Why did you choose to participate in Yale’s 3MT competition?
I have always enjoyed public speaking and since I am in a field which is largely funded by public money, I have always wanted to communicate the results of our research to non-astronomers in a compelling fashion. The 3MT was the perfect competition to hone these skills with the added challenge of keeping everything under three minutes!
What did you find most challenging about describing your research in this format?
When I write academic papers, the focus is on discussing as much detail as possible; and a 3MT presentation is kind of the exact opposite of that were you need to take the broadest view possible of your research. Making that leap and getting rid of all the jargon was probably the most difficult part!
Have you put these public communication skills into practice, and how have they contributed to your professional development since the competition?
Post 3MT, I have presented my research to a few non-astronomy audiences, and I have definitely taken inspiration from my 3MT presentation into getting my research across in a concise jargon-free way.
Do you have any advice for this year’s participants?
If you are sitting on the fence about 3MT — just do it! I was on the fence for many years, and then finally did it in 5th year. It’s a fantastic experience — it will contribute immensely to your skillset and will also come in handy in thinking about your research in the broadest terms possible.