Winners of Miami's 2020 3MT competition (left to right): Sarah Adut, Sarah Bass, Muriel Truax and Nethmi De Alwis.
Winners of Miami's 2020 3MT competition (left to right): Sarah Adut, Sarah Bass, Muriel Truax and Nethmi De Alwis. Photo: Contributed photos

Miami's Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition winners

By Susan Meikle, university news and communications 

More than 50 graduate students participated in Miami University Graduate School’s Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) competition earlier this semester in the traditional face-to-face format.

The 10 finalists competed April 28 in the final round, which, like most other events during these Stay-Safe-Ohio days, was held remotely.

Rose Marie Ward, interim associate provost and dean of the Graduate School, said “I am so proud of the students. Our 10 finalists had to adapt to the new remote environment and be able to present a complex topic without any audience participation.”

The 3MT is a research communication competition for graduate students, held at universities worldwide. It challenges participants to present their research in just 180 seconds, in an engaging form that can be understood by an intelligent audience with no background in the research area. 

Miami’s top winners for the 2020 3MT:

  • First place ($500 prize): Sarah Adut, third-year doctoral candidate in clinical psychology with faculty adviser Joshua Magee, assistant professor of psychology, for “The Imagery of Desire.”
  • Second place ($300 prize): Sarah Bass, first-year master’s student in mechanical engineering with faculty adviser James Chagdes, assistant professor of mechanical and manufacturing engineering, for "Biosignal Controlled Robotics.”
  • Third place ($200 prize): Muriel Truax, second-year master’s student in political science with faculty adviser Rachel Blum, assistant professor of political science, for “What is the Alt-Right? Examining the Ideological Origins and Influence of a Movement.”
  • People’s Choice Award ($500): Nethmi De Alwis, fourth-year doctoral candidate with faculty adviser Dominik Konkolewicz, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry, for “Making Self-Healing Polymers.”

“I am thoroughly impressed with how they crafted their talk and excelled even with technology glitches,” Ward said.

Judges for the remote 3MT competition:

  • Barnali Gupta,  professor of economics and associate dean for curriculum in the Farmer School of Business.
  • Sean Kelly (Miami ’91), director of the Cincinnati-based Talent Pipeline Initiative and co-leader of the Greater Cincinnati STEM Collaborative.
  • Lasith Kariyawasam, fifth-year doctoral candidate in chemistry. He was the People's Choice Award Winner at Miami's 2019 3MT competition.
  • Vicka Bell Robinson, director of residence life.
  • Christine Habib (Miami ’81 MAcc’82), former senior accountant at Battelle & Battelle.