Grad students break down their research in annual Shaheen Three Minute Thesis competition

Author: Erin Blasko


Nine University of Notre Dame graduate students will compete for $4,500 in prize money during the annual Shaheen Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition at 5 p.m. Thursday (Feb. 28) in the Patricia George Decio Theatre at the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center. The competition is free and open to the public.

Developed by the University of Queensland, Australia, 3MT is an academic competition that challenges graduate students to explain their research in a language appropriate to both specialists and non-specialists in three minutes or less.

The competition provides an opportunity for undergraduates, alumni, industry partners, various on-campus departments/institutes and the community at large to learn about high-level, cutting-edge research at Notre Dame.

“Our foundational message to our graduate students is that ‘your research matters.’   We tell them constantly — it matters to you, it matters to us and it matters to the world, where it can have a real impact as a force for good,” said Laura Carlson, vice president, associate provost and dean of the Graduate School. “But to fulfill this impact, you need to share it.

Carlson continued, “There is no bigger platform for sharing than the Shaheen 3MT competition, where students have three minutes and one slide to promote their research and communicate its importance to a broader community beyond their disciplines. Through their preparations for this competition, students hone their professional development skills, with an end result that is compelling, inspiring and persuasive. Come join us to learn more about research that matters.”

In addition to Carlson, judges for this year’s competition are Mark Howell, president and CEO, Conexus Indiana; Dennis Brown, associate vice president for news and media relations, Notre Dame; Bob Bernhard, vice president for research, Notre Dame; and Karen Bailey, process TD engineer at Intel Corp. and a Notre Dame Ph.D. alumna in chemistry .

This year’s finalists are Monica Arul Jayachandran (engineering), Ryan Egan (social science), Lauren Green (science), Jamie McClung (social science), Sarajane Roenke (engineering), Kevin Sanchez (science), Mallika Sarma (social science), Jessica Schiltz (engineering) and Cynthia Schreiber (science).

For more information, visit

Contact: Erin Blasko, assistant director of media relations, 574-631-4127,