Shy talker turns to her passion
CURTIN University PhD student Sarah Marley sure can talk, but it wasn’t always her strength.
Once too embarrassed to speak publicly, she was crowned 2014 Three Minute Thesis (3MT) champion at the Trans-Tasman final in Perth last month after beating 47 other contestants from across Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong.
Ms Marley, a first-year PhD student at Curtin’s Centre for Marine Science and Technology, said the competition gave her the opportunity to preach to a captive audience, sharing her fascination for the marine environment.
The annual research communication competition challenges higher degree students by giving them only three minutes to deliver a compelling presentation to a non-specialist audience about their thesis.
Her thesis, Behavioural and Acoustic Responses of Coastal Dolphins to Noisy Environments, investigates how coastal dolphins are responding to increasing levels of man-made noise in the ocean, which threatens to mask their means of communication.
“Four years ago, I couldn’t even present my research to a small group of friends without getting embarrassed and reading word-for-word from a script. So to now enjoy presenting to this degree is something I am both amazed at and extremely proud of,” she said.
Ms Marley said she was a firm believer in science communication, as there was no point doing research if no one was going to be told about it.
“Previously there has been a strong focus on presenting research academically, through conference talks and journal articles. But it is just as important to communicate to the general public.”
Curtin University PhD student Sarah Marley has found her voice.