Emily Tetzlaff wins 3-Minute Thesis competition at LU

If Emily Tetzlaff has anything to say about it, mining and industrial deaths will someday be a thing of the past.

To 'save some lives is the ultimate goal,' says Laurentian University thesis contest winner

Emily Tetzlaff is a first-year Master of Human Kinetics student, and the winner of the Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition held at Laurentian University. (Markus Schwabe/CBC)

If Emily Tetzlaff has anything to say about it, mining and industrial deaths will someday be a thing of the past. 

The first year Masters student at Laurentian University just won the Three Minute Thesis competition (3MT) with a pitch to comb through decades of reports on health and safety failures around the world — and start pulling out the common threads to come up with some answers. 

Using a special software program that scans and analyzes large quantities of text "to identify the high level concepts," Tetzlaff thinks she will be able to isolate both gaps and successes in industrial safety practices. 

"Perhaps in Australia, they've created a solution," she explained. "But we may not have implemented the same thing here. So, it's almost a sharing of knowledge." 

Tetzlaff said a preliminary scan of the thousands of pages she's currently working with show that the issue of workplace fatigue only came up four times — perhaps an area that deserves more research. 

"Ultimately ... I could bring it to the Ministry of Labour and say, 'These are the things that are stagnating implementation — we need to move forward on this'." 

With her win at the 3MT competition at Laurentian, Tetzlaff now goes on to compete provincially at Wilfred Laurier University. But, she said her aspirations for this project go beyond just making the next pitch. 

"Save some lives is the ultimate goal."

Listen to the complete interview with Emily Tetzlaff here

3MT or Three Minute Thesis is a challenge that requires university students to summarize their thesis in a three minute pitch. Students at Laurentian were offered the opportunity to compete. The CBC's Markus Schwabe spoke with competitor Emily Tetzlaff. 5:54

The first-place winner receives $1,500 and an all-expenses paid trip to the CAGS annual conference.


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