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Two-time 3MT winner loves challenge of event

Tuesday 8 August 2017 4:29pm

The 2017 Three-Minute Thesis finalists. Back row (from left): Alex Wilson, Adam Denny, Andrew Mills, Adeel Akmal and Rafaela Costa Camoes Rabello. Middle row (from left): Ellie-May Jarvis, Sabarinath Prasad, Josie Cairns and Chidimma Aham-Chiabuotu. Front: Nicola Beatson (PhD winner). Absent from the photo Master's winner Deanna Beckett. Photo Sharron Bennett.

Nicola Beatson of the Department of Accountancy and Finance clearly has a knack for presenting her research in just 180 seconds.

The Teaching Fellow and PhD candidate won the Master’s category of the Three-Minute Thesis (3MT) competition two years ago, and last week won the PhD category of this year’s event.

“I don't know if there is any 'secret', I just enjoy presenting my research,” she says. “I find it heaps of fun to try and get others excited about a topic that I'm passionate about.”

Ms Beatson was up against seven other PhD candidates from across the University’s Divisions and campuses in the University finals of the 3MT event held at Castle 2 Lecture Theatre on Friday evening. The event is organised by the Graduate Research School, as part of the annual Graduate Research Festival.

Ms Beatson spoke about her PhD thesis, which is on the role of self-efficacy in accounting education – and whether confidence and self-belief matter when learning accounting.

“The standard of presentations was really high, so I feel very lucky to win! Everyone did such a great job on the night, it was a fabulous event. I am grateful to the Graduate Research School, the sponsors, and all my supporters (they know who they are)!”

Deanna Beckett won the Master’s category of the event, with her presentation on oral health, quality of life, and economic evaluation. In her short talk, she discussed the way her research aims to provide evidence to the government that oral health is important and affects a person’s quality of life, and that there should be funding for treatment.

She says she was thrilled to win.

“It was very exciting. There were lots of amazing students doing amazing things, and I felt very privileged to have made it as far as the finals. I also feel very happy to be able to represent both the Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, and the Faculty of Dentistry, as my supervisors were from both disciplines, and they are equally important to me.”

Both Ms Beatson and Ms Beckett say that condensing their work into just a three-minute talk was extremely challenging.

“To start with it was incredibly daunting, particularly as I needed to be able to simplify what I considered a complex topic enough to make it understandable and interesting to a lay audience,” Ms Beckett says. “It was a very worthwhile exercise however, and it really helped me to learn to be concise, and get to the point.”

Ms Beatson agrees.

“I highly recommend it as a process for identifying what's really important and the point of your thesis.”

The Dean of the Graduate Research School Professor Rachel Spronken-Smith says the 3MT is always a highlight of the Festival and this year was no exception.

“The standard of contestants was particularly high this year, which made it very difficult for the judges to decide on the winners. Indeed, in the PhD category the judges made special mention of two ‘highly commended’ presentations.”

These went to Chidimma Aham-Chiabuotu of Population Health at the Christchurch campus, who spoke about lived experiences of internally displaced women in northern Nigeria, and Rafaela Costa Camoes Rabello of the University’s College of Education, who spoke about exploring the discourses of social investment in the oil and gas sector.

Ms Beatson will go on to represent the University of Otago at the international Asia-Pacific 3MT Competition in Brisbane on 29 September, while Ms Beckett will represent Otago at the Masters 3MT Inter-University Challenge at Victoria University of Wellington on 24 August.

Some more images from the event (clockwise from top) PhD winner Nicola Beatson presents; Master's winner Deanna Beckett receives her award from Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Enterprise) Professor Richard Blaikie; the judges deliberate; and the fans of PhD contestant Rafaela Costa Camoes Rabello show their support. Photos: Sharron Bennett.