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Five graduate students face off in CCEE’s 7th Annual Three Minute Thesis Competition

Five CCEE Ph.D. students competed in the department’s 7th Annual Three Minute Thesis (3MT) Competition on March 4 at Fitts-Woolard Hall, presenting their research to an audience of judges and colleagues. Each student had three minutes and one static visual slide to make a compelling and concise statement about their thesis topic and its significance to society. 

CCEE’s event is modeled after the international 3MT, which was created at the University of Queensland. The Graduate School at NC State also hosts an annual 3MT event in the fall, where winners have the opportunity to progress to a regional competition.

This year’s judges included Benjamin Abram, CEO and founder of Modern Energy; Lisa Patterson, associate vice president of Hazen & Sawyer; Brent Lancaster, director of  communications of the College of Engineering; and Jory Weintraub; director of science engagement of the Office of University Interdisciplinary Programs. Ph.D. student Leah Weaver and Professor Brina Montoya emceed the ceremony, and Associate Teaching Professor Meagan Kittle Autry planned the event.

Temi Ibitoye

Temi Ibitoye, advised by Assistant Professor Angela Harris, gave the winning presentation of measuring the spread of COVID variants using wastewater surveillance. Second place went to Mila Yutskevych, advised by Andrew Grieshop, for a presentation on investigating the environmental impacts of war in Ukraine.

In addition to the judges’ picks, the audience had a chance to vote for their favorite presentation. Julio Alfredo Samayoa, advised by Christopher W. Clark Distinguished Professor Mervyn Kowalsky, and Assistant Professor Giorgio Proestos, won the People’s Choice Award for a presentation on the benefits of modular bridge construction.

Hezhou (Jenny) Ding, advised by Associate Professor Doug Call, gave a presentation on decreasing methane emissions while recovering valuable chemicals from landfills using anaerobic co-digestion. Paul Acuna, advised by Professor Rudi Seracino, gave a presentation on the benefits of using Fiber-Reinforced Polymer in the building of coastal bridges to increase longevity. 

“This year’s competition highlighted the wide range of high-impact research our graduate students are doing to benefit North Carolina and beyond,” Kittle Autry said. “The students had a valuable opportunity to further develop their speaking skills and practice sharing their work with a wide audience, an essential skill for their professional success.” 

Cade Karrenberg, left, and Professor Emily Berglund, right

The event also included the Spring 2024 CCEE Graduate Awards:

  • Cade Karrenberg, advised by Professor Emily Berglund, won the Smith Gardner Graduate Award.
  • Stefanie Starr Silsby, advised by S. James Ellen Distinguished Professor Detlef Knappe, won the Thomas Griffin Graduate Award.
  • Stephanie Parsons, advised by Professor Andy Grieshop, won the Callanan Graduate Fellowship.
  • Ibitoye won the Rohrbaugh Graduate Award.
  • Ariadne Palma Parra, advised by Kowalsky, won the Mangum Scholarship Award.
  • Nailah Afshan, advised by Professor Abhinav Gupta, won the David Johnston Graduate Award in Construction Engineering. 
  • Victor Duraes de Faria, advised by Associate Professor Anderson de Queiroz, won the Thomas G. Coffey Graduate Award.
  • André Kazuo Kuchiishi, advised by Professor Shane Underwood, won the C.A. Gardner Graduate Award.
  • Cristina Lorenzo-Velázquez, advised by Assistant Professor Ashly Cabas, won the Thomas Griffin Graduate Award.
  • Leah Weaver, advised by Assistant Professor Tarek Aziz, won the Charles Smallwood Graduate Award.
  • Savanna K. Smith, advised by Glenn E. and Phyllis J. Futrell Distinguished Professor Francis de los Reyes, won the Charles Smallwood Graduate Award.

See more photos from the event on the CCEE Facebook page.