Chemistry Master's Student Wins 2023 Villanova Three Minute Thesis Competition
Villanova University graduate Chemistry student Eliana Uriona took First Place and the Audience Choice awards in the University's Three Minute Thesis (3MT) Competition on February 24 in the Mullen Center for the Performing Arts for her presentation “Optimizing Biochar Properties for Heavy Metal Immobilization in Contaminated Soils.” Uriona advances to the Northeast Regional Competition on April 28.
Says Emory Woodard, PhD, Dean of Graduate Studies in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, “I am delighted by the performance of our graduate students in the research communication competition. They truly showcased the merits of advanced study in the liberal arts and sciences as they were able to effectively enlighten the audience on a range of complex topics in an incredibly engaging way.”
This year marked the second consecutive year that the competition was open to graduate students from across the University and the first year it was hosted by the Center for Graduate Research and Education. The 13 finalists were made up of six from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, five from the College of Engineering and two from the Charles Widger School of Law.
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.
“All of our contestants offered the audience well-polished and thought-provoking presentations that highlighted the varied, world-class research being done here on campus," said Michael Westrate, PhD, emcee for the event and Assistant Vice Provost for Graduate Research and Education. "I have no doubt that the 3MT competition enhanced their already very bright futures.”
Grace Sutoris, a master's student in mechanical engineering, won second prize for her presentation, “Using Machine Learning to Detect Underlying Heartbeat During CPR.”
Judges for the event included:
- Rev. Peter M. Donohue, OSA, PhD, President
- Amanda Grannas, PhD, Vice Provost for Research, Chief Research Officer
- Emory Woodard, PhD, Dean of Graduate Studies, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
- Garrett Clayton, PhD, Associate Dean for Graduate Studies, College of Engineering
- Michael Risch, Vice Dean, Charles Widger School of Law
- Manuel Nunez, Associate Dean, Graduate Programs, Villanova School of Business
- Mary Ann Cantrell, PhD, Director of PhD Program, Fitzpatrick College of Nursing
Erika Brown, PhD in Philosophy, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
"Erotic Empowerment: Towards Deep Love in Feminist Coalescence"
Mustafa Erkaya, MS in Biology, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
"A Cost-Efficient Way to Create Reliable Life Trees"
Austin Falciani, MS in Environmental Science, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
"Source Identification of Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) in the Pennypack Creek"
Ryan Henderson, MS in Psychology, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences "Perception Science"
Alexander Jurcoi, MS in Sustainable Engineering, College of Engineering "Platinum in Hydrogen Fuel Cells"
Zihan Liu, PhD in Mechanical Engineering, College of Engineering
"Smooth Orthogonal Decompositions for Defect Diagnostics of Dynamic Systems."
Favour Okechukwu, Juris Doctor, Charles Widger School of Law
"A Comparative Analysis on AI's Ownership Role on Patent Applications as an Inventor in the U.S., U.K., and South Africa"
Joshua Orebiyi, MS in Mechanical Engineering, College of Engineering
"The Exploration of Thermomechanical and Electromagnetic Properties of Ceramic Composites at High Temperatures for uses in Radio Frequence Technology"
Alison Pascale, MA in Theatre, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
"'All That I know Is I Don't Know A Thing:' Ideology, Scientism, and the Failure of Intellectualism in Dave Malloy's Oeuvre."
Michael Sommeling, MS in Computer Engineering, College of Engineering "Monitoring Student Athletes with Functional Near-Infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS)"
Grace Sutoris, MS in Mechanical Engineering, College of Engineering
"Using Machine Learning to Detect Underlying Heartbeat During CPR"
Sarah Urie, Juris Doctor, Charles Widger School of Law
"The Expandsion of Voir Dire in Death Penalty Trials"
Eliana Uriona, MS in Chemistry, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
"Optimizing Biochar Properties for Heavy Metal Immobilization in Contaminated Soils"
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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