Your ten-year-old sibling might ask you one morning, “So, what exactly do you do at school?” What if you study thermomechanical and electromagnetic properties of ceramic composites at high temperatures or smooth orthogonal decompositions? What would you say? How would you say it? This is the question graduate students competing in Three Minute Thesis (3MT) are forced to wonder and answer. At Villanova University’s 3MT competition, graduate students had to answer the question, “What do you do?” in three minutes or less.
Held in The John and Joan Mullen Center for the Performing Arts on Friday, Feb. 24, 13 finalists (master’s and doctoral students at Villanova) presented their research to members of the audience in front of a large slideshow presentation. The stage was setup so that audience members were able to see the three-minute timer. Similar to that of a game show, audience members watched the timer tick down to minutes and then to mere seconds. After each presentation, numerous judges (Villanova faculty) would give feedback before going on to the next contestant.
Towards the end of the event, audience members were able to vote for a “people’s choice” award while the judges calculated the first and second place winners. Before the winners were announced, audience members were able to hear a couple personal comments from the contestants themselves–their process, struggles, and aspirations.
Eliana Uriona took first place for her presentation “Optimizing Biochar Conditions for Heavy Metal Immobilization in Contaminated Soils.” Uriona also earned the people’s choice award. Grace Sutoris, won second place for her presentation “Using Machine Learning to Detect Underlying Heartbeat During CPR.”
Representing Villanova University, Uriona will compete at the Northeast Regional 3MT Competition on Friday, April 28. The virtual competition will be hosted by the University of New Hampshire. Watch Villanova’s 2023 3MT competition here. Be sure to check out Falvey’s blog next year for 2024 3MT announcements.
Isabel Choi ’26, is Communication & Marketing Assistant at Falvey Library.
“Attending the competition definitely inspired me…to see dedicated graduate students present their studies….perhaps graduate research is something I should consider pursuing too!”