Ms Luo Yi Fei, a Year-3 MSE PhD candidate at NTU, has won the second place at the Singapore Three Minute Thesis (3MT) Competition organised virtually by Nanyang Technological University on Monday, 31 August 2020. The top prize was won by Gabriel Chew Guojun from NUS on the topic of ‘Investigating Alzheimer’s Disease Cell by Cell’. 165 viewers joined the virtual celebration hosted via Zoom. 11 participants from Nanyang Technological University, National University of Singapore, Singapore Management University, and Singapore University of Technology & Design competed to explain their research thesis in a simple yet engaging three-minute talk aimed at the general public. Besides receiving the prize of EURO 500, Yu Fei will be representing Singapore and NTU at the Asia Pacific 3MT Finals, which will be hosted virtually by the University of Queensland, Australia on 1 October 2020. The other representatives from NTU at the Singapore 3MT 2020 were Ms TAN Fang Yi, a Year 1 ASE PhD candidate, and Mr Shivam MAHAJAN, a Year 3 SPMS PhD candidate. The three finalists had earlier won the NTU round of the 3MT competition hosted virtually on Wednesday, 5th August 2020.
In her talk entitled ‘Listening in on Plants through a Conductive Liquid Glue’, Yi Fei shared that plants can feel pain and heat just like us. They give out certain types of electrical signals that tells us how healthy a plant is. This affects the price and quality of the plant to goes on our plate. On what she has learned from the 3MT experience thus far, Yi Fei said, “Conveying scientific ideas to the general public requires completely different mindsets and strategies from writing papers for scientific journals. I learnt to simplify my language and tell a compelling story through the preparation for this competition. I think I am now able to adapt my style according to the audience, to some extent.” In preparing for the 3MT NTU Finals, the finalists attended two workshops organised by the Teaching, Learning and Pedagogy Division (TLPD). Yi Fei found that the training by TLPD provided finalists with a valuable opportunity to practice their presentations and get feedback from people outside of their respective fields. The workshops helped Yi Fei to overcome her nervousness and also tailored her script to be easily understood by the general public. Yi Fei feels honored and grateful for the opportunity to represent NTU on an international stage. Her advise for fellow students who wish to participate in 3MT in future? “I have already recommended 3MT to my juniors. This is really a fun experience. You get to know how to tell your research succinctly and how people outside your field think about your research, which we rarely have a chance to do in daily PhD study. My advise would be know your audience, practice, practice, and practice. Most importantly, enjoy the process”, quips Yi Fei.