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The University of Southampton
Doctoral College

Mandy Lo is the first Three Minute Thesis Grand Finalist

Published: 8 March 2016
Mandy Lo
Mandy Lo, Education/Web Science, won the Social, Human and Mathematical Sciences 3MT faculty final

Mandy Lo, a final year PhD student in Social, Human and Mathematical Sciences (FSHMS), is the first entrant through to the University’s Three Minute Thesis Grand Final on 12 May.

Competing against four other worthy contenders from FSHMS, Mandy engaged the audience and Judging Panel with an informative and interesting presentation about a new software which will assist students with mathematics.

On her win, Mandy said that despite her calm demeanour, she found presenting to the audience more daunting than she thought she would. “I really thought if I can stand up in front of a big audience at an international conference then I will be fine…but it was scarier than I thought!”

Even so, Mandy went on to say that she was really glad she had taken part in the competition and would recommend it to others. “It helped me to see my research from another angle” she said. “I think we sometimes get lost in all the theories and the data analysis and it’s easy to forget why we are actually doing our research.”

This is the third year the University has taken part in the Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition. The event is a global initiative and asks PhD students to deliver a three-minute presentation about their thesis, with only one slide. The presentation must be informative, engaging and most importantly, comprehensible for a non-expert audience.

In terms of presenting her research to a non-expert audience, Mandy said “It can be easy to forget that not everyone is familiar with your research, so when putting your presentation together, you have to ask ‘What’s the big deal and why should we care?’, I asked myself that a lot.”

The FSHMS faculty final was last Friday and it was the first of eight faculty finals which will take place in the run up to the 3MT Grand Final. The Grand Final will be the opening event for the inaugural Festival of Doctoral Research on 12 May.

Professor Melanie Nind, Faculty Director of the Social, Human and Mathematical Sciences Graduate School, opened the event and said how pleased she was to see the number of people who had come to support the five competitors. As the final came to a close, Melanie announced the results, presenting Mandy with her first place certificate and also recognising Mirela Nikolova, who took both the second place title and the People’s Choice award.

The five competitors to take place in the FSHMS faculty final were:

  • Stephanie Barker (Psychology)
  • Rosie Essery (Psychology)
  • Mary Houston (SSPC)
  • Mandy Lo (Education/Web Science) – First place and will represent FSHMS at the Grand Final
  • Mirela Nikolova (Psychology) – Second place and People’s Choice

More information about the Three Minute Thesis competition.

The five FSHMS contestants
L-R: Mandy, Rosie, Stephanie, Mary and Mirela
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