Three Minute Thesis Competition a test in communication for UNE students

This year's winners of UNE's 3MT competition (l-r) Casandra Sundaraja (1st), Lucy Farrow (2nd), Sarah Legendre (3rd) and people choice winner Lesley Douglas.
This year's winners of UNE's 3MT competition (l-r) Casandra Sundaraja (1st), Lucy Farrow (2nd), Sarah Legendre (3rd) and people choice winner Lesley Douglas.

Developed at the University of Queensland, the Three Minute Thesis Competition (3MT) is aimed at cultivating student’s communication skills by having them explain their research to a non-specialist audience just three minutes.

The first was held in 2008 with 160 competitors, now it is conducted in 600 universities in more than 65 countries.

This year’s winner at UNE was Cassandra Sundjaraja who delivered a thought provoking presentation titled Man vs the Wild: Finding the Middle Ground, which was about behavioural change in the palm oil crisis and what the public can do about it.

It is interesting that they would want to sit and listen for three-minutes, so I think I did play a good enough role.

Cassandra Sundaraja

Cassandra said she was only seven months into her first year and was initially reluctant to enter.

“I remember asking my supervisor if it was too early for me to take part in this and they encouraged me. They said even though I did not have much research done, to talk about what I was going to do,” she said.

“In 3MT, I think its not just communicating it to other people, but about how you communicate it and that people from other fields can understand what we’re doing.

“It’s a vital topic at the moment.”

Event organiser Dr Phillip Thomas thought Cassandra did very well.

“For a person who hasn’t been at the university for very long her studies show great promise,” he said.

“It’s a very important topic and it was communicated very well.

“The palm oil issue is one that touches us all. I don’t think there is a very strong realisation of how much it is incorporated into the products we use every day, and that was part of her important message today.”

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