Five engineering students finalists in Graduate School Three Minute Thesis contest

March 11, 2024

Editor’s note: A version of this story originally appeared on Penn State News 

Five Penn State College of Engineering graduate students have been selected for the final round of the inaugural Penn State Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition. The following College of Engineering students are among a group of eleven graduate students University-wide selected to compete in the final round:  

  • Jorge Diaz-Gutierrez, doctoral student in civil and environmental engineering, “Evaluating the Impacts of Variable Message Signs on Airport Curbside Performance Using Microsimulation” 
  • Shabnam Rahimnezhad, doctoral student in mechanical engineering, “NMES for Achilles Tendon Rupture (ATR)” 
  • Aditya Sapre, doctoral student in chemical engineering, “High Throughput and Cost-Effective Ways of Protein Identification” 
  • Tahiya Tarannum, doctoral student in civil and environmental engineering, “Leveraging duckweed as a fertilizer” 
  • Yue Yan, doctoral student in biomedical engineering, “NEW Personalized Immunotherapy for Bladder Cancer: Microbial Product Cocktails (MPC)” 

The final in-person round will be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday, March 23, both live-streamed online and in person at the Penn Stater Hotel & Conference Center. The event is free and open to the public, and advance registration is required.   

3MT is an academic research communication competition developed by the University of Queensland (UQ), Australia, that is now hosted at more than 100 universities worldwide. The Graduate School is hosting Penn State’s 3MT competition in partnership with the Graduate and Professional Student Association and the Graduate School Alumni Society. 3MT offers graduate students the opportunity to hone their academic and research presentation skills and their ability to effectively explain their research to a general audience while competing for prize money. Each student is allowed three minutes and one presentation slide to convey their work. 

Sixty students from 42 graduate programs submitted videos as part of the first round of the competition, and a group of volunteer community judges evaluated the video presentations.   

The first-place prize for Penn State’s 3MT competition is $1,000, and the second-place prize is $500. A third prize, People’s Choice, is $500 and is sponsored by the Graduate and Professional Student Association. The People’s Choice Award will be selected by in-person and virtual attendees at the end of the final round.   

More information about the Three Minute Thesis competition can be found on the Graduate School website.


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