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KU will hold inaugural Three Minute Thesis competition

Thursday, February 21, 2019

LAWRENCE — It takes years to conduct cutting-edge research, but University of Kansas graduate students have only three minutes to explain it.

Six graduate students will compete in the final round of the inaugural Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition at KU, set for 6-7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 28, in Forum AB of the Burge Union. The event is free and open to the public.

Twenty-seven graduate students participated in the heats round of the competition Feb. 18, with six finalists selected by a panel of judges from Kansas communities. Judges for Heat A were Audrey Bell, funeral director & embalmer at Warren-McElwain Mortuary; Claudia Bode, education director for the Center for Environmentally Beneficial Catalysis; Alex Erwin, director of Talent Development and STEMM Education at BioKansas; Nicole Perry, assistant director of the Center for Undergraduate Research, and Murl Riedel, director of grants for Humanities Kansas. Judges for Heat B were Anne Dotter, associate director of the University Honors Program; Rebecca Linwood, senior scientist at Merck Animal Health; Will Hickox, public engagement coordinator for the Watkins Museum of History, and Dyan Morgan, associate director of the Undergraduate Biology Program.

In the finals, a panel of judges will select the first- and second-place award winners while a People's Choice award will be selected by the audience. The first-place winner will represent KU at the Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools 3MT Competition, which will be March 20-22 in St. Louis.

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 excellence of their research. In 2018, over 600 universities in 59 countries took part in 3MT competitions.

The six graduate students competing in the finals of the 2019 KU 3MT competition are listed below with their research presentation titles.

Sayantani Basu, doctoral student in chemical engineering, “Nanoengineered DNA Based Injectable Hydrogels as Sustained Drug Delivery Platform for Cranial Defect Repair.”

Jordan Borrell, doctoral student in bioengineering, “Rewiring the Injured Spinal Cord – Is the Bionic Person a Reality?”

Kait Howard, doctoral student in bioengineering, “You Can't Be Replaced, But Your Knee Can!”

Shravan Kaundinya, doctoral student in electrical engineering, “Monitoring Water Content in Soil Using Radar.”

Sanjana Sundararajan, doctoral student in molecular, cellular & developmental biology, “Because Small Things Do Go a Long Way!”

Peymon Zereshki, doctoral student in physics, “The Future of Electronic Technology.”