- Eleven students from across UTS came together to compete for $6000 in cash prizes at the UTS 3 Minute Thesis final
- Law student Elyse Methven triumphed with a presentation on offensive language crimes
Law student Elyse Methven triumphed at the UTS 3 Minute Thesis final last week with a presentation on offensive language crimes.
Methven, a PhD student, delivered a presentation on how offensive language crimes can be used as a mechanism of power and social exclusion.
"In most Australian states and territories, it is a crime to use offensive, insulting or obscene language in a public place, but the law does not define 'offensive language' – and accordingly, police officers and magistrates are given broad powers to determine which particular words are legal or illegal, and in which contexts," she said.
The 3 Minute Thesis competition is a national event. It calls on research students across Australia to describe the critical elements of their research to a generalist audience in under three minutes. The winners from each university compete in a national final later this month.
Eleven students from across UTS came together to compete for $6000 in cash prizes at the UTS 3 Minute Thesis final, delivering three-minute presentations on topics as diverse as detecting damage in timber utility poles to responsible management of telecommunications services.
Alongside Methven, education student Sirinut Sawatdeenarunat and scientist Amanda van Gramberg took out the two runner-up prizes.
Sawatdeenarunat, whose presentation was titled "So you think you can read … online", delivered a speech about the importance of online reading skills in a digital world.
Van Gramberg, whose presentation on drug hunting also won the People's Choice Award, looked at how drugs interact with compounds in the human body.
"Knowing this can help researchers understand why a drug works and even perhaps what causes certain diseases, like Parkinson's for example," van Gramberg said.
The competition assists research students to rethink the way they talk about their own research projectsand challenges them to articulate their ideas in a way that engages other people. It also helps students reframe their approach towards their own research practice.
For Sawatdeenarunat, two years of work on the one topic saw her struggle to remain focused on the bigger picture of the work she was involved with.
"This competition reminds me of what is the most important part of my thesis and why do I want to do this in the first place."
For van Gramberg the competition provided an opportunity to think about the professional qualities a career in research requires.
"I'm not a competitive person but unfortunately competition is an essential part of being in the workforce and being a researcher, when you consider the competitive nature for, say, applying for grants," she said.
"3 Minute Thesis was a great way to nudge me towards the idea of being competitive and gave me that extra confidence in my research."
Methven will compete at the national 3 Minute Thesis Grand Final in Perth on September 29.