They had only 180 seconds to distill a year’s worth of work.

But the ten undergraduates who took part in the 180 second HRE contest were able to perform that task with impressive thoughtfulness and coherence.

“They demonstrated beautifully what we as social scientists are here to do,” said André Plourde, the Dean of the Faculty of Public Affairs. “Not only were they knowledgeable and very polished, they pointed out the important elements that are at the heart of public policy.”

With topics ranging from concussions to food security, each undergraduate finished their speech with a recommendation. Among their findings:

  • International corporations are using trade agreements to assert their will over a population.
  • North American hockey leagues provide little medical information about the long-term effect of concussions.
  • Canada should adopt the Australian Senate system.
  • Police services are less accountable when they have political oversight, rather than bureaucratic.
  • The Haudenosaunee Confederacy (Iroquois Six Nations) has a legal basis to land claims in international law.
  • Social science research is wrongly commodified.
  • Lawyers have a higher rate of depression due to an imbalance in demands and resources.

Fourth-year Law student Brandon Pasion won the competition with a presentation that began, “Did you hear the joke about the depressed lawyer? No? That’s because it’s not a joke.”

In just three minutes, Pasion presented the findings on why an estimated 56% of lawyers experience depression over the course of their careers.

“As someone considering a career in law, I wanted to know what was causing this,” said Pasion. “Lawyers work in highly demanding jobs and they have surprisingly few resources to counter the negative effects of the demands.”

Pasion found demands included conflicts between work and family, time pressures, the emphasis on profits, and the competitive nature of law.

Resources included monetary compensation, as well as a need for praise and recognition and feeling valued at work.

Pasion hopes that employers will begin to promote resources to alleviate work and family conflict and other demands of the job.

Despite these findings, Pasion says he still plans to attend law school after graduating.

Friday, April 10, 2015 in ,
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