High calibre research students shine in national thesis presentation competition.

Twelve UOW higher degree research (HDR) students - two from each faculty - competed in the University of Wollongong’s Three Minute Thesis (3MT) Final, held on 6 July.

The judging panel agreed that the competitors were all of such a high standard that it was difficult to pick a single winner.

Ultimately, the award for the 2016 UOW 3MT winner went to the Faculty of Social Sciences’ Ika Lestari Damayanti for her passionate presentation ‘From Storytelling to Story Writing: A Learning Journey of English Language Learners in Indonesia’.

Ika then went on to represent UOW in the Asia-Pacific final of the 3MT competition at the University of Queensland in October, where she won the People’s Choice Award over 50 HDR students from across the Asia Pacific region.

In her 3MT talk, Ika provided an insight into her research to develop a framework based on storytelling, to improve English literacy in students whose first language is not English.

An Indonesian teacher, visiting UOW to complete her PhD, Ika says storytelling is a more engaging way to learn English for students, connecting the new language with an Indonesian tradition.

“Storytelling has been part of Indonesian tradition to pass on its cultural values. I would like to see it used in the Indonesian school curriculum to help students develop their English literacy.

“I believe in passion first in teaching, and to have faith in our students. I chose a school outside of Bandung to do my teaching, even though it was under resourced.

“When you apply passion and give teachers the right resources to help students, any one of them can achieve the requirements of the curriculum regardless of socioeconomic circumstances,” Ika says.

UOW’s Three Minute Competition runner-up was Chen Shen from the Faculty of Engineering and Information Sciences, whose presentation was entitled ‘Wire-Arc Additive Manufacturing Process: The More Advanced Metal Printer’.

The UOW People’s Choice Award went to Thomas Simnadis  from the Faculty of Science, Medicine and Health, for his talk ‘Novel Grains for the Australian Food Supply’.

The 3MT competition allows higher degree research students to communicate the purpose and importance of their research to a non-specialist audience. Participants are given three minutes to engage the audience on the research of their thesis topic, with the assistance of one power point slide. 

The first 3MT competition was held at the University of Queensland (UQ) in 2008. In 2009 and 2010 the 3MT competition was promoted to other Australian and New Zealand universities and enthusiasm for the concept grew. Since 2011 the popularity of the competition has increased and 3MT competitions are now held in over 200 universities across more than 18 countries worldwide.

See Ika’s winning talk and more photos of the UOW 3MT competition