Cerebral Scholars, Competent Communicators: Doctoral Students to Compete in Upcoming Texas A&M 2021 Three Minute Thesis Competition

By Micaela Burrow, Texas A&M University Graduate and Professional School

COLLEGE STATION, Jan. 25, 2021 – Nine of Texas A&M University’s most astute doctoral scholars will duke it out from a distance at the Texas A&M Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) final round this Wednesday, January 27th. At stake is Texas A&M’s sole spot at the regional 3MT competition hosted by the Conference of Southern Graduate Schools, as well as cash prizes for the top three finishers and the “People’s Choice” winner.

Three Minute Thesis aims to bridge the gap between high-level university research and the lay public, whose taxpayer dollars support researchers in their quest to solve pressing challenges and improve conditions around the globe.

Contestants must distill their years of research into a maximum of 180 seconds, aided by a single PowerPoint slide. A panel of judges from the campus and Bryan-College Station community, appropriately spaced per CDC guidelines, will evaluate the presenters’ abilities to engage and persuade an audience. Since the competition will take place without a live audience due to COVID-19 constraints, contestants must find creative ways to overcome virtual communication barriers.

According to Dr. Morgan Schweller, Professional Development Coordinator for the Graduate and Professional School, 3MT challenges students to enhance their research and highlight its relevance for the broader community by drawing on non-academic talents.

“Students really have to sharpen their focus on the most compelling and significant parts of their research. When a research project lasts semesters or even years, that can become difficult to do,” Schweller said.
Contestants must be able to translate their complex research findings into a form that is digestible for the general public. This skill has advantages beyond the classroom.

“In the professional development field, we know that long-term success depends on soft skills. The ability to communicate effectively is just as important, maybe even more so, than hard skills students acquire in their disciplines,” Schweller said.

Originally created by the University of Queensland in 2008, 3MT garnered worldwide popularity as a venue to showcase students and their research accomplishments. Today, over 900 institutions across 85 countries participate in the competition.

This year marks the Texas A&M’s eighth annual 3MT competition. Dr. Adam Seipp, Assistant Provost in the Graduate and Professional School and Professor of History, will serve as the competition’s emcee. The event will be presented live on Zoom. For information or to register to watch the event live, visit the Graduate and Professional School 3MT page.
The finalists are:

Amin Davoodi, Curriculum & Instruction
“Promoting Educational Equity and Access for Home-Bound Students Using Robot Assisted Learning”

Amir Esmalian, Civil Engineering
“Societal Impacts of Infrastructure Service Disruptions”

Allie Folcik, Toxicology
“Keeping Cyanotoxins Out of Your Tap!”  

Rachit Gupta, Chemical Engineering
“Restoring Balance to Health­­—The Bacterial Way”  

Shreedevi Arun Kumar, Biomedical Engineering 
“Sunscreen for Vaccines”

Marcus Orzabal, Biomedical Sciences
“E-Cig Vaping: Don’t Hold Your Breath”

Mickey Ray Parker, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology                                                          
“Improving Outcomes of Conservation Translocation for Habitat Specialist Species”

Mahnoosh Sadeghi, Industrial Engineering
“Developing a Smart PTSD Monitoring System”

Nick Shuber, Chemistry 
"Shedding Light on Air Pollution”
Media contact: Morgan Schweller, Office of Graduate and Professional Studies 979-845-3631, mschweller@tamu.edu.

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