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Graduate students honored for communicating research

Friday, March 08, 2019

LAWRENCE — In the final round of the Three Minute Thesis competition Feb. 28, judges selected the first-place winner, Kait Howard. A master’s degree student in bioengineering, she received a $500 award and will represent KU at the Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools' 3MT Competition later this month in St. Louis.

The second-place winner was Shravan Kaundinya, doctoral student in electrical engineering, and the People's Choice award winner was Sanjana Sundararajan, doctoral student in molecular, cellular & developmental biology.

The final round was judged by Paul Buskirk, KU associate athletics director; Kansas State Sen. Marci Francisco; Kansas Rep. Boog Highberger; Derek Kwan, executive director of the Lied Center of Kansas, and Lisa Larsen, Lawrence mayor.

Twenty-five graduate students competed in the preliminary heats round Feb. 18. The six top presenters from the heats round were selected by judges to compete in the finals round. Sigma Xi – an international, multidisciplinary research society promoting science and engineering – also provided prizes to the finalists.

3MT was developed by the University of Queensland to challenge graduate students to present a compelling presentation about their research and its significance to nonacademic persons in just three minutes using only one presentation image. The goals of the event are to help graduate students sharpen their communication skills and show to the public the positive reach of their research. In 2018, over 600 universities in 59 countries took part in 3MT competitions. This is the first year that KU has participated in the competition.