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By Dale Johnson Posted: February 7, 2017 10:15 a.m.

Shelby Bohn has created a one-minute video on her research into bats for a national competition put on by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.
Shelby Bohn has created a one-minute video on her research into bats for a national competition put on by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. Photo courtesy of Thomas Morgan

A biology student at the University of Regina is the only Saskatchewan competitor in a national video contest.

The contest is called "Science, Action!" and is put on by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, or NSERC. Winners of this contest are partially determined by the number of views that their one-minute video describing their research has on YouTube.

Shelby Bohn, a master’s student, is studying how bats on the prairies interact with their environment, specifically the habitat that silver haired bats use during the summer, when females gather together in small groups to raise their babies in hollow trees.

“This competition is a great chance to talk about bats in an interesting format, and I'm always trying to convince people that bats are worth learning more about,” Bohn says.

“I'm glad that I have the opportunity to participate in a national competition like this because I spend a lot of time locally telling my friends and family about the science that I do. But it's not often that I get a chance to tell the whole country,” she adds.

Bohn says she was excited about trying to condense her project down to only a minute – but creating the video was challenging.

“I had to focus on ‘showing’ rather than ‘telling’ and I don't have much experience with filmmaking. One minute also isn't that long, so I had to be a bit organized about how I told the story of a whole thesis,” she explains.

Her faculty supervisor, Dr. Mark Brigham, says it valuable for students to be able to briefly describe their research in simple language.  

“I think it’s good for a student to be able to distill their work into 60 seconds that will be of interest. It shows they understand it – and at the end of the day it’s funded by the public, so it’s a good thing to talk about it,” says Brigham.

Bohn, who is from Winnipeg and earned B.Sc. honours at the University of Winnipeg, came to the U of R to study with Brigham.

“The calibre of research that folks are doing here at the U of R is high, and I'm proud to get to represent a part of that on a larger scale,” she says.

And Brigham says “it shows that we do things at the U of R that are relevant and of interest nationally and internationally. This shows we do research, and many think of this place as teaching only.”

The top 25 contestants will move on to a judging round where the top 15 will win an automatic $2,500 – and potentially $3,500 depending on final ranking.

The contest runs until the last day of February. You can vote by watching the video as many times as you want. Each view counts as a vote.