Lister Family Engaged Science Initiative

3 minute Thesis - 3 training workshops

Macdonald Campus 3 Minute Thesis with McGill SKILLSETS 

This three-part interactive workshop series is held on Macdonald Campus (R3-011).  Please sign up with the intention of participating in all 3 workshops.  You will be coached individually and in small teams to develop and practice delivering your presentation.  Students attending this training will compete in the Lister Family Engaged Science FAES 3MT Competition January 11, 2018 and will be prepared to participate in the McGill 3MT Competition in the Spring of 2018.  Winners of the McGill competition will be selected to represent McGill at the CAGS 3MT Eastern regional finals, and concours ACFAS Ma thèse en 180 secondes.

Wednesday, November 22  3-4pm  3MT Info session

Wednesday, November 29  3-4pm  3MT Coaching round table

Wednesday, December 6  3-4pm  Creating a winning 3MT application



Lister Family Engaged Science 3MT Competition (Macdonald Campus)

  • Save the date:   JANUARY 11, 2018  

WATCH Mariam Saad's 2017 Mac campus 3MT winning presentation


Launching the next generation of engaged scientists

Thanks to the generosity of E. Edward Lister, BSc(Agr)’55, MSc’57, and his wife, Teresa, the Lister Family Engaged Science Initiative is cultivating the communication skills of Macdonald students and faculty, enabling them to make more effective contributions to public conversations and policy decisions.

Workshop 1 - Photography - October 30, 2017



From gestalt to

copyright law by way of

photography composition basics,

Avi opened our eyes to

the power of shape arrangements

to command our attention. 


TWO sessions on Mac campus (MS2-022) to improve your science photos with professional photographer and instructor Avi Charszan of redbuttonPHOTO.

Monday, October 30, 12 - 1 pm   Photography Session 1

Vocabulary associated with principals of design and composition; examination of examples (from the instructor); techniques to improve raw data capture; understand copyright law, photography consent and safety

Monday, November 6, 12 - 1pm  Photography Session 2

Using student photographs, vocabulary associated with digital file types and manipulation of images to suit a variety of contexts keeping principles of design in mind (re-sizing, cropping, maintaining appropriate resolution); transforming images/data graphics for websites, Facebook, Twitter, posters, newsletters, etc.


ONE interactive workshop on photography under the microscope on Mac campus

Expose the inner workings of the microscopic world

Hands on introduction to the basics of microscopy: physics of light, microscope components and adjustment, pixels, resolution, image capture and processing.   Participants are encouraged to bring their own samples to observe and photograph under the microscopes.  Please contact youssef.chebli [at] (subject: Microscopy%20session%20-%20Nov%207%20-%20Query) (Youssef Chebli)  for assistance concerning samples or sample preparation.

Tuesday, November 7, noon - 1 pm    Room:  MSB-032


Lister Family Engaged Science Storytelling with Confabulation​Storytelling with Confabulation

"Recent breakthroughs in neuroscience reveal that our brain is hardwired to respond to story; the pleasure we derive from a tale well told is nature's way of seducing us into paying attention to it." -Lisa Cron, Wired for Story

FOUR consecutive interactive STORYTELLING sessions were held with Matt Goldberg, founder of Confabulation:  Wednesdays 12-13:30pm Oct. 4, 11, 18 and 25.

What does storytelling have to do with science?

As an art form, oral-tradition storytelling is among the oldest forms of human expression. However, as it feels like something we all can do, we rarely think of it as an art – as a skill to work on. Sure, we tell stories casually, at parties, among family members or at work -- but storytelling can be a much deeper, more powerful art form. We all feel that it is something we can instinctively just do. With practice and preparation, this art form can be so much more.

Storytelling is a transferable skill-set which can help researchers to express and explain complicated or personal ideas. As academics, it can help us attract funding, and to engage with students. It helps us defend our ideas, by helping us to develop our presentation skills, giving us a space to be both professional and human. Storytelling is a way to share the ideas that are most important to us, in a medium that is both accessible, and enjoyable for both the teller and the audience. Using analogy and narrative as a way to get people to understand an idea is an excellent way to make a resonant point. This has been an issue with key ideas of our time – from evolution to climate change, scientific truth needs advocates who can speak in a common, personal language.

The goal of this workshop series is to help you learn to tell your story -- to tell the world about your interest, your passion, your work. One good story can do more than you think. This workshop will help you learn how.

Lister Events Summer 2017

LFESI-USRA workshop 2017

McGill Teaching and Learning Services Skills Sets teams up with the NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Award winners and McGill Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Beiler Family Internship students to develop students' science communication in the Skills for Today series.

  • Workshop #1:  Communicating Science - Engaging Presentations (June 7, 2017)

The room was a-buzz with conversation and the students responded enthusiastically to Dr. Andrew Churchill’s role play.  This workshop focused on adopting a confident, authentic and lively persona to tell your research story.

  • Workshop #2:  Scientific Posters - Engaging Your Audience (June 14, 2017)

Week 2 and students were applying last week's checklist to a group of scientific posters:  APOS - Know your Audience; Target your Purpose; Organize your story; Deliver it with Style

  • Workshop #3:  Creating short scientific videos (June 21, 2017)

Lister Family Engaged Science Activities 2016


Lister Family Engaged Science 3MT Competition


All of the participants in the inaugural Lister Family Engaged Science Initiative 3-Minute Thesis (3MT) Competition are to be congratulated on a job well done! Finalists (left to right) include PhD candidate Salam Habib from the School of Dietetics and Human Nutrition ( Second place; Supervisor: L. Agellon) , MSc candidate Mariam Saad (First place and recipient of the People’s Choice Award; Supervisor: S.Faucher, ) and PhD candidate Mi Lin of the Department of Natural Resource Sciences (Third place; Supervisor: E. Bennett).


Three Minute Thesis

A hands-on research communication workshop series.  Participants learn how to effectively present their research in 3 minutes to a non-specialist audience. 














Talking it up without dumbing it down

A three part workshop for graduate students covering Creating a Research Narrative, Oral Presentation Skills and Visual Aids in Research Communication. Offered by Skillsets.  More info on this program.

Food For Thought Lecture Series

The Food for thought Lecture Series just ended a highly successfully 17th season, themed “Myth-busting in scientific controversies: where’s the evidence”. For the first time in the series history, graduate students joined faculty experts on stage. 

More info

Affiliated Events 2016

Wikipedia edit-a-thon: Women in agriculture

October 26, 2016

In celebration of Open Access Week and Wikipedia Year of Science, the Macdonald Campus Library will be the location for a women in agriculture wikipedia edit-a-thon. This edit-a-thon will focus on editing, improving and writing Wikipedia content about women who contributed to agriculture and environmental sciences. If you’ve ever wanted to learn how to fix a typo, add a citation or create a whole new article, then this is the workshop for you.

Big words, big misunderstandings: communicating science to the public

September 22, 2016

Science is everywhere. Yet, contradictory information abounds regarding scientific issues and topics. To bridge this gap between conflicting perceptions and current scientific knowledge, more and more scientists are trying to make science more accessible through different means. Five Mac scientists will discuss the importance of science outreach and communication especially to the wider public. They will also share the tools (social and traditional media, blogs and websites, podcasts, etc.) they have used, and the activities (interviews, educational activities, public lectures, etc.) they participated in. 

Suggestions or Comments?

We welcome your feedback!  Please contact margaret.forrest [at] (subject: Lister%20Family%20Engaged%20Science%20Initiative%20Feedback) (Margaret Forrest) with any ideas, thoughts, or suggestions you may have regarding Lister Engaged Science Initiative programming.