowena Groeneveld  for Modelling of a ligand gated ion channel from Caenorhabditis elegans experimentally shown to bind dopamine. Supervised by Robin Beech, Parasitology.
  • 2nd place: Jonathan Sangiovanni for Transcriptomic Profile of BaP in Japanese Quail and double-creted Cormorant. Supervised by Jessica Head, Natural Resource Sciences.
  • 3rd place: Alexandra Kerasias for Gut microbial biotransformation and first pass metabolism of anthocyanins from purple potato digests:  A metabolomic approach to indentify bioavailable microbial anthocyanin metabolites. Supervised by Stan Kubow, School of Human Nutrition.
  • 4th place: Catherine Bergeron for Differentiation of Garlic cultivars Growing in Quebec Using Phenotypic and Genotypic Traits. Supervised by J.B. Charron, Plant Science.

Lister Family Engaged Science 3-Minute Thesis Competition - Fall 2020

Lister Family Engaged Science 3-Minute Thesis logoSince 2017, the LFESI and SKILLSETS have combined efforts to support the Lister Family Engaged Science 3-Minute Thesis Competition. This event, along with its pre-training program, is focused on helping graduate students learn how to communicate their science in a compelling, accessible manner to a general audience.

“To my fellow graduate students, I say “Take on the 3MT challenge!”, you will be surprised at how much you will push yourself and evolve your ability to get others excited about your science!” – Anikka Swaby, MSc student in School of Human Nutrition & 1st place winner in the 2019 Macdonald Campus 3MT Competition

A series of 1-hour workshops and coaching sessions will be offered to competitors throughout October and November. The purpose of these workshops is to help competitors develop their talks working alongside each other with professional coaching from the Lister Presentation Training Director and past successful competitors. In addition to the workshops, individual practice sessions will be scheduled in the two weeks prior to the event.

Congratulations to all of the presenters and to the winners of the 2020 Competition!

  • 1st place & People's Choice Winner: Mikhaela Neelin, MSc student (Natural Resource Sciences - Dr. Humphries)
  • 2nd place: Ana Madrigal, PhD candidate (Institute of Parasitology - Dr. Lopes)
  • 3rd place: Meryem Talbo, (School of Human Nutrition - Dr. Brazeau) 

 


McGill University Co-Curricular Record Approved logoAs a McGill student, your participation in this event will be automatically recognized on your co-curricular record (CCR)! Having your co-curricular activities listed in one document can help you revise your CV or cover letter, prepare for interviews, and explore career options. To learn more, please visit: https://www.mcgill.ca/involvement/myinvolvement

NEW! John Abbott Sustainability Through Science Symposium - April 7, 2021

Sustainability Through Science Symposium logoHeld in partnership with the John Abbott College Science Department,The Sustainability Through Science Symposium features Macdonald Campus graduate students giving an engaging 12-15 minute talk about how their research contributes to our understanding of how to create a more sustainable future.

The talks will be followed by a panel discussion with the presenters and end with a Q&A period.

UPCOMING EVENT:
Wednesday April 7, 2021 from 5:00PM to 6:00PM - Online. Learn more...


McGill University Co-Curricular Record Approved logoAs a McGill student, your participation in this event will be automatically recognized on your co-curricular record (CCR)! Having your co-curricular activities listed in one document can help you revise your CV or cover letter, prepare for interviews, and explore career options. To learn more, please visit: https://www.mcgill.ca/involvement/myinvolvement

Lister Science Chats - Spring 2021

Lister Science Chats logoThe Lister Science Chats  connects members of the community through live science talks with researchers from the McGill Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. These chats feature Macdonald Campus graduate students giving an engaging 10-minute talk on their research and conclude with a Q&A period.  

 

An article on the April 2020 series has been published in the Focus on Macdonald May 2020 Issue: "Macdonald Campus Graduate Students Transcend the Boundaries of Social Distancing Through the Lister Science Chats!"


McGill University Co-Curricular Record Approved logoAs a McGill student, your participation in this event will be automatically recognized on your co-curricular record (CCR)! Having your co-curricular activities listed in one document can help you revise your CV or cover letter, prepare for interviews, and explore career options. To learn more, please visit: https://www.mcgill.ca/involvement/myinvolvement

Past Events

View Past Events

For a complete list of past events provided by the Lister Family Engaged Science Initiative, please click here.

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