Graduate School

Fun, fast-paced research competition 3-Minute Thesis features top podcaster as guest judge


Twenty-three graduate students—finalists in the 3-Minute Thesis (3MT) competition scheduled for this Friday—will have just three minutes each to explain their research to a campuswide audience. The most informative and entertaining ones will take home cash prizes of up to $1,000.

The fast-paced research communication competition will be held in the Watt Center auditorium on Friday, November 10, from noon until 4:00 p.m. All students, faculty and staff are invited to attend, and grad students in particular are encouraged to turn out and support the finalists from their program or college (see list of finalists below). Refreshments will be served. A live stream is available via Zoom.

The competitors will summarize and explain the relevance of their research in three minutes or less and will be judged on clarity, presentation, and more. Sponsored at Clemson by Graduate Student Government (GSG), the Graduate School, the Vice President for Research, and the colleges, the competition allows students to develop and hone communication skills they need as professionals but often don’t focus on as part of their usual studies.

Erin Welsh, Ph.D., co-host and co-producer of This Podcast Will Kill You (ranked among the top 20 science podcasts on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and elsewhere) will be on the judging panel, along with other researchers and communicators from industry and academia. Welsh will also serve as a panelist for a panel discussion focused on career paths for researchers (see “Related Event,” below).

The winner in the Ph.D. candidate category will compete against other universities at the Council of Southern Graduate Schools’ annual conference next year.

This year’s finalists*

  • CAAH
    Mina Shokrollahi Ardekani, Planning, Design & the Built Environment
    David Williams, Rhetorics, Communication & Information Design
    Nicole Weldy, Visual Arts
  • CAFLS        
    Patricia Wooden, Entomology
    Harleen Kaur, Plant & Environmental Sciences
    Gagandeep Kaur, Plant & Environmental Sciences
    Shalini Etukuri, Plant & Environmental Sciences
    Emma Cox, Communication
    Malaysia Barr, Communication
    Shuai Yuan, Parks, Recreation & Tourism Management
  • CECAS       
    Megan Pitz, Bioengineering
    Molli Garifo, Chemical Engineering
    Libby Flanagan, Engineering & Science Education
    Alec Gonzalez, Industrial Engineering
    Steven Foster, Industrial Engineering
  • COB            
    Yue Louise Hu, Economics
  • COE
    Abbey Rose Schafer, Athletic Leadership
    Richard Yeargin III, Educational Leadership
  • COS
    Rong Wang, Chemistry
    Dasuni Rathnaweera, Chemistry
    Manwinder Singh Brar, Genetics
    Deborpita Biswas, Mathematical Sciences
    Rakhi Goswami, Mathematical Sciences

*not in order of appearance

Related Event
Academia or Industry, a panel discussion
Thursday, November 9 at the Strom Thurmond Institute
Food & networking at 6:00 p.m., panel starts at 6:30 p.m.

Erin Welsh, Ph.D., co-host and co-producer of This Podcast Will Kill You (ranked among the top 20 science podcasts on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and elsewhere) will be there to answer questions about the various career paths open to Ph.D. graduates. Welsh will also serve as a special guest judge at Friday’s 3-Minute Thesis competition.

Joining her on the panel are Kent Juliot, vice president of research, quality and technical solutions with Ardent Mills; Troy Anderson, vice president of operations with Ardent Mills; Rooksana Noorai, Ph.D., assistant director of bioinformatics at Clemson University, Matt Chambers, Ph.D., executive director of visual analytics at Clemson; and Scott Swain, Ph.D., professor of marketing at Clemson.

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