Announcing: UNCG’s 2015 3MT Winners

Posted on Friday, November 20th, 2015 by William Davis under Awards and Honors, Events, Student success, Students. Tags: ,

Graduate School Events
Michelle Rosquillo

Nine competitors advanced to the final round of the 2015 3-Minute Thesis competition, held at UNCG’s Alumni House on November 17—three were chosen as winners. First place, with a $1,000 prize, went to Angela Larsen, PhD candidate in Biology.

2015 3MT 1st place winner, Angela Larsen

2015 3MT 1st place winner, Angela Larsen

The 3-Minute Thesis, or 3MT, is an international competition for graduate students, in which competitors must reduce their thesis or dissertation research to layman’s terms and present it before a panel of judges. The presentation is limited to a single PowerPoint slide and a three-minute explanation of the research and its significance. Developed in 2008 by the University of Queensland, the competition has made its way around the world from Australia and New Zealand to include more than 200 universities from 18 countries.

This year’s competition at UNCG showcased the research of students from a variety of fields like Kinesiology, Music Education, Interior Architecture, and Specialized Education. Larsen’s presentation was titled “Habitat Changes: Can We Grow Biofuel Feedstocks Without Negatively Impacting Wildlife?”

Larsen describes her research as “investigating microhabitat of switchgrass intercropped in pine plantations and associated responses of rodent individuals, populations, and community structure.”

When asked about the challenge of condensing the parameters of her research into terms that could be easily understood by judges and audience members, Larsen says, “I certainly wanted to get and keep people’s attention, but I also wanted people to walk away with a good idea of what my research was really about.”

Larsen is a two-time entrant into the competition at UNCG, having competed in the 2014 3MT. She looks on her experiences as cumulative and beneficial in both a professional and academic sense.

“Last year was an excellent introduction as to…how different people approached the challenge,” she says. “I have always wanted to make my research as accessible as possible to anyone who may be interested.” She mentions that it is “easy to get bogged down” by dissertation research, and that participating in 3MT helped her “remember the bigger picture.”

“The competition [has] allowed me to become more aware of other exciting research being conducted and meet some of the excellent researchers here at UNCG,” says Larsen.

Aside from the prize money, Larsen was awarded travel and accommodations for when she goes on to the regional 3MT competition.

Left to right: Joseph Ross, Angela Larsen, Vincent Sica

Left to right: Joseph Ross, Angela Larsen, Vincent Sica

Second place ($500) went to Vincent Sica, PhD candidate in Chemistry and Biochemistry, for his presentation “Accelerating Natural Product Drug Discovery: 6 Weeks to 6 Seconds.” The audience members also voted Joseph Ross, PhD candidate in History, as the People’s Choice Winner ($250) for his presentation of his dissertation, “Judging Nouremberg: Creating the International Military Tribunal’s Human Rights Legacy in America and Beyond.”

Larsen will represent UNCG in the Conference of Southern Graduate Schools in Charlotte, February 2016.

Photo credits: UNCG The Graduate School