Graduate Students on the Clock in Research Competition

Author: Sue Ryan

Three Minute Thesis competition

Nine University of Notre Dame graduate students will compete for prize money and a bid to the regional championships during the Three Minute Thesis competition on March 16. Known as 3MT, the competition features graduate students across all disciplines explaining their research in clear and succinct language appropriate for an audience of specialists and non-specialists alike, all within three minutes.

3MT competitors address a live audience and panel of judges with a single static slide accompanying their presentations. The students are vying for monetary prizes, and the Notre Dame winner will claim a spot in the Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools 3MT regional competition in Chicago on April 8.

The three finalists from the College of Arts and Letters are Ph.D. candidates Tony Cunningham and Caroline Hornburg from psychology, and Laura Bland from the history and philosophy of science program.

“This competition is a great opportunity for Notre Dame graduate students to promote their research and communicate its importance to a broader community beyond their disciplines, and to engage more fully with the impacts their work has for all of us,” said Laura Carlson, vice president and associate provost and dean of the Graduate School. “Being able to reduce their dissertations to one slide and a three-minute oration while retaining the importance and impact of the work requires significant skills that are crucial to our students’ professional development. 3MT is an excellent means for the Graduate School to shine a strong spotlight on graduate research, and to celebrate the pivotal role that graduate students play in our research advances.”

Carlson will be judging the competition along with South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, South Bend Brew Werks co-founder and owner Drew Elegante, and trustee of South Bend Community School Corporation Maritza Robles. Notre Dame Vice President of University Relations Lou Nanni will serve as master of ceremonies for the finals competition. First- and second-place winners will be chosen by the judges, and those in attendance will vote for the “People’s Choice” winner.

Advancing to the finals from the College of Science are Ph.D. candidates Claire Bowen, from the applied and computational mathematics and statistics program; Kristofor Glinton from biochemistry; and Nicholas Myers of chemistry. From the College of Engineering, Ph.D. candidates Mark Summe of chemical and biomolecular engineering, Peter Deak from chemical and biomolecular engineering, and Maria Gibbs of civil and environmental engineering and earth sciences advanced from the preliminary round.

3MT was developed in 2008 by the University of Queensland in Australia. Since then, the competition has grown to be held in 19 countries and at more than 35 research universities in the United States.

Notre Dame’s 3MT finals will take place from 4 to 6 p.m. in the Jordan Auditorium in the Mendoza College of Business. A reception will follow the competition, featuring drinks by South Bend Brew Werks. The competition and reception are free and open to the public.

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