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Three Minute Thesis Finalists Compete Virtually on Dec. 2

Whitney McLaughlin
Whitney McLaughlin presents at the 2019 Three Minute Thesis. (Becky Kirkland photo)

An 80,000-word thesis could take up to nine hours to present. Their time limit is three minutes.

On Dec. 2 (at noon), join the NC State Graduate School as our 10 Three Minute Thesis finalists compete to find out who can share their research best in just three minutes. The finalists were chosen from a field of 45 students who submitted their videos in the preliminary rounds.

As a proud partner with Parents and Families Services, our sixth annual science communication event will be held virtually for the first time, allowing friends and families to join us from around the world. The live audience will also help select our People’s Choice winner by voting after seeing the 10 presentations.

Founded at the University of Queensland, Three Minute Thesis (3MT) is an opportunity for graduate students to convey the essence and importance of their master’s thesis or doctoral dissertation research in an engaging way to a non-specialist audience in just three minutes, using one static PowerPoint slide. Participating in 3MT helps students develop teaching skills, pitching an idea to business investors or communicating research to the media and policymakers.

The 10 finalists, along with their degree programs, are listed below by college.

Agriculture and Life Sciences

  • Samah Ameen, master’s student, plant pathology
  • Nicholas Faulkner, Ph.D. student, plant and microbial biology


  • Saeed Ahmadi Oloonabadi, Ph.D. student, design


  • Kaitlyn Bacon, Ph.D. student, chemical and biomolecular engineering
  • Samrin Ahmed Kusum, Ph.D. student, civil engineering
  • Salvatore Luiso, Ph.D. student, chemical and biomolecular engineering

Natural Resources

  • Meredith Hovis, Ph.D. student, forestry and environmental resources


  • Dylan Bates, Ph.D. student, applied mathematics
  • Bram Frohock, Ph.D. student, chemistry


  • SM Azizul Hoque, Ph.D. student, textile technology management

Contestants will be judged on comprehension and content, as well as engagement and communication. Cash prizes will be awarded for first place, $1,000; second place, $750; and for the People’s Choice winner (by online audience vote), $500. The judges will determine first and second place winners. In addition, the first place winner will represent NC State at the Council of Southern Graduate Schools meeting next year.

Colleagues, families and fellow students are encouraged to tune in to support the finalists, learn about their research and vote for the People’s Choice winner. A panel of three judges will choose first and second place winners.

A link to the live event stream is posted on the Graduate School’s 3MT homepage. Also, a link to vote for the People’s Choice winner will be available during the live event on Dec. 2.

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