Molly Kirkpatrick will be aiming for the top prize when she competes in the 2023 Virtual Asia-Pacific 3MT Competition, set to be hosted by The University of Queensland on October 18.

The 2020 Bachelor of Engineering and Science graduate and current PHD student at UOW, Mrs. Kirkpatrick won the UOW Three-Minute Thesis Competition on Wednesday, which qualified her for the Asia-Pacific competition.

The panel of judges, which included the UOW Vice-Chancellor Patricia Davidson, selected Mrs Kirkpatrick’s presentation on lunar soil analysis techniques — a key move towards a lasting human presence on the moon — as a top choice out of 10 finalists.

When asked about her feelings and goals for the Asia-Pacific tournament, Mrs. Kirkpatrick said she expected the competition to be challenging, but she will aim high.

“I am so excited, I’m also nervous, it is such a prestigious event, I’m sure the competition will be fierce. I am so very honoured to be able to represent UOW and share my small part of the amazing research we do here at the university,” she said.

“Obviously I hope to win, but I know that is a lofty goal, so just getting through the October 9th showcase/semi-final would be a massive achievement.”

Ten finalists chosen by the Graduate Research School presented their 80,000-word theses in three minutes during the 2023 UOW 3MT competition final, which was held virtually via zoom webinar.

Despite winning the competition and receiving a flood of congratulations, Mrs. Kirkpatrick said that she is aware of the areas she needed to improve before the UQ final.

“I think I did pretty well with my UOW presentation, but there is always room for improvement. I made a few mistakes, like stumbling over my words, that I would like to work on before the UQ final. If there is a chance I would also like to improve my slide and make it a bit clearer,” she said.

Cassandra Nikodijevic from the Faculty of Science, Medicine, and Health, whose thesis explored Australia’s nut consumption and the relationship between the consumption and body weight, received the runner-up prize, while Essie Sun from the Faculty of Engineering and Information Sciences, whose thesis focused on interaction between individuals and their working environment, was awarded the People’s Choice Award after receiving the highest number of votes from the attendees.

Mrs. Kirkpatrick said her favourite part of the competition was hearing about all the other research being conducted at UOW.

“The breadth and quality is mind-blowing. It is also a really great way to connect with other HDRs and meet others,” she said.

“To anyone else who is thinking of competing in the 3MT or any other competition for that matter, I say go for it. Think about the story behind your work- what is the point, who or what is it going to help and what is exciting about it.”

The UOW 3MT winner received $1000 in prize, while both the runner-up and People’s choice award winner were handed $750 each.