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Philosophy Doctoral Student Wins "People's Choice" 3MT Competition

Three-Minute Thesis

PhD student Katherine Kurtz will represent Villanova at the Northeastern Association of Graduate Schools 3MT Research Presentation Competition on December 9, 2020.


VILLANOVA, Pa. – The Office of Graduate Studies in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences was set to host Villanova University's first Three-minute Thesis (3MT) competition on March 27 before the coronavirus pandemic forced its cancellation. When the Northeastern Association of Graduate Schools announced that they would hosting a virtual regional 3MT competition on December 9, the Grad Studies Office sent a survey to all graduate students in the College to vote for their favorite video, with entries culled from the original spring 3MT participants and students from the recent Virtual Graduate Research Symposium who wished to be considered.

The Grad CLAS "People's Choice" was Philosophy doctoral student Katherine Kurtz, who presented her work, Deviant Bodies: Toward an Aesthetics of Feminine Monstrosity, which is based on her dissertation work. Kurtz will represent Villanova at the virtual event in December.

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

Kurtz' and the other 3MT participants' entries are below. You can view videos from all of the Summer Research Fellowship winners on the Graduate Research Symposium page.


Kurtz video
Deviant Bodies: Toward an Aesthetics of Feminine Monstrosity

Katherine Kurtz
PhD in Philosophy

This research for 3MT is part of my dissertation. In concentrating on the research areas of aesthetics and feminist theory, I created a dissertation project on the monstrosity of the feminine, which I see as one among many illuminating points of intersection between the two. In addition to studying the relationship between gender and monstrosity, I would eventually like to expand to include categories of race and ability (including neurodiversity). Deviant Bodies: Toward an Aesthetics of Feminine Monstrosity


Haeberle-Gosweiler video
Understanding Human and Machine Facial Recognition

Nathaniel Haeberle-Gosweiler
MA in Communication

This presentation is my ongoing thesis work for my master's degree in Communication. My research at Villanova revolved around the proliferation of algorithms into everyday life. I examine technological systems that are mistakenly thought of as neutral or unbiased. My thesis focused on the incorporation of machine facial recognition into various social contexts and how those promising technologies are problematic and concerning. Understanding Human and Machine Facial Recognition


Kindler video
Why Playing Basketball Is a Tillichian Symbol

Eric Kindler
MA in Theology

The Villanova Theology Department prides itself on standing at the intersection of faith and culture, and so everything we do in our classes caters to that endeavor. I was introduced to the powerful work of 20th century philosopher and theologian, Paul Tillich. Tillich's reimagination of faith, God and subjective interaction with Ultimate Mystery was not just powerful to hear but incredibly important in helping me articulate my most pressing questions of research. These questions have always been rooted in the playing of sport and how that elicits a response of the sacred. Therefore, in my 3MT, I offer Tillich's concept of Symbol as the impetus for why I am drawn to playing sports, particularly shooting basketball. This message presents compelling and practical means for one to dynamically experience God or as Tillich would say, "The Ground of Being." Why Playing Basketball Is a Tillichian Symbol


Kuruma screenshot
Costume Design: A Midsummer Night's Dream

Asaki Kuruma
MA in Theatre

My 3MT submission was my thesis project to complete my master's in Theatre, in which I conducted research and created a vision for this production, and then articulated them into my design. This process was a collaboration between students and faculty, as well as outside professionals to embody professionalism and creativity. I study theater from different aspects academically. My personal focus is to nurture my skill for dramaturgical research to enhance my costume design in the professional field, as well as learning a newer business model for non-profit organizations to create more innovative theater and art organizations in the area. Costume Design: A Midsummer Night's Dream


Pilipchuk video
Sexual Violence and Mass Incarceration

Miranda Pilipchuk
PhD in Philosophy

My dissertation, "'But What About the Rapists?' The Use of Rape as a Legitimation of Mass Incarceration," explores a tension between two ethical problems: (1) adequately addressing the ongoing issue of sexual violence in the United States; and (2) responding to the harms that incarceration-based approaches to criminal justice have caused, especially to marginalized communities. My research analyzes how racialized stereotypes about sexual violence have been used to justify mass incarceration, while remaining profoundly attentive to the need to address the harms that sexual violence survivors experience. I argue that these two projects are fundamentally intertwined. In order to adequately address the problem of sexual violence, we must also address how issues of sexual violence are themselves being used to perpetuate racial injustice. I conclude by making policy recommendations that will help end the problem of sexual violence without contributing to mass incarceration. Sexual Violence and Mass Incarceration


Riddle video
Presidential Candidates' Campaign Gaffes

Ann Riddle

My 3MT submission is from my Political Science master's thesis at Villanova University, from which I graduated in December 2018. I am now finishing my second graduate degree, a Master of Public Administration. My Political Science thesis was on presidential candidates and their responses to campaign gaffes. It was incredibly surprising to me that out of 59 cases, I only found two instances of apologies. I have hope, though, that the public will demand more from their political candidates, and we will see more instances of apologies for campaign gaffes instead of more negative strategies such as denial. Presidential Candidates' Campaign Gaffes


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.