Forget Writing, Try Baking Your Thesis Instead

Writing a thesis is cool and all but have you ever thought about baking it?

At the Memorial University of Newfoundland, grad students got a pretty unique opportunity. Regardless of faculty, any grad student who wished to participate in Bake Your Thesis was given the chance to, well, bake their thesis.

Some Smart Cookies

Inspired by a new international trend, the university wanted to get in on the baking action. The event, which may be the greatest idea ever, requires that each participating student turn their grad thesis into an edible baked item.

And who doesn’t love baking? Or eating baked goods? Or just eating in general? Some at the school even say that baking is a helpful way to relieve stress and alleviate writer’s block.

From chemistry to nursing to sociology, students from all faculties participated and it showed in their work…er, food. As much as this event occurs partly in jest, there is a real function to the exercise: to make the work more accessible (and tasty, of course).

Grad theses have a reputation for being long and often incomprehensible to non-experts. Simplifying them down to a simple baked item makes these dense concepts immediately accessible to non-academics.

Have Your Cake and Eat it Too

Of course, this was still a competition, with judges including the likes of Aimée Surprenant, dean of graduate studies. Judging took placed based on the dishes’ aesthetic, flavour, and success in conveying the research topic through the finished baked product.

To give you a sense of just what was on display, here are some of the standouts from the day. Picture immigrant communities depicted as fondant, layers of a cinnamon bun representing layers of trauma, a crime scene cake detailing police intimidating witnesses, and more cakes covering topics like calculating membrane permeability, interpersonal nursing, and even fatness in media.

The big winner of the day (other than the judges, who got to eat everything) was Beth Downey. She put together a rosary spiked pudding, wrapped in a vintage pillowcase inscribed with text from the Bible. Her piece, examining spirituality in Canadian literature, won best overall.

Just as a final note, we are also happy to judge any sort of baking contest if you ever feel like bringing treats to our office. They don’t even have to be based on any sort of school work.