On February 10, 2023, doctoral students from across the University showcased their research and presentation skills at the fourth annual Columbia University Three-Minute Thesis Competition. In three minutes, using only one slide and no notes, thirteen students presented their dissertation research to a panel of faculty and alumni judges and a live audience of more than 200 peers, friends, family members, alumni, faculty, and staff in Faculty Room in Low Library and online via Zoom.
The research topics ranged from economic theory to schizophrenia risk factors, from eighteenth-century natural knowledge to political activism in the era of social media. The competition was co-hosted by the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, the Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science, and the Coordinated Doctoral Programs in Biomedical Sciences.
Celina Chatman Nelson, GSAS Associate Dean for Academic Diversity and Professional Development, remarked, “3MT…is among my favorite events of the year. We get to learn about fascinating research across a wide variety of disciplines, and in bite-sized pieces that are easy to understand.” She continued, “conveying complex information for a general audience can be challenging and is an important skill to hone. 3MT gives our students a moment in the spotlight and a chance to practice this skill.”
Erin Louwagie, a fifth-year doctoral student in Mechanical Engineering, was awarded first place for her presentation “A patient-specific computational approach to study mechanical causes of preterm birth.” Her advisor is Dr. Kristin Myers, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering.
Cherie Henderson, a sixth-year doctoral student in Communications, won second place for her presentation “Living While Dying: Terminal-Illness Narratives and the Cultural Construction of the End of Life.” Her advisor is Dr. Michael Schudson, Professor of Journalism at the Graduate School of Journalism.
Naveed Tavakol, a fifth-year PhD candidate in Biomedical Engineering, won Audience Choice for his presentation “Astronaut-on-a-chip: bioengineered human tissues for studying cosmic radiation.” His advisor is Dr. Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic, University Professor and Mikati Foundation Professor of Biomedical Engineering.
Finalist Joslyn Marie DeVinney, a seventh-year doctoral student in the History Department, encourages other students to push their fears aside and participate in the competition. “The 3MT competition really pushed me out of my comfort zone, and I'm so glad I did it,” DeVinney shared. “Participating has given me more confidence in both speaking publicly and in communicating my ideas concisely to a varied audience.”
GSAS congratulates all of the competition’s thirteen finalists.
Finalists (GSAS students are in bold):
- Panagiota Apostolou, Cellular Physiology and Biophysics (BIOMED)
- Nooriel Banayan, Biological Sciences (GSAS)
- Vira Behnam, Biomedical Engineering (SEAS)
- Beatrice Bonini, Political Science (GSAS)
- Joslyn DeVinney, History (GSAS)
- Cherie Henderson, Communications (JOUR)
- Mollie Hobensack, Nursing (NURS)
- Yuxuan Huang, Earth and Environmental Engineering (SEAS)
- Ga Hyun Lee, Chemical Engineering (SEAS)
- Erin Louwagie, Mechanical Engineering (SEAS)
- Suneil Parimoo, Economics (GSAS)
- Keerthi Sravan Ravi, Biomedical Engineering (SEAS)
- Naveed Tavakol, Biomedical Engineering (SEAS)