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UNB’s 2020 3MT Competition and winner, Joanne LeBlanc-Haley

Author: Trystan Carter

Posted on Jun 5, 2020

Category: News and Events , Student Stories


For many students, the Three Minute Thesis Competition, more commonly known as 3MT, is an excellent opportunity to not only workshop their research direction, but also a great way to develop their public speaking and presentation skills. Although 3MT tends to be an in-person event, moving the competition online didn’t prevent this year’s competitors from wowing the judges and impressing their peers, and no one excelled more than this year’s winner, Joanne LeBlanc-Haley.

Please take some time to read Joanne’s own perspective on the experience of preparing for and participating in the 3MT below, and watch her winning presentation!

My name is Joanne LeBlanc-Haley and, this February, I successfully defended my doctoral dissertation, A Storytelling Voyage: Searching for Storytelling Spaces in Classrooms, in the Faculty of Education under the supervision of Dr. Sherry Rose. My research question, where are the storytelling spaces in classrooms, was shaped by personal and professional experiences. As a teacher with more than forty years of experience in public education, I was interested in exploring the role of storytelling in literacy pedagogy. Also, my passion for storytelling had an early beginning and lives in my journey from a child in an oral storytelling family to a student who storied myself into many military and public schools, to an educator working in various roles, as parent and grandparent, and, during my recent Ph.D. adventure.

Following my defense, and encouraged by Dr. Ellen Rose, I decided to participate in UNB’s 3-Minute Thesis competition. Having only three minutes forced me to sift, sort, select, and synopsize the critical components of my research - a learning process in itself. As a storyteller, it was a challenge for me to present in the time allocated. I am used to engaging with listeners who, without realizing it, help shape the tale as it is being told. Each telling is unique and strict timing takes a back seat to the creation of the storytelling experience. However, I was fortunate to have UNB faculty coaches and the other participants to help me with this challenge and offer additional feedback. The coaches created a collegial and supportive space where we were willing to take risks. Equally important was the opportunity to meet talented and passionate UNB students from various disciplines. The experience also introduced me to the variety of research being conducted at UNB.

Little did I know how the arrival of Covid 19 would end those sessions and challenge me to complete the 3MT competition by submitting the final presentation online! I was disappointed that I would not hear the other participants deliver their final versions, and we would not be together as a group to celebrate each other’s presentations. As well, I know that the faculty coaches, who were so generous with their time and expertise, would have been thanked, and so, I wish to extend a sincere thank-you to them.

It was a privilege to be part of this event and an honor to be selected as the winner of this year’s 3MT competition. When next year’s 3MT event is advertised, I strongly encourage you to participate and tell your research story.