September 21, 2018, by Lisa Chin

3MT®: Sharing of Experience by the 2nd Runner Up

This post is written by Denesh A/L Sooriamoorthy, 2nd Runner Up of UNM 2018 3MT® Competition and PhD student from the Department of Electrical & Electronic Engineering.

On 5 September 2018, I participated in Three Minute Thesis (3MT), a competition where postgraduate researchers explain about their thesis within the stipulated 3 minute time limit. My topic was “A Tick In Time Saves Lives”. My research is to identify the patterns of cardiovascular diseases by collecting and analysing different radial pulse signals from the wrist of various patients from the hospital. The obtained signals are then processed to develop an algorithm, which will be utilised to predict and monitor cardiovascular diseases. In addition, prototype hardware to read radial pulse signals from the patients will be developed and built. The developed algorithm will then be integrated into the hardware to build a wearable medical device, which monitors and predicts cardiovascular diseases in a person.

Participating in this competition meant two things to me, conquering my stage fright and believing in my potential. Winning was secondary but then again, winning means something different for each individual. Presenting on the stage was something I always dreaded as it brings back memories of how badly my legs shake, how dry my mouth turns and how my eyes dart across the room in the hope of not catching another pair of staring eyes. Well, my legs did shake vigorously this time as well, but my mouth didn’t turn dry and my eyes weren’t avoiding anyone else’s. Instead, my voice boomed across the hall and my eyes met those of judges and attendees with confidence. I was basically standing there, selling my idea to all those who came, telling them that I am the one they should be looking for if they wanted a glimpse of future of heart care. A friend of mine said that loud claps resounded in the hall when I was done but I didn’t realise it as I was still in my zone. Exhilaration still had a strong grip on me as I descended the stage and as I started realising that I neither missed a word nor hesitated. I did what I came to do and that too without a flaw. It didn’t matter to me then, if I will raise the trophy or not as that for me right there was my winning moment. Being the 2nd runner up was icing on the cake.

So, how did an introvert like me went from that to this? My ultimate recipe for success would be giving your script to be read by three different people. First and foremost, by your research supervisor. Your supervisor would be useful in pointing out technical errors in your script as he has travelled with you in your research journey. He would cross check the facts and remind you to not exaggerate the findings. Secondly, have your script read by someone who is proficient in English language. This person would ensure that your script is free from grammatical errors and also give suggestions on how you could construct better sentences and better flowing paragraphs. Lastly, seek the help of someone who isn’t from your field of research. Allow this person to point out the parts that they do not understand so that you can review your choice of words such as jargons. This way, you can assure that the final script would be written in a way that can be understood by anyone who attends the competition. You see, when you know you have a solid script, you somehow acquire half of the confidence needed along the way. Having said that, I would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to Dr Ir JG Khor, Mr Anandan Shanmugam, Dr Rajeev Ramnath, Ayoub Juman and Kiruthika Sekar for playing their parts as mentioned above respectively.

Now, where do you get the other half of the confidence? The answer is training. Train as many times as you can in a day. Train as you are walking to and from your research building. Train as you are having your meal. Train in the shower. Train whenever you find the time for it and make time just to train for it. Repeat the script in your mind until it stays there like the lyrics of that annoying overplayed song in the radio. You get the idea. Once your script is comfortably sitting in your mind, start training your body language and presentation skills. This is where the Graduate School comes into the picture. I personally vouch for the efficiency of the training sessions provided. My tone, pace, body posture and hand gesture were all fine-tuned here. I learnt to present my points with the oomph that is needed while staying within the time limit.

In a nutshell, I am truly humbled by this experience and would like to thank the University and Graduate School for organising this reputable 3MT competition. The exposure and experience gained from this is invaluable and one that I would carry as part of my lifelong learning journey.

Denesh (right) accepting the award from Professor Deborah Hall, Vice-Provost of Research & Knowledge Exchange.

Denesh A/L Sooriamoorthy was crowned the 2nd Runner Up for his presentation titled “A Tick In Time Saves Lives” at UNM 2018 3MT® Competition held on 5 September 2018. In his winning presentation, Denesh described his research on identifying the patterns of cardiovascular diseases by collecting and analysing different radial pulse signals from the wrist of various patients to develop an algorithm which can be utilised to predict and monitor the diseases.

Read more about the winners of UNM 2018 3MT® Competition.

Featured image: Denesh A/L Sooriamoorthy

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