Three Minute Thesis Competition Recap

The Division of Graduate Studies at Kent State University hosted its fifth annual Three Minute Thesis competition this October. The academic competition, originating at the University of Queensland in New Zealand, is now offered at hundreds of universities around the world. With only three minutes for each graduate student to present, contestants are tasked with condensing their research and delivering it with language that appeals to a non-specialist audience.


This year, 33 contestants presented their research from various disciplines across campus. Presentations covered topics ranging from the effects of mindfulness meditation on executive functions and coding chemical reactions towards targeted cancer therapy to the physiological effects of competitive gaming and the importance of online privacy in regard to children.


Sixteen competitors moved on to present their research to a panel of faculty judges in the Finals, held on Friday, October 25 in the KIVA.


Nisreen Yamany, a doctoral student in English took first place with her presentation titled, “In an Age of Intolerance, Can Literature Teach Us Tolerance?”


“I appreciated how everyone was supportive and encouraging. Yes, it’s a competition and participants are expected to be competitive. Yet, most participants were supportive and offered words of encouragement to other presenters.” – Nisreen Yamany


Biomedical doctoral student, Kirsten Maricic, won second place for her presentation called, “The Role of Cortisol and Norepinephrine in Depression.”


“Thinking long term, this will look great on my CV.  I am planning on taking every opportunity I can to earn awards throughout grad school that will help set me apart from other PhD job applicants in the future.” – Kirsten Maricic


Our third-place award-winner, a master’s student in theatre studies, Ryan Scoble, presented “Living in the Gray: A Look at Gender Performance and Performativity.”


“My favorite part of the Three Minute Thesis competition was meeting the other graduate students and hearing about their research. It opened my eyes to all the impressive things that are happening here on Kent's campus.” – Ryan Scoble


The audience was then given the opportunity to vote for their favorite presentation – leading to two People’s Choice Award winners – Nashrah Ahmad and Payel Datta.


Nashrah, a doctoral student in biomedical sciences, presented her research titled, “Drug Repurposing for the Treatment of Osteoarthritis” and Payel, a chemistry doctoral candidate, titled her presentation, “Drug Delivery Strategies Targeting Cancer Cells with Less Side Effect.


“Undoubtedly, 3MT was one of my best experience of graduate school at Kent State University. It made me think of my research in a very different light. As biological researchers we are well trained about the technical aspects of our research, but this competition gave me an opportunity to think about the essence of my research and its broader impact. Presenting at 3MT has prepared me for presenting my work at different platforms in future.” – Nashrah Ahmad


“It is helpful for my career as it was a huge opportunity to explain my research. – Payel Datta



Congratulations to all of the graduate students who chose to compete, and especially to our award-winners. And thank you to our panel of faculty judges!


To watch this year’s Three Minute Thesis presentations on video, please visit the Graduate Studies YouTube channel.