Psychology Master's Student Wins 2022 Villanova Three Minute Thesis Competition

Three Minute Thesis


Sam Sinemus took first place with his presentation "The Impact of Modelng Mental States on Goal-Directed Conversations." Sinemus went on to compete at the Regional 3MT competition on April 28.

Villanova 3MT winner Samuel Sinemus presents on stage as Graduate Studies Dean Emory Woodard stands at the podium


VILLANOVA, Pa. – Villanova University graduate psychology student Sam Sinemus took first place in the University's Three Minute Thesis (3MT) Competition in the Mullen Center for the Performing Arts earlier this year for his presentation "The Impact of Modeling Mental States on Goal-Directed Conversations." Sinemus advanced to the Northeast Regional Competition, held virtually on April 28. See Sinemus' regional 3MT presentation.

While the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences held a virtual 3MT event the previous two years, 2022 marked the first time that the competition was open to graduate students from across the University. Twelve finalists were selected from the pool of video submissions for the live in-person event.

3MT is a competition for master’s and doctoral students to develop and showcase their research communication skills. 3MT cultivates students’ academic, professional, presentation and research communication skills. To be successful, competitors must effectively explain their research in three minutes, in a language appropriate to a non-specialist audience.

The Villanova competition highlighted the diverse research interests of its graduate community and the skill with which its students are able to articulate their study of complex topics.

Said Emory Woodard, Dean of Graduate Studies in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and emcee for the event, "All of our contestants have extremely bright futures, and what we heard today was a small glimpse of the greatness ahead for them."

In his presentation, Sinemus explained how he applied theory of mind concepts (the ability of humans to understand other people's mental states while maintaining their own perspective) to improving the success of conversations.

Nick Langan, a master's student in software engineering took second place for his presentation, “RadioLand: Building a Mobile App That Predicts FM Radio Signal Strengths," and philosophy doctoral student Christopher Quintana won audience choice for "Aristotelianism for Technological Development"

Judges for the event included:

  • Rev. Peter M. Donohue, OSA, PhD, President
  • Amanda M. Grannas, PhD, Vice Provost for Research, Chief Research Officer
  • Michael T. Westrate, PhD, Assistant Vice Provost for Graduate Education and Research
  • Peter Kaufmann, PhD, FABMR, FSBM, Associate Dean for Research and Innovation, Fitzpatrick College of Nursing
  • Barry Selinsky, PhD, Associate Dean for Research, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences 


3MT Contestants


Jane Frances Anyango – FCON – PhD in Nursing
Health Care Providers Screening for Intimate Partner Violence Against Pregnant Women
Watch the video.

Mackenzie Bowden – COE – MS in Sustainable Engineering
Optimizing Carbonaceous Materials for the Retention and Transformation of Munitions Constituent Residues
Watch the video.

Gabrielle Coker – CLAS – MA in Mathematics
Mathematical Modeling of Crime and its Deterrents
Watch the video.

Zoe Darazsdi – CLAS – MS in Counseling
Examining the Relationship Between Autistic People’s Self-Esteem and Perceived Bias in their Alliance with their Mental Health Practitioners
Watch the video.

Akeeka Davis – FCON – PhD in Nursing
Putting the pieces of the Puzzle Together- "It's time to hear the voices of nursing students"- The Lived Experience of Undergraduate Traditional 4-Year BSN Students with Academic Challenges and Testing of the Nurse Licensure Board Examination
Watch the video.

Carol Devlin – FCON – PhD in Nursing
Relationship between smoking status and postoperative surgical site infections
Watch the video.

Nick Langan – CLAS – MS in Software Engineering
“RadioLand”: Building a Mobile App That Predicts FM Radio Signal Strengths
Watch the video.

Menglong Lei – COE­ ­– PhD in Engineering
Numerical simulations: odor plumes in insects
Watch the video.

Christopher Quintana – CLAS ­– PhD in Philosophy
Aristotelianism for Technological Development
Watch the video.

Peter Rokowski – COE – PhD in Engineering
Your Personal “Brain-Imaging Lab” (WearCAAT)
Watch the video.

Marissa Rossi – CLAS – MS in Environmental Science
From Our Streets to Our Streams: Consequences of Road Salt Application in an Increasingly Paved World
Watch the video.

Samuel Sinemus – CLAS – MS in Psychology
The Impact of Modeling Mental States on Goal-Directed Conversations
Watch the video.
See Sinemus' regional 3MT presentation.

About Villanova University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences: Since its founding in 1842, Villanova University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences has cultivated knowledge, understanding and intellectual courage for a purposeful life in a challenged and changing world. With 39 majors across the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences, it is the oldest and largest of Villanova’s colleges, serving more than 4,500 undergraduate and graduate students each year. The College is committed to a teacher-scholar model, offering outstanding undergraduate and graduate research opportunities and a rigorous core curriculum that prepares students to become critical thinkers, strong communicators and ethical leaders with a truly global perspective.

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