How do you take a semester’s worth of research and squeeze it into less than three minutes? As part of our cumulative REEI experience, Professor Sarah Phillips asked the students of R601 (Interdisciplinary Colloquium in REE Studies) to create video presentations of our MA essays. The catch? Do it in under three minutes. Dubbed #REEIshorts, the format is similar to the Three Minute Thesis competition: a brief and engaging presentation of one’s research that is easy for all audiences to take in.
In my experience, the process of creating an #REEIshort was challenging, but satisfying. As I sat down to write the first draft of my script, I thought, “Ha. This is going to be simple.” After all, I had just spent the past three months immersed in my own research. How difficult could it be to talk about it in just three minutes?
Turns out, it wasn’t as easy as I thought. While continuing to write the script, I found myself adding more and more detail. Some aspects of my MA essay just felt too important to leave out. After a discussion of students’ initial drafts with each other, it was obvious that this was a huge dilemma for us all. How do you decide what to include and what to leave out? How do you take the theoretical tools and extended arguments of your MA essay and make them approachable for a general audience? But going through this process with my peers, hashing it out together, and creating a final product proved immensely rewarding in the end.
While entrenched in your research, it’s easy to get lost in the complexity of it all. Creating an #REEIshort brought me out of my comfort zone by forcing me to contend with my own research project from an outside perspective. This process taught me how to effectively and precisely condense a semester’s worth of material into a few minutes, a valuable skill with real-world applications. My classmates and I are excited to share the content of our MA essays with the REEI community after a long semester of diligent work. We hope you enjoy the submissions and take a minute (or three!) to browse through them all. The #REEIshorts can be accessed here
Dexter Blackwell received his MA from REEI in May, 2021.