College News

Gmit student wins top award in thesis in 3

Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT) student Fiona Malone, won for her address on the link between blood clots and strokes.
The number of women working in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) has been a concern for the Government for several years, with Minister for Education Jan O’Sullivan noting only a quarter of those working in STEM are women. 
The concept behind Thesis in 3 is for some of the brightest members of Ireland’s STEM community to showcase their masters or doctoral research in the form of “elevator pitches”, where they must deliver their presentations in no more than three minutes while using no more than three slides. 
According to the competition’s Galway co-ordinator, Brendan Smith, the format is designed to, “help students to present research that can often be highly specialised and technical and probably the result of years of hard work…in a way that the ordinary layperson can understand.” 
Mr Smith described Ms Malone’s winning talk and its delivery as having both “style and substance”. 
She told about its content and the way she conveyed its message:
“My talk was about how a stroke can be caused by blood clots that form in the heart of people with Atrial Fibrillation (AFib), a type of irregular heartbeat.  
“This is the most common heartbeat irregularity across the globe and these blood clots can account for up to 30% of all strokes. I introduced the topic to the audience with a character named Bob, a typical Irish man who finds one day that he is experiencing AFib. I then discussed how this could lead to the fatal condition of stroke.
“This topic is the core work of my PhD, which concerns the haemodynamic factors that influence stroke occurrence. My aim is to simulate the whole stroke scenario from clot formation to stroke occurrence.”
A native of Co Kilkenny, Ms Malone previously won in the Engineering and Mathematical Sciences Category at the Undergraduates Awards in 2014 for her studies on ovine and porcine tissues. After winning the award she thanked Mr Smith and her supervisor at GMIT, Dr Eugene McCarthy for their encouragement. 
The second-placed entry by Cork’s Tyndall National Institute’s Niamh Kavanagh, focused on how to increase capacity for internet usage by moving to longer wavelength communications and also using new optical fibres. 
UCD’s Clíodhna O’Connor, meanwhile, claimed third for her talk on intervention for adolescents suffering from mental health issues. Having achieved a first class honours in primary education and psychology, she came upon her thesis after teaching primary classes. 
This was GMIT’s first year at Thesis in 3, with Brendan Smith responsible for integrating the newcomers. Thesis in 3 has grown in its seven years of existence from being held for a small number of institutes to now being a nationwide event. 
Other topics presented at the event included looks at how to better surveying techniques, growing 2D materials to make new devices and a talk on dietary intake titled ‘You Are What You Pee’. 
Photo: @thesisin3/ Twitter