Feb. 12, 2024

Three Minute Thesis finals set

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Six graduate students are set for the final round of the NDSU Graduate School’s Three Minute Thesis Competition on Thursday, Feb. 15 at 2 p.m. in the Anishinaabe Theater of the Memorial Union.

The finalists made it through the competition’s preliminary round where 38 students presented their current research projects. Each finalist received $250, while the championship round winner will receive an additional $1,000.

Throughout the competition, each contestant presents their thesis in 180 seconds using terminology that everyone can understand. An 80,000-word thesis would take nine hours to present in full. The competition challenges students to present their work clearly and concisely. Contestants will be judged in the areas of content, comprehension, communication and engagement.

Below are the finalists:

Kyle Boutin, Doctoral student in environmental and conservation sciences

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Name: Kyle Boutin
Hometown: Spring Lake, Florida
Area of study: Doctoral student in environmental and conservation sciences
Advisor: Marinus Otte, professor of biological sciences
Presentation title: “Harnessing the Power of Wetlands to Improve Water Quality and the Climate”

Why did you choose NDSU?
I was recruited by my current advisor during the course of my master’s degree at Florida Gulf Coast University. Our interests overlapped and he had grant funding to support my research.

How has the research environment at NDSU contributed to your development as a researcher? 
I enjoy the freedom that my advisor has given me to pursue my interests and I appreciate the ECS program's focus on interdisciplinarity. NDSU scientists have been generous with their knowledge and resources and my research has greatly benefitted from such collaboration.

What has been your biggest takeaway from participating in this competition?
I think the biggest benefit has been forcing me to see what were four or five very distinct chapters of a thesis become one uniformed whole.

Pooyan Vahidi Pashaki, Doctoral student in biomedical engineering

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Name: Pooyan Vahidi Pashaki
Hometown: Lahijan, Iran
Area of study: Doctoral student in biomedical engineering
Advisor: Dinesh Katti, professor of civil, construction and environmental engineering
Presentation title: “Next-Generation of Biomaterial for Sport-Related Ligaments Injury”

Why did you choose NDSU?
To pursue my doctorate, I applied to the University of Technology Sydney in Australia and got a full fund offer. Due to COVID-19, I started my Ph.D. online from Iran, and then the border was closed; I couldn't enter Australia to continue. As an alternative, I found a position on LinkedIn, and after contacting my advisors, I had a great interview. We talked about the project and they encouraged me to apply. It was exciting to me that I can use my expertise in mechanical engineering in the new fields in biomedical engineering. Now, I am working on my project and am super happy to work with my supportive advisors and lab mates.

How has the research environment at NDSU contributed to your development as a researcher? 
NDSU has a stimulating research environment allows me to engage in cutting-edge projects and collaborate with experts in my field.

Marcel Roy Domalanta, Doctoral student in coatings and polymeric materials

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Name: Marcel Roy Domalanta
Hometown: Baguio City, Philippines
Area of study: Doctoral student in coatings and polymeric materials 
Advisor: Eugene Caldona, assistant professor of coatings and polymeric materials
Presentation title: “Soy much better: Making non-stick materials stick”

Why did you choose NDSU? 
I chose NDSU for my doctorate in coatings and polymeric materials because I am passionate about coloring a better future through research. At NDSU, I see a platform that not only supports but also expands the horizons of my research aspirations. The university's commitment to innovation in materials science aligns perfectly with my goal to contribute meaningful advancements in this field. I believe that NDSU will provide the ideal environment for me to grow as a researcher and make significant contributions towards a more vibrant and sustainable future.

How has the research environment at NDSU contributed to your development as a researcher?
At NDSU, the research environment has been instrumental in my development as a researcher. Here, I've found a unique blend of creative freedom and room for growth, fostering an atmosphere where learning thrives. The culture at NDSU treats failures not as setbacks but as valuable tools for improvement, encouraging a resilient and innovative mindset. Additionally, the opportunities for collaboration have been pivotal, allowing me to work alongside talented individuals to find solutions to complex problems. This supportive and dynamic environment at NDSU has been crucial in shaping my approach to research and my overall development as a researcher.

What has been your biggest takeaway from participating in this competition?
Mostly it’s about presenting research, that research can be fun and research doesn’t have to be boring. People think research is hard, it is, but it doesn’t mean that it can’t be fun. 

Himani Yadav, Doctoral student in civil engineering

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Name: Himani Yadav
Hometown: Nainital, Uttarakhand, India
Area of study: Doctoral student in civil engineering 
Advisor: Syeed Iskander, assistant professor of civil, construction and environmental engineering
Presentation title: “Plastic Consciousness: A part of solution to plastic pollution”

Why did you choose NDSU?
Syeed Md Iskander, my current supervisor, has been my primary motivation for joining the university and he continues to serve as a source of inspiration throughout my academic journey at NDSU.

How has the research environment at NDSU contributed to your development as a researcher?
NDSU has equipped me with state-of-the-art research facilities that are essential for my studies. This provision has not only enhanced the efficiency of my work but has also afforded me the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in operating advanced equipment. Additionally, the university has provided platforms for me to showcase my research not only within the academic community at NDSU but also on a national scale through conferences.

Nastaran Shahzadeh, Doctoral student in coatings and polymeric materials

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Name: Nastaran Shahzadeh
Hometown: Tehran, Iran
Area of study: Doctoral student in coatings and polymeric materials
Advisor: Dean C. Webster, professor and chair of coatings and polymeric materials
Presentation title: “Amphiphilically Modified coatings for Fouling Release Applications”

Why did you choose NDSU? 
I chose NDSU because it is a research-based academic institute with inter-disciplinary nature of the programs that are provided for students here. This gives me a very hands-on approach to excel in my research. The department of coatings and polymeric materials at NDSU is one of the few programs in the world focusing on this area using sustainable practices. 

How has the research environment at NDSU contributed to your development as a researcher? 
It has helped me in so many ways that I had not anticipated. By working with the equipment and the procedure currently employed to the industry, I am given the opportunity to be well prepared for my career goals and make meaningful contribution in the field of research that I am passionate about. The courses that we study are very intertwined with our research and that gives me the chance to apply that science further to my research.

Bivek Chaulagain, Doctoral student in pharmaceutical sciences

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Name: Bivek Chaulagain
Home: Sarlahi, Nepal
Area of study: Doctoral student in pharmaceutical sciences
Advisor: Jagdish Singh, professor and chair of pharmaceutical sciences
Presentation title: “Alzheimer's Disease: Is Cannabidiol the answer?”

Why did you choose NDSU? 
The excellent research environment at NDSU to groom early-stage researchers in a setting conducive to their academic and personal growth is the primary reason for me to choose NDSU.

How has the research environment at NDSU contributed to your development as a researcher? 
Access to the world class research facility to work on a daily basis complemented with organized training plan has been vital to my growth as a researcher. Research environment is further fueled by excellent collaboration between multiple departments providing opportunity to budding researchers like me for widening our research horizons. Regular training, seminars and workshops catered to our needs has further groomed me as a researcher here at NDSU.

What has been your biggest takeaway from participating in this competition?
Trying to summarize everything in three minutes and in a way that’s understandable to the common public. 

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