3 Minute Thesis Competition Winner
How do you cram years of study and research into a 3-minute speech? That was the challenge faced by winner of the University of Newcastle Final of the 3 Minute Thesis Competition, Ancient History and Classical Languages PhD candidate, Kymme Laetsch.
Kymme will now go on to compete in the National/Trans-Tasman Competition in Sydney in October.
Kymme, who is in the second year of her PhD, says she entered the competition as an exercise to re-focus herself back on her research.
"Getting your work narrowed down to about 400 words is really hard. It forces you to really think about what it is that you're doing," Kymme said.
Kymme's thesis is titled The portrayal and implications of feminine ageing in Latin literature and she recognises that it's not necessarily a topic that excites many people.
"My research will not cure cancer or childhood obesity and Latin poetry is certainly an acquired taste - one which many people would struggle to identify with or find 'important'. So, one of the toughest challenges I faced was trying to make 2,000 year old poetry written in a dead language engaging and relevant to a contemporary audience," Kymme said.
"Rather than just talk about what I do and how I do it, I tried to illustrate that very briefly and draw parallels between ancient and contemporary attitudes to older women."
"For example, Roman literature is full of the same stereotypes we see today - the ugly old witch and the nasty step-mother. Even older women who take younger lovers, today known as cougars, are subjected to stereotypical revulsion."
"I also tried to inject some humour into it as I think it always helps people to remember things if they laugh. The rest is LOADS of memorising and practicing and crossing your fingers that 'on the day' you can remember well enough to get the job done despite the nerves," Kymme said.