Nine of the ten finalists for the first-ever 3MT Competition.

Students Wow in UCF’S First-Ever 3 Minute Thesis Competition

By: Ashley Zirkle on

A presentation about the future of medicine and the possibility of diagnosing diseases from human breath took the top prize at UCF’s Inaugural Three-Minutes Thesis competition on April 27.

The College of Graduate Studies and Blackstone Launchpad hosted the competition, which pitted 10 doctoral students in a final round of competition. Before a packed house at the Live Oak Room, participants used one slide to launch into their three-minute pitch.

They were challenged by the time constraint and their audiences. They had to make their talks engaging and easy to understand for judges and the public who were unfamiliar with their fields of study.

Qitian Ru, from the College of Optics and Photonics took first place for his project, which will look at using optics and photonics to examine the human breath to detect disease.

Second Place went to Katrina Phillips who is pursuing a doctorate in Conservation Biology and spoke about her research on the early days in the life of a sea turtle.

Third place went to John Konvalina also pursuing a doctorate in Conservation Biology. His presentation focused on research on freshwater and coastal alligators, and their adaptions to salinity.

Albert Manero, President of Limbitless Solutions, Eric Burris, WESH 2 Meteorologist and Danya Shea, CEO of FervorWorks judged the presentations which shared $2,500 in prize money.

In addition to the judges’ picks, the audience members voted for the People’s Choice, which was awarded to Katrina Phillips for her presentation.

“The 3 Minute Thesis Competition was an excellent opportunity to inform the UCF community about the research taking place across multiple disciplines,” said Rachel Stern, assistant director of Blackstone Launchpad. “In working one-on-one with each of the finalists, the Blackstone Launchpad helped them refine their pitch to convey technical concepts to a non-specialist audience and improve their presentation skills, which was thoroughly on display throughout Wednesday’s finals.”

3MT started at the University of Queensland in Australia in 2008 and has since spread to 600 universities in 65 countries around the world.

UCF representatives from the first-ever 3MT competition may advance to the state competition on April 18, at the 2019 Conference of Florida Graduate Schools in Miami at Florida International University.

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