Wagga Wagga PhD student competes in Asia-Pacific 3MT competition


Wagga Wagga PhD student competes in Asia-Pacific 3MT competition

The winner of Charles Sturt's 3MT competition for PhD students, Ms Jennifer Schwarz, will represent the University at the Asia-Pacific version of the competition.

  • Wagga Wagga’s Jennifer Schwarz to compete at first virtual Three-Minute Thesis (3MT) Asia-Pacific semi-finals competition  
  • The psychology PhD candidate qualified to represent Charles Sturt at the Asia-Pacific competition after winning the University’s 3MT competition earlier this year
  • Higher Degree by Research candidates from across Australia, New Zealand, Oceania and Asia are competing at the event

Ms Jennifer Schwarz, a PhD candidate in the Charles Sturt University School of Psychology, has been challenged with presenting the main highlights of her PhD study in just three minutes at the semi-finals of the 2020 Virtual Asia-Pacific Three Minute Thesis (3MT) Competition.

The Wagga Wagga local is competing against Higher Degree by Research candidates from across Australia, New Zealand, Oceania and Asia at the competition’s first ever virtual semi-final showcase in a bid to progress to the competition’s final round and win the $5,000 main prize.

Charles Sturt PhD candidate Ms SchwarzThe showcase, which features the video presentations from all of the semi-finalists, including Ms Schwarz (pictured), is available online from Monday 14 to Sunday 20 September. Winners of this round will be announced on Monday 21 September.

Ms Schwarz qualified for the Asia-Pacific semi-finals after winning the Charles Sturt 3MT competition earlier this year for her presentation of her PhD thesis ‘Supporting and understanding adults who ask "Am I Autistic?”’. She also won the People’s Choice Award.

“Winning the Charles Sturt University competition was a really great experience and felt really exciting because there were some fantastic competitors, great research, and great presentations,” Ms Schwarz said.

“I would recommend taking part in the 3MT competition to all PhD students because it helps you to look at your research differently, and focus on the big picture and why your research is important, rather than getting bogged down in the details.”

Ms Schwarz’s PhD study is researching Australian adults who have explored some form of the question ‘Am I Autistic/Am I on the autism spectrum?’

"I first started conducting research in this area when studying a Bachelor of Social Sciences (Honours) at Charles Sturt University, and decided to expand my research in this area for my PhD,” Ms Schwarz said.

“Many people find the change in their identity when they explore this question relating to autism to be a very positive experience, however others can find the idea very confronting and upsetting.

“I wanted to understand why this experience could be so different, and how people going through it could be better supported.”

Nearly 20 participants, spanning different age groups and backgrounds, have participated in Ms Schwarz’s study so far.

“I’ve noticed the way people started to connect with the question in the beginning is really different,” she said.

“Some people are told by someone else, some just read an article about autism, a lot have had their child diagnosed and think I am just like my child … there are all sorts of different experiences.

“Some people are quite clear in their identity and some participants are not sure, but that is the point of my study.

“I want to explore many different stories and experiences of people who’ve related to autism.”

Ms Schwarz said it is the participants in her study that are one of the reasons she initially decided to take part in the competition.

“I decided to take part in the 3MT competition because I thought it would give me the chance to improve how I present my research, improve my public speaking skills, and improve my skills presenting research to a general audience” she said.

“But I also thought it was important to share my research.

“The people who have participated in my research have shared their story and experience with me, and I think I have a responsibility to then make sure that is heard and that some good can come of that.

“The bigger focus for me with the 3MT competition is my research and getting my research out to an even bigger audience, and it would just be a really awesome, and very welcome bonus, if I won.”

The 2020 Asia-Pacific 3MT Competition Finals will take place via ZOOM on Thursday 1 October. Registration are available on the 3MT webpage.

The winner of the 3MT Finals will be awarded a $5,000 research travel grant. The runner-up will receive a $2,000 research travel grant, and the People’s Choice winner will receive a $1,000 research travel grant.

Media Note:

To arrange interviews with Ms Jennifer Schwarz, contact Rebecca Akers at Charles Sturt Media on mobile 0456 377 434 or news@csu.edu.au

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Wagga Wagga Charles Sturt University Psychology Research