By : Ellie Greenspan
Above: Winners Dominique and Naomi, respectively.
The MSWI SciComm Case Competition 2023 has come to a close and if you could not make the incredible symposium event, here are the winners of the competition:
1st place (150$): The Baobabes. Dominique Lumley and Naomi Askenazi
2nd place (80$): Lamarck Lovers. Jacob Van Oorschot and Cara Flynn
co-3rd place (45$): PoSciEDUn. Saiyara Islam, Bianca Pozzebon and Mike Zhang
co-3rd place (45$) : Dar-Winners. James Wang, Emma Arnell and Anna Tripier.
The whole MSWI team was in awe by the amazing projects that were presented during the symposium.
Dominique Lumley and Naomi Askenazi were our SciComm 2023 first place winners! Their team was titled The Baobabes. I asked them both their zodiac signs and some words to describe them. Dominique is an Aeries, she would describe herself as thoughtful and Naomi would describe her as meticulous. Naomi is a gemini, she would describe herself as creative and Dominique would describe her as unusual (in the best way:). They both just completed their bachelor degrees, Dominique in neuroscience and Naomi in cognitive science. They joined the SciComm competition because they both became interested in science communication through different courses at McGill.
In their project, the first place winners tried to bridge the gap between the personal experience and hard science. Dominique says that, “[she] thinks [her] biggest takeaway from this project… is the idea that what we currently consider to be symptoms of psychopathology could very well be the aftermath of healthy adaptations following early life adversity. If this is true, it would not only explain the well-established association between early life experiences and later life pathologies, but could also change our perspective on mental illness, parenting, and the role of the psychiatrist, forever.” Naomi continues to express that, “it was really interesting doing research on the different evolutionary models scientists use to explain maladaptive traits - the theories that we researched both had strong supporting evidence across species, and make sense on a survival level.”
Throughout the competition, they attended educational workshops, wrote a comic book and conducted an interview with a trauma therapist.
Attached below is their comic strip!
This project gave them the chance to explore a completely new topic. Dominique and Naomi gained new skills that are important for all scientists to learn and engaged creatively with science. They also learned how to write a paper that can be understood by anyone, that is fun to read, and holds meaningful information.