Three Advance in Engineering 3MT Prelims

Author: Evan Bryson

reduced_engineering_prelim Left to right: Mark Summe, Maria Gibbs, and Peter Deak, the College of Engineering’s 3MT Finalists.

Three competitors from the College of Engineering are moving to the Three Minute Thesis Finals. At the Engineering Prelim last night, Mark Summe (Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering), Peter Deak (Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering), and Maria Gibbs (Civil and Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences), bested peers in a pool of 11 other challengers. They will go on to compete against finalists from the College of Science and the College of Arts and Letters at the March 16 3MT Finals event.

The goal of the 3MT competition is for Ph.D. students across all disciplines to explain their research in a language appropriate to an audience of specialists and non-specialists alike, all within three minutes. Competitors must address a live audience and a panel of judges. Their presentations must be accompanied by a single static slide.

“The 3MT competition is an excellent opportunity for students to translate the thinking that they use to conduct research in the laboratory into a form that allows them to explain the key results and communicate their value to society,” noted Mark McCready, Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies, and one of three judges for the Engineering Prelim.

Also judging were Nyrée McDonald, Associate Dean for Recruitment and Admissions for the Graduate School, and Ramzi Bualuan, Associate Professional Specialist and Director of Undergraduate Studies for the College of Engineering. The scoring rubric comprised two categories: “Comprehension and Content” and “Engagement and Communication.”

The event, held in a lecture hall in DeBartolo Hall, was standing room only, a testament to the College of Engineering’s collegiality and support.

Larry Westfall, Director of Graduate Career Services, was impressed by the graduate students’ solidarity. “I felt such a strong sense of community and support for one another,” said Westfall. “And I thought it was remarkable how much preparation and passion contenders put into their presentations.”

Commenting on 3MT’s appeal, McCready observed that “The live competition and short time format add elements of camaraderie and intensity that make 3MT much more enjoyable than an ordinary series of technical presentations.”

The competition was stiff—many presenters were dynamic, articulate, and engaging. Na Yu (Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering) had an excellent visualization of a dynamic thermostat, capable of making buildings 40% more energy efficient in their heating and cooling. Likewise, Victoria Tomiczek spoke with outstanding poise on her research of storm surges and protection against hurricane waves.

“The competition was great,” said McDonald, “and it was a close run between contestants.”

The evening’s finalists were ultimately chosen for the novelty of their research, its applicability and results, and the speakers’ performances. Summe, Deak, and Gibbs were by turns poignant, passionate, and persuasive, offering heartfelt anecdotes and humor to bring their research to life.

This evening is the preliminary round for Arts and Letters, at 4 PM in 119 DeBartolo Hall, and Wednesday is the preliminary round for Science, at 4 PM in 119 DeBartolo Hall.


Name Department Presentation Title Advisor
Peter Deak Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Inhibitors for the Prevention and Treatment of Allergic Reactions Prof. Basar Bilgicer
Maria Gibbs Civil and Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences Making Footbridges Safe in Wind Prof. Ahsan Kareem
Mark Summe Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Water, Water, Everywhere, nor any Drop to Drink Prof. William A. Phillip

Other Competitors

Name Department Presentation Title Advisor
Dipanwita Dasgupta Computer Science Engineering eSeniorCare: Improving Quality of Life for Seniors using Technology and Relationship Building Prof. Nitesh V. Chawla
Joseph Fillion Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering CO2/Ionic Liquid Refrigeration Cycle Prof. Joan Brennecke
Lawrence Funke Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering Reshaping the Face of US Manufacturing Prof. James Schmiedeler
Ashish Kushwaha Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Organo-soluble Polybenzoxazoles (PBOs) for High Performance Gas Separation Membranes: A Novel Synthesis Route and Transport Properties Prof. Ruilan Guo
Steven Marczak Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Microchips for Early Cancer Diagnosis Prof. Hsueh-Chia Chang
Md. Itrat Bin Shams Electrical Engineering Tunable/Reconfigurable Terahertz Circuits and Components Based on Photo-Induced Free Carriers Prof. Lei Liu
Christopher Shuck Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering Microstructure-Reactivity Relationship for Gasless High-Energy Density Materials Prof. Alexander Mukasyan
Victoria Tomiczek Chemical Engineering Wave and Surge Vulnerability of Coastal Residences Prof. Andrew Kennedy
Genevieve Vigil Electrical Engineering Quantitative Super-Resolution and Super-Penetration Nonlinear Imaging. Prof. Scott Howard
Junye Wang Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering A Computational Study of Rotor Noise Generation Prof. Meng Wang
Na Yu Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering A New Generation Thermostat For Your House Climate Control Prof. Samuel Paolucci