09:17 AM

​Three Minute Thesis competition hones essential skill for doctoral students

Five doctoral students recently competed head-to-head for the honor of winning the 2016 Three Minute Thesis competition at The Ohio State University.

Andrew Luttrell (above), doctoral student in psychology, emerged the winner with his three-minute presentation on how the mereperception of a moral basis makes opinions stronger.

Roopa Comandur, doctoral student in chemistry, received the People’s Choice award, determined by the audience.

The finalists, including Victoria Muñoz, English; Dixie Mollenkopf, comparative and veterinary medicine; and Juliana Vasco-Correa, food, agricultural and biological engineering, won their respective preliminary heats on April 8, beating out a total of 45 other participants to advance to the April 11 finals in the Wexner Center for the Arts Film/Video Theater.

The 3MT is sponsored by the Graduate School and was developed by the University of Queensland, Australia, in 2008. 3MT competitions are now held at universities across the globe.

“To effectively explain your research in three minutes and in a way that is understandable to non-specialists is a challenge to say the least. But it’s a challenge that our graduate students are eager to take up,” said Scott Herness, interim vice provost for graduate studies and interim dean of the Graduate School.

“Doctoral students are in the daily business of creating new knowledge and making new discoveries,” Herness said. “Sharing that information with others is an essential skill for our Ph.D.s, and the 3MT is a fun way to learn how to do that well.”

In both the preliminary heats and final, each presenter had only three minutes and a single static slide to explain his or her research to a non-expert audience. The presentations were judged by a panel of Ohio State faculty and directors of communications.

The 3MT winner received a $500 award, and the People’s Choice winner received $250.

2016 3MT Finalists

Roopa Comandur earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in chemistry from India before joining Ohio State’s doctoral program in chemistry. Her research focuses on improving understanding of the interaction of HIV with the human cell at the molecular level. She is in her fifth year and is in the processing of publishing two research papers.

Andrew Luttrell’s research contributes to a broader understanding of how easily people can commit to their opinions by showing that the mere perception of a moral basis makes a person's opinion less susceptible to persuasion. Next year, he will join the Psychology Department at the College of Wooster as a visiting assistant professor.

Dixie Mollenkopf is a Ph.D. candidate in comparative and veterinary medicine. Raised with an agriculture background, she currently lives on a beef cow/calf operation near Laurelville, Ohio. Her research focuses on antimicrobial resistance in food animals and the potential threat to food safety.

Victoria Muoz is a doctoral fellow in English. She has conducted research in the National Library of Spain and will be in residence this summer at The British Library of London. Her research is on English writers like William Shakespeare who adapted literary and cultural models from the Spanish Empire to create popular support for English imperialism during the Anglo-Spanish War (1585-1604).

Juliana Vasco-Correa is a Ph.D. candidate in food, agricultural and biological engineering. She is originally from Colombia and came to Ohio State to pursue her Ph.D. with a Fulbright fellowship in 2012. Her research focus is bioenergy production from biomass.