Courage kindled by pushing through comfort zones: Wollotuka students compete in Three Minute Thesis heats

Tuesday, 3 August 2021

Explaining years of research in three minutes and unpacking it in layperson’s terms is fiendishly difficult but this didn’t stop two Wollotuka students for taking up the challenge as part of the Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition.

With approximately 100 entrants participating from the University of Newcastle’s 17 schools, students, Jennifer Rumbel and Jesse Hodgetts, faced the additional challenge of producing their own video rather than traditional face-to-face delivery.

“This was an exercise that well and truly pushed me out of my comfort zone,” said Wollotuka student and 3MT participant, Jennifer Rumbel.

“I have a passion for and connection to my thesis that is deeper than academic yet, academically, I have gained additional critical thinking and writing skills through having to get my thesis from 100,000 words to 450!”

“Significantly, I have gained courage and self-confidence by placing myself in a vulnerable space,” she added.

The entrants’ judges felt that the participants were both highly engaging and articulate speakers who strongly conveyed their enthusiasm for their research.

They were impressed by the students’ personal commitment to social justice issues through their research.

Wollotuka Institute’s winner, Jesse Hodgetts, went  on to win joint third place with , Xiaohong Zhao (School of Biomedical Sciences and Pharmacy), in the University's final held on 25 August (2021).

Seventeen Higher Degree Research candidates, representing a broad range of disciplines across each School, presented their research - what they’re doing, how they’re doing it and why - on a variety of topics, with Zarinah Mohamed Amin awarded 1st place for her presentation An electrochemical Breathalyser for Lung Cancer.

The idea for 3MT originated in Queensland at the height of severe drought where many residents fixed three minute egg timers in their bathrooms to help conserve water.

The inaugural 3MT competition was held in 2008 at the University of Queensland (UQ) with 160 Higher Degree by Research (HDR) students competing.

Two years later it was a multinational event and now 3MT is held worldwide in over 900 universities across more than 80 countries.

Watch Jesse Hodgett’s entry here.

Watch Jennifer Rumbel’s entry here.

Srishti Guha, a PhD student connected to the University of Newcastle's Purai Global Indigenous History Centre, was also a participant in the 3MT and you can watch her entry here.


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