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SBU Three Minute Thesis Competition 2019

SBU 3MT logo Stony Brook again will celebrate our students' exciting PhD research with Three Minute Thesis 2019 on  Friday, March 29, 2019.

Three Minute Thesis, or 3MT® for short, is a spoken word thesis competition. 3MT is an opportunity for SBU graduate students to present their dissertation research findings to a general audience in THREE MINUTES with only one PowerPoint slide. Three Minute Thesis is an international event founded at the University of Queensland. The goal is for students to engage all their communication skills to make their research vivid and engaging while emphasizing its key point without jargon. 

Graduate students who compete will receive specialized coaching. Speakers will work with coaches from the  Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science. The nationally recognized Alda Center at Stony Brook works with researchers to help them communicate more effectively with the public, the media and others outside their own specialty. Selection as a speaker is a unique professional development opportunity that will enhance any student's skills and CV. While 3MT is a competition, SBU emphasizes the professional development derived from a cohort approach where students participate in small group coaching that encourages peer feedback and support.  

Prizes will be awarded.   The SBU Alumni Association kindly sponsors prizes for the best talks. A panel of judges will evaluate the talks for how well they achieve 3MT's   judging criteria. Get inspired by watching the winning talks from last year's 3MT.


1ST PLACE: olivia swanson, neuroscience

  Olivia Swanson and Alumni Foundation Board President Bedel Saget

2nd PLACE AND PEOPLE'S CHOICE: xiaoyu zhao, molecular & cellular biology 

Ziaoyu Zhao and Alumni Foundation Board President Bedel Saget

3rd PLACE: bhavya ghai, computer science

Bhavya Ghai and Alumni Foundation Board President Bedel Saget

And, congratulations to all of our eight finalists! 

Eight finalists for SBU 3MT 2019

From left, Bedel Saget '88 (President, Alumni Association Board), Olivia Swanson, Pawan Sharma, Bhavya Ghai, Brian Hartwig, Joelle Mann, Xiaoyu Zhao, Bihua Yu7, Chaudry Hassan.

Estefania Vergara from Economics presentsLocation:  Wang Center Lecture Halls 1 & 2

Date:    Friday, March 29, 2019

Time: 10:00 am—2:00 pm

This is event is free and open to the public.

Sponsors: SBU Alumni Association, Graduate Student Organization, Graduate School, and the Career Center. 
3MT is a model developed by the University of Queensland.

SBU 3MT 2019 AGENDA:  

9:30am-10:00am Coffee & Sign In Theater Lobby
10:00am-10:15am Welcome and Ground Rules Lecture Hall 2
  Welcoming Remarks: Richard Gerrig, Interim Dean of the Graduate School, and 
Interim Vice Provost for Graduate Education
10:30am-11:30am Round 1  
  Moderator:  Julie Bettke, Graduate Student, Microbiology
Javier Gastón-Greenberg, Hispanic Languages and Literature
Nusnin Akter, Materials Science and Chemical Engineering
Andrew Rimby, English
Prithviraj Rajebhosale, Neuroscience
Olivia Swanson, Neuroscience
Chaudhry Hassan, Biomedical Engineering
Xiaoyi Hu, Mechanical Engineering
Brian Hartwig, English
Stephanie Bonvissuto, Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
Lecture Hall 1
  Moderator:  Andrija Petrovic, Graduate Student, Linguistics
Tara Holmes, Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
Andy Eicher, Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
Lauren Ruiz, Art
Xiaoyu Zhao, Molecular and Cellular Biology
Mohammad Mahdi Javanmard, Computer Science
Joelle Mann, English
Bihua Yu, Applied Math
Bhavya Ghai, Computer Science
Jinelle Wint, Molecular and Cellular Biology
Pawan Sharma, Health and Rehabilitation Sciences
Lecture Hall 2
11:30am-11:45am Break                  Theater Lobby
11:50am-12:50pm Round 2 Competitors Announced and Round 2 Begins
Moderator: James Vassallo, Graduate Student, Public Health
Lecture Hall 2
1:00pm-2:00pm Luncheon and Winners Announced
Awards presented by  Bedel Saget '88, President, Stony Brook Alumni Association Board
Theater Lobby

Agenda subject to change.


Student Graduate Program Advisor Presentation Title
Andrew Rimby English Susan Scheckel A Queer Meeting: Whitman and Wilde in Camden, NJ
Andy Eicher Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Lisa Diedrich Looking to the Past to Think About the Future
Bihua Yu Applied Math Evangelos Coutsias Cracking the Folding Puzzle
Bhavya Ghai Computer Science Klaus Mueller Let's Make Technology Fair Again!
Brian Hartwig English Susan Scheckel Stage to Page in the Progressive Era
Chaudhry Hassan Biomedical Engineering Yi-Xian Qin Let it flow!
Javier Gastón-Greenberg Hispanic Languages and Literature Kathleen Vernon Hero Genesis
Jinelle Wint Molecular and Cellular Biology Howard Sirotkin Fishing for a Cure
Joelle Mann English Stacey Olster Viral Voices and Novel Forms of Expression
Lauren Ruiz Art Ian Paul DNA and Disposables: Nothing Disappears
Mohammad Mahdi Javanmard Computer Science Rezaul A Chowdhury and Robert J Harrison How to Make Dynamic Programming Algorithms Faster
Nusnin Akter Materials Science and Chemical Engineering Anibal Boscoboinik and Taejin Kim Toxic Gas Removal from Car Exhaust
Olivia Swanson Neuroscience Arianna Maffei Brain in Motion
Pawan Sharma Health and Rehabilitation Sciences Prithvi Shah Freedom from Hand Paralysis
Prithviraj Rajebhosale Neuroscience David Talmage and Lorna Role Tracking Trauma in the Brain
Stephanie Bonvissuto Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Mary Jo Bona We Are Where We Can Enter
Tara Holmes Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Liz Montegary How the Movies Made Me A Lesbian
Xiaoyi Hu Mechanical Engineering Thomas Cubaud Miniature Waves
Xiaoyu Zhao Molecular and Cellular Biology Scott Powers Social Network of Cancer Genes


Judging: The talks will be evaluated by a panel of judges from a range of backgrounds and disciplines for how well the speaker engages a general audience of non-specialists and can convey the excitement and innovation of their research without jargon or distortion.  See the full judging criteria.

3MT 2018 1st Place Winner Yi Zheng and supportersPrizes:  Prizes will be awarded for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place, plus a People's Choice award selected by the audience. Students must stay for the luncheon announcement to receive their award. 

1st prize: $1000
2nd prize: $700
3rd prize: $300 
People's Choice: $100


Eligibility: Competitors must be SBU graduate students who have advanced to candidacy (G5 or equivalent), and their research must be at a stage where findings, preliminary conclusions, and broader impact can be discussed. Students may be in any disciplinary field. Those in the Fine Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences are particularly encouraged to participate.  Students must affirm that their graduate advisor supports presentation of their research during speaker sign up.

  All speakers must commit to participating in the 3 training sessions to be held on: February 21 AND February 28 AND March 14/15.*

Presentation Guidelines: Talks will be three minutes long and may include only one powerpoint slide. Speakers should craft a talk that distills the heart of their research for a general audience who may not be specialists, in the style of a  TED talk. Speakers will receive individualized coaching on their presentation from experts at the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science. See the official rules for more information.

Training Sessions: The first session will provide an overview of best practices for honing one's message for a general audience. In the second and third sessions, speakers will receive coaching on their individual talks in small groups. Speakers may indicate a preference for their small-group sessions, and organizers will do their best to accommodate everyone's busy schedules. Speakers are expected to attend all three sessions, although students who have taken  JRN501: Distilling Your Message may be able to opt out of Session 1.  See training dates and times below. Coaching takes place in small groups where peer feedback and support is encouraged while students workshop their draft presentations.

Speaker Sign Up Deadline:  FEBRUARY 6, 2019

Speaker Training Dates:   (Speakers are expected to commit to all three sessions*)

  • Session 1: Plenary Training: Your introduction to the Alda Center Method,* February 21, 2019, 2:00pm - 4:00pm 
  • Session 2: Coaching 1: Individualized coaching on your draft 3MT talk. You will be assigned to one of three times:
    • February 28, 10:00 am - 12:00 pm; OR
    • February 28, 12:30 pm - 2:30 pm; OR
    • February 28, 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm.
  • Session 3: Coaching 2: Individualized coaching on your almost-final 3MT talk. You will be assigned to one of four times:
    • March 14, 10:00 am - 12:00 pm; OR
    • March 14, 12:30 pm - 2:30 pm; OR
    • March 14, 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm; OR
    • March 15, 10:00 am - 12:00 pm.

You can indicate a preference for coaching sessions in the sign up form below. Please try to save the coaching dates on your calendar until you know you are selected.

*Students who have already taken JRN501: Distilling Your Message may opt out of Session 1. 

How to Sign Up:

  1. Go to the Sign Up form  and enter your contact info.
  2. Affirm that your graduate advisor supports you presenting your work in the 3MT competition.
  3. Agree to participate in three training sessions to be held on Feb 21 and Feb 28 and March 14/15. You can indicate a preference of  two small-group coaching times for Sessions 2 & 3 ( see times above).
  4. After submission, you will receive confirmation on whether you have been selected to compete. At that time, we will request a title from selected speakers. 


Competitor Selection:  Organizers aim to accommodate as many eligible students as want to compete, but competitor slots nevertheless are limited.  Competitor selection, if necessary, will take into account coaching date availability, disciplinary and demographic balance. 


Contact Kathleen Flint Ehm, Director for Graduate and Postdoctoral Professional Development, kathleen.ehm at or 631-632-7531.

What is 3MT really like...? 


SBU 3MT: The Art of the Fast Pitch


Competitors compete in any discipline. From Physics . . .


to Psychology . . .


to English . . . 


to Ecology . . . 


to Neuroscience...

to History.







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