Deakin's 2021 3MT and VYT winners explore oceanic storytelling and self-managed heart failure

Research news

24 August 2021

From how using children's literature could help teach marine science, to studies supporting self-management for people with heart failure, some highly innovative Deakin University Higher Degree by Research (HDR) projects have taken out the University's annual Three Minute Thesis (3MT) and Visual Your Thesis (VYT) competitions.

Held via Zoom and featuring pre-recorded videos from over twenty finalists, the competitions showcased a number of HDR research projects with significant community impact.

Under the sea

A passionate 'storytelling enthusiast' will represent Deakin University at the 2021 Asia-Pacific 3MT Semi-Final, hosted by the University of Queensland.

In her presentation, Marine Biology PhD candidate Cátia Freitas from the Faculty of Science, Engineering and Built Environment, reveals her research into using children's literature to teach marine science concepts – such stories she says could help build a stronger connection to the ocean.

3MT entrants are given three minutes to present their research to a general audience with the support of a single slide as a visual aid.

"Every hero has its own a story. My hero lives in the ocean. It has no eyes or mouth, or fins and it cannot swim or bite. So, you might be thinking is it even real? Well, underneath the waves my hero forms underwater forests and sucks carbon dioxide out of the air to fight climate change. My hero is seaweed," she says.

Through her thesis, Cátia is investigating how the power of storytelling – specifically in children's literature – can be employed in schools to teach children about the underwater world.

Current education curriculum in Australia shows little engagement with the ocean, this is where Cátia's research comes in.

She is developing and testing an education program that will run over the course of a school year to provide primary school teachers with the knowledge and skills on how to use children's books to teach students about their local ocean. She will aim to determine whether these books are indeed an effective educational tool in increasing students' understanding of the ocean.

"My PhD research will provide an evidenced-based teaching approach to educate about the marine environment, an important step towards increasing ocean literacy in Australia."

She is developing her thesis with the support of her supervisors Dr Prue Francis, Dr Paul Venzo and Dr Alecia Bellgrove.

Cátia Freitas's research explores the power of stories in teaching about the ocean.

Research with heart

Faculty of Health PhD candidate Rebecca Nourse will represent Deakin at the 2021 VYT International Final, hosted by University of Melbourne.

Her thesis is exploring how to support self-management in people with heart failure. This research could help people have fewer hospitalisations, feel better and live longer happier lives.

"My PhD is working to develop a smart ecosystem using technologies, behaviour change theory and artificial intelligence with an aim to make it easier for people to manage their condition so they're able to continue doing the things they enjoy," Rebecca said.

She is undertaking her research project with assistance from her supervisors, Professor Ralph Maddison, Professor Raj Vasa and Dr Shariful Islam. She also has two supervisors from the University of Copenhagen, Professor Lars Kayser and Professor Finn Kensing.

Rebecca hopes this smart ecosystem will allow them to measure and analyse the health status of people with heart disease before providing personalised intervention.

Missed Deakin's 3MT and VYT finals?

  • Watch Cátia and the other 3MT finalists' presentations here.
  • Watch Rebecca and the other VYT finalists' video presentations here.

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