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Student Success Research and Innovation

Miami University's Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition winners

Ten finalists competed in the Miami University Graduate School Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) competition held virtually Feb. 24.

Left to right: Caroline Reges (first place) with biology graduate student Abby Valachovic; Obed Dodo (second place); Charles Xie (third place); and Anindita Laz Banti (People's Choice Award).
Student Success Research and Innovation

Miami University's Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition winners

3mt-logoTen finalists competed in the Miami University Graduate School Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) competition held virtually Feb. 24.

Finalists were selected from nearly 30 graduate students who participated earlier this semester in the research communication competition.

The 3MT, held at more than 900 universities worldwide, challenges participants to present their research in just 180 seconds, in an engaging form that can be understood by an intelligent audience with no background in the research area. 

Top winners of Miami’s 2021 3MT competition

  • First place ($1,000 prize): Caroline Reges, first year master’s degree student in biology with advisor Paul Schaeffer, associate professor of biology, for “How do you mend a broken heart?”
  • Second place ($750 prize): Obed Dodo, third year doctoral student with advisor Dominik Konkolewicz for “Self-healing polymers for everyday use.”
  • Third place ($500 prize): Charles Xie, third year doctoral student in chemistry with advisor Neil Danielson, professor of chemistry and biochemistry, for “Removal of PFOA from Water by A Novel and Efficient Material.”
  • People’s Choice Award ($1,000 prize): Anindita Laz Banti, second year master’s degree student in architecture with advisor John Reynolds, professor of architecture and interior design, for “How Vernacular Architecture Affects The Global?”

Participants said that this year’s all-virtual competition was a positive experience, and allowed family and friends from all over the world to join the audience.

They encourage other graduate to participate next year, especially those who want to practice and build confidence in public speaking to a general audience. “Plan to enjoy the process, because it builds your public speaking skill and is also fun,” Dodo said.

“One challenge of 3MT is how to present three years of my work into a three-minute talk. This requires me to refine only the most important pieces of my research, namely the ‘what,’ ‘why,’ and “how,’” said Xie. “My background as a non-native English speaker makes me more aware of the importance of language. I especially focused on how to use every single sentence to impress my audience,” he said.

Dodo said that the 3MT presentation is more than a competition, it's also an opportunity to help non-experts appreciate and better understand your field of interest. “Do not be anxious about winning, instead, be excited about educating your listeners,” he said.

Judges for the 3MT 2021 final round:

Jenny Darroch, dean of the Farmer School of Business and the Mitchell P. Rales Chair and Professor of Business Leadership.

Denise Taliaferro Baszile, associate dean of diversity and student experience for the College of Education, Health, and Society and professor of educational leadership.

Matt Redder (Miami B.S. ’83, MBA ’85), retired process engineer whose work experience includes Haas, GE Aircraft Engines and Milacron.

Nethmi De Alwis: 5th year doctoral student in chemistry with adviser Dominik Konkolewicz. She was the 2020 3MT People’s Choice Award winner. De Alwis recently received a Global Marie Curie Fellowship for post-doctoral research at ETH Zurich, Switzerland.

Watch the video of the 3MT competition final round on the Graduate School's YouTube channel

Miami University’s 3MT® competition is sponsored by the Graduate School and in loving memory of Gerald Sanders, professor emeritus of communications and chair of the department of communications, 1981-1992.