Monash 3MT: People help the people

We all need good news stories now more than ever. Find out what happened in the competitive playing field of the Monash Three Minute Thesis (3MT) finals this year. 

When MGA Executive Officer Jenny Reeder reached out to Materials Science and Engineering PhD candidate Erin Brodie to congratulate her, she wasn’t expecting the response she got. Erin had just won the MGA’s People’s Choice Award at the Monash 3MT finals on Tuesday, 18 August for a presentation on her research looking into new 3D printable alloys that can be used for bone implants. 

“Is there any chance that we could give the MGA prize money to Diego Cardona-Escobar? I really enjoyed Diego’s talk and his research resonated with me.”

Jenny was impressed – it’s not often one hears of a student in the midst of a pandemic who would give up prize money.

Erin contacted Diego Cardona-Escobar to tell him the good news. Diego, a final year candidate from the Faculty of Education, had presented his research exploring how the enactment of educational and linguistic policies might undermine particular social groups.

“So I know I’m a scientist at heart but I’m also passionate about social justice issues and humanitarian engineering. I was really touched by your 3MT talk and I’d like to re-award you the MGA’s $500 People’s Choice Award.”

He responded to Erin offering his congratulations on her win and his heartfelt thanks for her lovely gesture.

“I firmly believe that we, the ones with access to knowledge, research skills, and academic abilities should use them for the benefit of those who don’t have access to such resources. I will use that money to support and fund social justice research in Colombia.”

It makes sense that Erin and Diego have behaved so generously with the prize money and recognition for the MGA People’s Choice Award. Both came to the Monash 3MT finals with more than prize money on their minds. 

For Diego, participating allowed him to reflect and understand how his personal experiences have shaped his research interests. Erin, who also won first prize at the 3MT finals, says that her Arts/Engineering double degree is her secret creative weapon. She was able to bring this creativity to the competition and communicate her research to university audiences and beyond.

The MGA is honoured that the prize money will go towards social justice research in Colombia. As Jenny Reeder says:

“It’s my pleasure to know two such wonderful, ethical and committed people and researchers. The world needs more of you both!”