Skip to main content
Skip to navigation

Got 3 minutes?

October 26, 2016

A diverse group of smiling graduate students - 7 women and 4 men holding up three fingers.

See those Wrinkles? Blame your DNA!

That was the message delivered by Mizzou 3 Minute Thesis winner Jacqueline Gamboa Varela, a doctoral candidate in Chemistry.

The catch: She had one static slide and only three minutes to effectively teach a public audience about her dissertation research. 

"I think all students should compete in 3 MT. Communicating about science and our research to the public is important, especially since a lot of research is funded via tax payer dollars," she said. 

Ms. Gamboa is a highly-engaged in graduate student leader at the campus and national levels. She has a passion for educating the public about science, which led to her interest in 3MT. Outside of the lab, she hosts "The Big Electron," a science radio show, on KCOU. Her adviser is Dr. Kent Gates.

Second place was awarded to Dr. Michael K. Fink, a doctoral candidate in Area Pathobiology. Like other researchers in Medicine and Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Fink is pursuing a PhD degree after earning his professional degree. His presentation was entitled Treating Blindness with a Virus: Targeted Gene Therapy in the Cornea.  Dr. Rajiv R. Mohan is his mentor.

The audience voted Megan Sheridan as the People’s Choice Winner. Hailing from St. Louis, MO, Ms. Sheridan is a doctoral candidate in Biochemistry. Dr. R. Michael Roberts is her adviser. The title of her presentation was Pregnancy, the Placenta and the Zika Virus.       

Other 3MT contestants:

  • Terese Zidon, Nutrition & Exercise Physiology. Mentor: Dr.  Victoria Vieira-Potter. Healthy Fat in Menopause: Is it true?    
  • Michelle Williams, Biological Sciences. Mentor: Dr. Pamela Brown. How to Stay in Shape: Lessons from Bacteria  
  • Nat Graham,  Biological Sciences. Mentor: Dr. James Birchler. Efficiently Building a Plant Factory
  • Felicia Chu, Psychological Sciences. Mentor: Dr. David Geary. Adding It Up: How Children Learn Math     
  • Durgesh Wagle,  Chemistry. Mentor: Dr. Gary A. Baker. Ionic Liquids: Problem Solvers.
  • Yuanlu “April” Sun, Nursing. Mentor: Dr. Jane Armer. Breast Cancer Lymphedema
  • Chantra Promnoi, Nursing. Mentor Dr. Lorraine J. Phillips.  How Physical Activity & Social Connections Are Related to Sleep in Older Adults
  • Sean Polun,  Geological Sciences. Mentor: Dr. Francisco Gomez. How Studying Rocks Anywhere in the World Helps Forecast Earthquakes

Judges for the evening were Alejandra Gudino, a diversity coordinator with food and nutrition programs for University of Missouri Extension; Ronald B. Kelley, PhD, MU School of Journalism executive director of student development, diversity and inclusion; and Wally Pfeffer, Mutual of Omaha and Boone County Chapter of the Mizzou Alumni Association. MC was Dr. Michael J. Porter, MU retired faculty in Communication.

Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) is an international research communication competition, designed to help students improve public speaking skills with public (lay) audiences.

At Mizzou, 3 Minute Thesis® is a professional development program that includes storytelling training, presentation seminars, practice sessions with feedback, individual consultation with feedback and the public speaking competition.