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### Honors Awarded to Three Graduate Students at Inaugural Three Minute Thesis Contest

Three graduate students were recognized on March 23 in the final round of Penn State’s first “Three Minute Thesis” (3MT) competition at the Penn Stater Hotel & Conference Center in University Park, Pa.

Levon Esters, vice provost for graduate education and dean of the Graduate School, expressed admiration for the talented students who participated in the event. He commended their contributions and highlighted the potential impact of their research on society.

Aditya Sapre, a doctoral candidate in chemical engineering, emerged as the winner of the competition, securing the first-place prize of $1,000. Sapre’s exceptional presentation skills earned him the opportunity to represent Penn State at the regional “Three Minute Thesis” competition hosted by the Northeast Association for Graduate Schools.

Reflecting on his success, Sapre attributed his achievement to dedicated practice and the invaluable support of his peers and professor in refining his presentation to effectively convey the essence of their research within the strict three-minute timeframe.

Auja Bywater, a doctoral student specializing in food science and technology, was awarded the second-place prize of \(500 for her outstanding presentation. Additionally, Paul DiStefano, a doctoral student focusing on cognitive psychology, received the People’s Choice Award worth \)500, sponsored by the Graduate and Professional Student Association.

The distinguished panel of judges, including esteemed professionals from various academic domains, evaluated the finalists’ presentations and selected the winners. DiStefano’s accolade was determined through a combination of in-person and online voting by the audience.

The finalists showcased diverse research topics, ranging from innovative approaches in drug discovery to enhancing food safety and exploring cognitive processes. Their engaging presentations captivated the audience and exemplified the breadth of research excellence at Penn State.

The “Three Minute Thesis” competition, originating from the University of Queensland, Australia, provided a platform for graduate and professional students to refine their research communication skills and effectively communicate complex ideas to a non-specialist audience.

The Graduate School organized the inaugural University-wide 3MT competition in 2024, with plans to host future editions in the upcoming academic years. For those interested, the recorded event is accessible on the Graduate School’s YouTube channel for viewing.

View the competition on the Graduate School’s YouTube channel.