University of Melbourne 3-Minute Thesis winner

How zoo animals respond to the presence of visitors has won the University of Melbourne 3 Minute Thesis (3MT) Competition Grand Final.

This zebra knows you’re looking at her

Competing against nine other grand finalists, PhD candidate Sally Sherwen of the Department of Agriculture and Food Systems at the University of Melbourne, won first place and 3RRR People’s Choice Award for her presentation “Who’s looking at who in the zoo?”

Ms Sherwen researched the impact of the regular presence of zoo visitors on a range of zoo animals, an area which remains poorly understood.

Ms Sherwen said winning 3MT was exciting because it meant raising awareness about animal welfare and how the presence of visitors affects zoo animals.

“I’m so excited to win the University of Melbourne 3MT competition and even more excited that it means people enjoyed hearing about my research on zoo animals.

“Understanding these visitor effects may provide opportunities to improve animal welfare, and in turn enhance the support for zoos and their role in education and species conservation.”

“The 3MT has provided me with so much extra training as a researcher that I would not have developed skills for otherwise. I have also made some great friends throughout the process. It has definitely been one of the highlights throughout my PhD so far,” she said.

The annual research communication competition challenges PhD and Master of Philosophy students to present a compelling oration for a lay audience on their thesis topic, condensing their research into a 180-second presentation.

Ms Sherwen went on to compete against semi-finalists from around the country at the 2013 Trans-Tasman competition in Sydney on Oct. 18. The 2013 winner was Kelsey Kennedy from the Faculty of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics at the the University of Western Australia, with her topic “Feeling for cancer: an imaging tool to make breast cancer surgery more effective.”


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