Grace-Lynn Chong takes out the 3 Minute Thesis Finals

12 August 2019

Last night Grace-Lynn Chong was judged the winner of the University of Waikato 3 Minute Thesis (3MT) Finals, as well as the ‘People’s Choice’ Award, at the event held on campus in the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts.

Organised annually by the Te Mata Kairangi School of Graduate Research, there were 10 finalists battling it out before the judging panel, consisting of Vasso Koutsos (Director of Marketing and Communications at the University), Bruce Clarkson (Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Research), Dr Joan Forret (partner at Harkness Henry), with MC Associate Professor Mark Houlahan.

Each finalist had three minutes and a static PowerPoint slide to sum up their entire thesis – something that often spans hundreds of pages of research by the PhD student.

However, 3MT is not an exercise in trivialising or 'dumbing-down' research, but forces students to consolidate their ideas and crystallise their research discoveries.

“The 3MT is one of many ways in which the University is helping to nurture a new generation of emerging researchers for the future,” says Professor C. Kay Weaver.

The winner was Grace-Lynn Chong from the School of Science, whose presentation was entitled ‘The Fish on Our Dish. What’s the catch?’

Her research looks into the pollutants that accumulate in the fish that we eat, namely Methylmercury, and whether we are eating more than we bargained for when consuming fish. This involves studying the pathways of how methylmercury cycles through the lakes and how it eventually accumulates in fish.

“I was quite nervous on the night, as I was the last participant which put pressure on me to do well. I loved the other participants’ speeches as I found them inspiring and some even induced tears.

“I didn’t expect to win both awards, so when my name was called as the overall winner after already winning the People’s Choice award, it didn’t register until the other participants turned back and smiled at me,” says Chong.

Chong received ‘The Professor John D. McCraw Memorial Award’ and $1,500 to go towards her research. She will go on to represent the University of Waikato at the Asia-Pacific 3MT Competition on Friday 4 October 2019 at the University of Queensland, Brisbane.

Runner-up, Zaira Najam, received $1,000 to put towards her research, for her presentation on ‘If you can’t measure, you can’t manage: Poverty.’

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