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Departmental Three Minute Thesis competition hones graduate students’ presentation skills

On February 18, CCEE held a departmental Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition at which 9 graduate students presented their research. “The purpose of the event is to help graduate students improve their communication skills, especially to people outside of their core domain,” said Dr. Ranji Ranjithan, Director of Graduate Programs for CCEE. “We also want to showcase the variety of impactful research being conducted, and make research communication and public speaking part of the culture among our graduate students.”

Each participant had three minutes, and one static visual slide, to make a compelling and concise statement about their thesis topic and its significance to society. The departmental event was modeled after the international 3MT®, which was created at the University of Queensland. Since its inaugural event in 2008 it has spread widely and is now held at over 600 universities across more than 65 countries worldwide. The Graduate School at NC State will hold it’s annual 3MT® in the Fall, and the winners of the University-wide event will have the opportunity to progress to the regional competition.

Dr. Katie Homar from the Graduate School assisted the department with an informational/preparation session. At a practice session held a week before the competition Drs. Francis de los Reyes, Peter Harries, and Mike Carter offered valuable feedback to the contestants. In addition, the main event featured five judges: Drs. Peter Harries, Meagan Autry and Laura Demarse also from the Graduate School; Matt Shipman, Research News Lead Writer with NC State; and Shelby Hallman, Research Librarian for Engineering and Entrepreneurship.

Two finalists and a People’s Choice Award were given. First place went to Ph.D. student Army Lieutenant Colonel Brad McCoy. Second place was awarded to Francisco Jativa. The audience, which included many CCEE faculty and graduate students, voted to bestow the People’s Choice award to Ishtiak Ahmed.

L to R Dept. Head Morton Barlaz, Army Lieutenant Colonel and Ph.D. student Brad McCoy, Dr. Rudi Seracino (Advisor to McCoy). McCoy was awarded First Place in the 3MT and also received the C.C. Mangum Inc. Endowment Award.
Dept. Head Morton Barlaz, left, with Francisco Jativa who won second place in the 3MT.
Dr. Nagui Rouphail, left, advisor to Ishtiak Ahmed who was chosen for the People’s Choice Award.

The department extends congratulations to all 9 of the participants who worked hard on their presentations. Following is a list of all 9, with their presentation title, and their advisor. We also extend thanks to Drs. Eleni Bardaka, Brina Montoya, and Cassie Castorena for organizing the event, and Dr. Mohammad Pour-Ghaz who acted as the Master of Ceremonies.

Name Title Advisor(s)
Shivpal Yadav Moisture Sensitivity in Asphalt Mixture Akhtar Tayebali
Joseph Hollingsworth Economic and Environmental Assessment of Solar Powered Integrated Greenhouses Joseph DeCarolis
Dol Raj Chalise Dam effect on natural river flow Sankar Arumugam
Nikhil Rastogi Locomotive Emission Reduction Strategies H. Christopher Frey
Ariadne Palma Parra Influence of response spectra definitions on bidirectional response of RC Bridge columns Mervyn Kowalsky
Francisco Jativa Micro-mechanical properties of pure cement phases under the effects of different magnesium salt concentrations Mohammad Pour-Ghaz
Rowshon Jadid Strain-Based Limit State for Flood Defense Earth Infrastructure Mo Gabr and Brina Montoya
Brad McCoy Extending the Useful Service Life of Prestressed Concrete Bridges using Mechanically Fastened-Fiber Reinforced Polymer Rudolf Seracino
Ishtiak Ahmed Detection and visualization of lane changes from vehicle trajectory data and digitized infrastructure Nagui Rouphail, Billy Williams


If you are interested in watching the presentations you can view a compilation here.