On Monday, April 2nd, the CCEE department held a Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition in which 7 graduate students presented their research. “This is an initiative by the departmental Graduate Programs Committee, to encourage our graduate students to develop better science communication skills and prepare them for the NC State 3MT competition,” said Dr. Ranji Ranjithan, Director of Graduate Programs and Associate Head of CCEE. The NC State competition will be held later this year. The 3MT format calls for complex research topics to be briefly described in language that an audience made up of non-specialists, or non-researchers can understand. Only one supporting static visual slide is allowed.
“We have had a healthy interest and participation by our graduate students at the university-level 3MT competition. Our department took top honors the first time and we’ve had several finalists each year since,” said Ranjithan. NC State held its first 3MT competition in 2015 and the winner that year was Dr. Haritha Malladi, who at the time was a Ph.D. student in CCEE. Malladi is currently a postdoctoral scholar and lecturer and served as one of the judges for the departmental competition. Another postdoctoral scholar, Dr. Atefeh Zamani served as the Master of Ceremonies for the department’s first event. While a student, Zamani was also a finalist in the 2016 University 3MT competition.
Three CCEE students were awarded certificates and a cash prize. Vivek Samu received first place for his presentation titled “Looking beneath soil with hammer impact” which focused on his research in assessing bridge health by determining the length of buried pilings using EDAR—Effective Dispersion Analysis of Reflections. EDAR is a non destructive form of testing using wave propagation. Samu is advised by Dr. Murthy Guddati.
A tie for second place was awarded to Sudarshana Mukhopadhyay for her 3MT talk titled” How do we prepare for a world where Extreme is the new Normal?” and Jonathan Miller whose presentation was titled “When can poor stream health be considered good?” Mukhopadhyay’s research uses statistical models to predict the effect of complex weather conditions on water supply. Mukhopadhyay is advised by Dr. Sankar Arumugam. Miller’s research looks at water quality in urban streams with an emphasis on accurately predicting stream health throughout the North Carolina piedmont area using biological indicators. Miller is advised by Dr. Dan Obenour.
The 3MT competition originated at the University of Queensland, Australia in 2008 and is held now at almost 200 universities in 17 countries around the world. The competition cultivates student’s communication and research presentation skills.