East Timor research wins Three Minute Thesis contest

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East Timor research wins Three Minute Thesis contest


Published on 13 July 2012

A long-time occupational therapist who recently returned to postgraduate study has won a University of the Sunshine Coast competition for her engaging presentation on researching the lives of East Timorese people with disabilities.

Jane Shamrock of Mooloolah today won the annual USC Three Minute Thesis competition, held on the final day of the 2012 USC Research Week.

The Master of Science student beat six fellow early-career researchers from diverse fields to win the final and the $1,000 prize. She will compete in the 2012 Australian and New Zealand thesis competition later this year.

Corinna Bürgin-Maunder of Mooloolaba received the runner-up award for her presentation on research into the effects of omega-3 fatty acids on human cells, focused on the cardiovascular system and high blood pressure.

Ms Shamrock, who became an academic two years ago when she joined USC as a Lecturer in Occupational Therapy, used her three minutes to outline her upcoming project to examine the daily lives and needs of people with disabilities in East Timor.

She first visited the country in 1974 and has returned there regularly over the past 10 years to do both paid and volunteer work.

“I’m excited about my research and I’m so surprised and delighted to win this award,” she said.

The funding will help with travel expenses as Ms Shamrock returns to a remote community in East Timor in mid-August to start a month of field work.

“My research will be from and about people who don’t normally have a voice,” she said. “I’ll take digital cameras and ask these people to record things they find significant. I can use those photos as the basis for discussion for research.”

Her goal is to complete her PhD research so it can assist western governments in planning aid programs for disadvantaged countries.

“There is a lot of aid available but there are still huge problems of poverty in East Timor, and people with disabilities have additional needs,” she said.

Julie Schomberg

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