Finalists advance to university-level competition for Three Minute Thesis

The college hosted its annual competition for top research presenters on Wednesday, Feb. 17. The two college finalists will have the opportunity to compete with students from around campus at the Three Minute Thesis competition on March 10.

This year’s finalists were Kendall Thacker, a mechanical engineering graduate student, and Abe Martin, a chemical engineering PhD student. Thacker won first place and $250 for his research on the design process of products used by humanitarian organizations in the developing world. Specifically, he wanted the design process to be more focused on the local culture, which means more people are likely to use and receive benefit from the product.

“We noticed that a lot of the products that are designed for the developing world just don’t culturally match,” Thacker said. “And we were able to have a lot of success with the pot skirts [we designed].”

Martin won second place and $200 for his presentation on monitoring infrastructure through unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs. Austin Strong, an MBA and manufacturing systems graduate student, won audience favorite for his research on whether lean manufacturing would affect the ability of a company to be innovative.

The Three Minute Thesis competition is held annually, and requires students to present their theses in less than three minutes, with only a single static PowerPoint slide. Students are judged on their content, their comprehension of the content and their ability to communicate to and engage the audience.

Last year, civil engineering graduate student Jennifer Craft won first place and $5,000 at the university-level competition.

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