Three Graduate Students Win Contest for Thesis Elevator Pitch

Cathedral of Learning Commons Room

Piyusha Gade took first place in this past academic year’s Three Minute Thesis (3MT) Pitt Competition, sponsored by the Office of the Provost, University Center for Teaching and Learning and the University Library System. Gerald Ferrer won runner-up and the first-ever people’s choice award; and Jacqueline Lombard was a second runner-up and, separately, received a DAAD Graduate Scholarship (Deutsche Akademische Austauschdienst).

The Three Minute Thesis Competition, started by the University of Queensland in Australia and now in its second year at the University of Pittsburgh, invites PhD candidates ahead of their dissertation defense to effectively present their research in three minutes or less to a non-specialist audience.

Gade, a student in the Swanson School of Engineering, presented a Rational Design of Vascular Grafts in Aged Hosts. Ferrer, also of the Swanson School, explained Improving Rotator Cuff Tear Treatment Decisions. Lombard, from the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, spoke about Constructing Racial Identity in Medieval European Art.

“It was great fun trying to sum up five years’ worth of work in three minutes! As scientists, we often talk only about the details of our work. 3MT made me think about what the details add up to. That was a lot of fun!” said Gade.

“As a humanist, I felt some need to pitch not only the importance of my own individual work but also the importance of the Humanities as a field, which is a real challenge when you only have so little time,” said Lombard. “I’m sure, however, that this won’t be the last time that will be necessary, so 3MT was good practice.”

The event was part of National Graduate and Professional Student Appreciation Week.