AUT’s 2023 3 Minute Thesis finals, held on Friday 4 August, featured the top 6 competitors from the doctoral heats in July. In just 3 minutes – and with just 1 slide – they presented on topics ranging from improving hospital evacuation procedures to identifying problematic pornography use; from improving rehabilitation for knee osteoarthritis patients to helping AI learn more effectively. The judging was among the tightest in AUT’s 3MT history, with only 4 points out of a possible 42 separating the entire field. However, two doctoral students emerged victorious.
The Graduate Research School is pleased to announce that Madeline Hayward is AUT’s 2023 3MT champion for her presentation entitled “Ambulance at the bottom of the cliff: Police responses to mental distress and suicide-related jobs.” Madeline explained how police are often called upon to respond to cases of mental distress despite their very limited training and expertise in that area. She detailed her research into the complications inherent in that practice, and alternative ways to support people in moments of mental health crisis. Madeline told the Graduate Research School that the 3MT competition surprised her: “For a three-minute final product, the process of writing, editing and recording was a lot more time consuming than I expected. But I found it really worthwhile to clarify my own understanding of my research, and now I have an ‘elevator pitch’ ready for family Christmas!” The competition aligns with Madeline’s own philosophies about research dissemination. “I’m passionate about making research accessible and I think the 3MT competition is a valuable experience to practice those science communication skills.” Madeline will go on to represent AUT at the virtual Asia-Pacific 3MT finals in October.
Fay Amanda Amaral also triumphed, winning both the Runner-Up award and the Audience Choice award for her presentation entitled “To be or not to be… Career decisions, depression and sense of control – how do our high school students really feel?” Fay’s research explores the nexus between career decision-making and mental health, and highlights the importance of supporting high school students at this crucial time in their lives. Fay said of 3MT: “The competition challenged me to think about my topic and research, which is somewhat complex given the multiple variables and analysis, to really focus in on what was meaningful and relatable. To communicate this well and in a manner that is also enthusiastic and genuine is a further test! To do well and to hear that the competition was tight is a real reward for the thinking and preparation that went into the final product.”
A huge congratulations to Madeline and Fay, and to their fellow finalists Nathan Henry, Jia Hui (Sherry) Feng, Maryse Fahmi, and David Toomey, for their success as research communicators! More information about the competition and this year’s finalists is available on the AUT website’s 3MT page.