U of G Film Wins Top Prize in NSERC’s ‘Science, Action!’ Competition


Turning complex science into a one-minute film is no easy feat, but University of Guelph students wowed the judges of the Science, Action! film competition run by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) of Canada.

The top 15 student-produced videos telling the best science stories won cash prizes and a chance to be featured in museum exhibits, science fairs and the Science Odyssey and Science Literacy Week.

U of G master of science candidate Hayley Tompkins placed first overall and won $3,500 with The Buzz About Bees.

Produced with grad student Aaron Fairweather, the film showcases Tompkins’s research on the use of artificial nest boxes to study nesting habits and colony development of wild bumblebees. Her research is supported by NSERC and the research lab of environmental sciences professor Nigel Raine along with Wildlife Preservation Canada.

Competition runners-up included Secret Sociality by PhD candidate Erin Siracusa and Fresh Fruits Forever by master’s student Shanthanu Krishnakumar.

Along with Prof. Andrew McAdam, Department of Integrative Biology, Siracusa is investigating the importance of social interactions in behaviour and fitness of an ‘asocial’ species. Her research is part of the Kluane Red Squirrel Project, a long-term, collaborative research initiative in southwest Yukon.

Krishnakumar, a master’s student with Prof. Gopi Paliyath in the Department of Plant Agriculture, has shown that applying hexanal can lengthen the shelf life of nectarines by two weeks. He aims to reduce food waste, enhance food security and ensure quality fruit.

Last year, Krishnakumar won the top prize and the People’s Choice Award at the Canadian Association of Graduate Studies 3-Minute Thesis contest.

The second-place winner in Science, Action!’s French section is Laval University student Sabrina Rondeau for her film Un allié au secours des abeilles. She will join U of G’s Nigel Raine Lab to begin her PhD in the fall.