Carly Cameron has found her comfort zone when standing in front of audiences and talking about her research.In April, Cameron, a master’s student in Applied Health Sciences, gave a flawless presentation at Brock’s Three Minute Thesis® (3MT®) Contest to place first. She was on her game again at the Ontario competition where she was one of five presenters to advance to the 3MT® Canadian finals and was also selected as the winner of the Participant’s Choice Award.She wrapped up her 3MT® streak with this week’s announcement that she was the winner of the national People’s Choice Award.“I wasn’t always comfortable speaking in public. This has been a challenge for me in the past,” she says. “My master’s studies allowed me to work on these skills through conferences and presentations, helping me to feel more comfortable and confident in front of a crowd.”Cameron, who is from Caledon, Ont., will receive her degree this week during Brock’s Spring Convocation ceremonies. After defending her thesis last fall, she accepted a position as a Research Ethics Officer in Brock’s Office of Research Services.“I realized that once I had defended my thesis, I wouldn’t have as many opportunities to participate in conferences and present my research,” she says. “The contest gave me a chance to keep telling people my story.”Cameron’s research investigates ways to make the gym setting a more comfortable and less critical place for women. In her presentation, ““Mirror, Mirror on the Wall…,” Cameron explains that societal pressures to appear slim and beautiful may initially cause many women to be anxious when they view their reflection during workouts. But when those women use the mirror to develop correct techniques and form during exercise, that anxiety disappears.As part of her 3MT® preparations, Cameron attended several communications and presentation workshops offered by Research Services and the Faculty of Graduate Studies through its VITAE Essential Skills program.“The communications workshops were extremely helpful,” she says. “It gave me a chance to brainstorm my ideas for the presentation with students who were not from my discipline. It helped me to break down more complex terminology that we use in our field.“After one of the workshops I went home really motivated and spent the evening writing my script. I thought very carefully about the unique aspects of my research that make it current and that people would relate to — that’s when I came up with the references, for example, to Kim Kardashian and taking selfies.”“I really benefited from the Performing the Text Workshop that was held in ahead of Brock’s 3MT® preliminary round in February. There was lots of advice and tips on the writing structure and how to approach the 3MT® from a performance lens versus our usual academic presentations.”Cameron also found it helpful to orient herself with the presentation venues.“Before the final round at Brock I went to the mezzanine at Plaza 400 and spent a few minutes in the environment,” she says. “When I arrived at the venue for the Ontario finals in Waterloo, I made a point of going up on the stage for a minute or two to become familiar with the room.”Cameron says 3MT® has been a fantastic experience on both a personal and academic level.“It was wonderful to meet other students who were involved in the contest,” she says. “As a graduate student you find yourself becoming absorbed in your work and your field. By being part of 3MT®, you get a chance to talk with students from other programs and to realize the range of research under way here at Brock and at universities across the province.“I encourage people to seize opportunities such as this, which push you outside your comfort zone — you’ll be surprised at what you can accomplish.”Videos of Brock’s 3MT® finals, held at the 2016 Mapping the New Knowledges Graduate Student Research Conference, are now posted online.