March 03, 2017

Graduate student wins thesis competition

by Tim Crosby

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- A doctoral student at Southern Illinois University Carbondale will represent the university at a regional contest after winning a local competition for the most compelling thesis in the Graduate School.

Emi Hayashi, who is working on her doctoral degree in physiology, earned first place in the SIU Graduate School’s inaugural Three-Minute Thesis competition, Feb. 15. Hayashi received a $700 award for travel expenses to represent SIU at the Midwest Association of Graduate Schools’ conference in Indianapolis in April, as well as $500 cash award.

The Three Minute Thesis -- also known as the 3MT competition -- was developed by the University of Queensland to celebrate the exciting research conducted by doctoral students. The exercise is aimed at cultivating the students’ academic, presentation and research communication skills and supports their capacity to effectively explain their research in three minutes, in language appropriate to a non-specialist audience.

Eight doctoral students participated in the event, said Yueh-Ting Lee, dean of the SIU Graduate School. Six faculty members acted as judges.

“This is our first time to do it and it was very engaging and interesting,” Lee said.

Caitlin Stallings, a doctoral student in physiology, and Klaus Cavalhieri, a doctoral student in psychology, received second- and third-place honors, respectively, receiving $500 and $300 cash awards.

Each student gave a three-minute spoken-word presentation using only a single, static PowerPoint slide. Judges assessed participants’ presentations in several areas, including comprehension and content, communication and research significance, among others.