Monica Arul Jayachandran wins the 2019 Notre Dame Graduate School Shaheen 3MT®

Author: Dawn Rizek

2019 3mt Finalists jpg 550kJessica Schiltz, Monica Arul Jayachandran, and Mallika Sarma, Winners of the 2019 Shaheen 3MT® Competition Pose with Dean Laura Carlson of the Graduate School


Monica Arul Jayachandran, a Ph.D. student from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences, won the 2019 Notre Dame Graduate School Shaheen Three Minute Thesis Competition (3MT®) on Thursday, February 28 on the stage of Decio Theater in DeBartolo Performing Arts Center.

The Shaheen 3MT® is a communication competition where graduate students from the Colleges of Engineering, Science, and Arts & Letters, as well as Keough School of Global Health, try to effectively explain their research in a language appropriate to an audience of specialists and non-specialists alike, in three minutes or less. Competitors addressed a panel of judges in front of a live audience using a single static slide to support their presentation.

Arul, whose faculty adviser is Professor Ahsan Kareem, was the fifth of nine competitors to present.  On a night of superb performance by all, Monica ultimately excelled to the top spot winning a prize of $2000. A second place prize of $1500 went to Mallika Sarma (ANTH) and $1000 to the People’s Choice winner, Jessica Schiltz (AME).

Other finalists who competed in the event were Ryan Egan (PSY), Lauren Green (BIOS), Jamie McClung (KSGA), Sarajane Roenke (CE), Kevin Sanchez (BIOS), and Cynthia Schreiber (CHEM).

Arul’s presentation, titled “Occupant Comfort in High-Rise Buildings,” tells of the need for established building movement guidelines for occupant comfort in tall buildings. Her research lab (NatHaz Modeling Laboratory) launched a full-scale monitoring project in collaboration with Skidmore Owings and Merrill in Chicago in 2002, where several tall buildings in the city of Chicago were instrumented, using accelerometers, ultrasonic anemometers and high precision global positioning systems (GPS). This project later expanded to include two other tall buildings, including Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, in alliance with Samsung Corporation.

Using humor and personal anecdotes as a means of simplifying her research, Arul explained how the data from the aforementioned projects, along with machine learning techniques guide her research. All of this together will contribute towards the development of habitability guidelines that can be adopted to ensure the comfort of occupants in tall buildings. 

Monica will represent the University at the Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools regional competition on March 22, 2019 in St. Louis Missouri.