FIU Hosts 6th Annual 3-Minute Thesis Competition

3MT competition participantsThe participants of 3MT on the stage with Felecia Townsend after their Presentations | Abdul Malik, PantherNOW

Abdul Malik & Luka Varazi | Contributing Writers

The 6th Annual 3-Minute Thesis Competition was hosted on Friday, Jan. 27 at the Student Academic Success Center by Felecia Townsend, the Director of Operations at FIU’s Business Services.

“Just for your information, the three-minute thesis, also affectionately known as 3MT, was first developed at the University of Queensland and Australia,” Dr. Rene Price, the Associate Dean of the University Graduate School, said opening the event. 

“Right now, the competition is held at universities and associations, including FIU and 85 countries around the world. The competition gets its name because students have 3 minutes to present their thesis to a general audience.”

The competition, she noted, is not only a test of their academic rigor but also of their ability to communicate complex ideas effectively.

”The 3MT competition brings the best and the best of our Ph.D. students together,” Price said in an interview with PantherNOW.

“They have 3 minutes to present their research to a general audience and I think they all did an outstanding job today. The winners get to go to state competitions in Pensacola and then regional competitions in Greenville, SC, and I look forward to seeing the winners of that event present at those competitions as well.”

The rules, as outlined by Claudia Balzan, a politics & international relations graduate student, were strict yet simple: one static slide, no props, and a hard three-minute limit. The range of topics presented was nothing short of astounding.

Mahmoud Abdellah, an electrical and computer engineering doctoral candidate, highlighted the vulnerabilities of our power grids and innovative solutions to protect them. Eduardo De La Vega Taboada, a Psychology Development Sciences Ph.D. candidate, shared his work on empowering adolescents through citizen science to transform their environments.

Each presentation was a unique blend of personal passion and scientific inquiry. For instance, Daniela Leizaola from biomedical engineering presented on mitigating skin color biases in tissue oxygenation, the oxygen molecule entering the human body, and mapping wounds.

Similarly, Yusi Ma from business administration delved into the complexities of AI fairness in recruitment procedures, a topic of relevance in today’s technologically driven job market.

The judges, including esteemed faculty and industry professionals, had the challenging task of evaluating these presentations based on comprehension, engagement, and the effectiveness of the accompanying slide. The audience, too, played a role in deciding the People’s Choice award(voting for a particular participant whose thesis they liked), adding an interactive dimension to the event.

As the competition drew to a close, the winners were announced. Ashli Wright, with her compelling talk on professors’ motivation to read and teach with primary scientific literature, clinched the top spot.

“I think that’s one of the best things about the 3MT,” Wright said in an interview with PantherNOW. “I get to learn what other people are doing on the other side of my department and that’s just really exciting and I love that part of it is getting to meet new people and learn about their research.”

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