Courtesy of UMass News and Media

Graduate Student Katherine McClellan Wins Three Minute Thesis Competition

3MT logo

Katherine McClellan, a graduate student in environmental conservation, is the $1,000 first-place winner of the university’s inaugural Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition.

In her presentation, “Shark Sense: Navigating shark interactions with offshore renewable energy developments,” McClellan outlined her research methods and contributions.

In selecting her as the 3MT winner, the judges praised her ability to explain technical scientific concepts in an accessible and engaging manner.

Shirin Montazeri, electrical and computer engineering, was runner-up. Destenie Nock, mechanical and industrial engineering, won the people’s choice vote as best speaker. Each won $500.

Founded by the University of Queensland, Australia, 3MT competitions challenge graduate students to explain their research for a general audience in three minutes or less. Based on the success of this year’s 3MT, the Graduate School hopes to make the 3MT an annual tradition.

“Advanced academic training largely focuses on the production of new knowledge rather than the process of communicating that knowledge to a general audience,” John McCarthy, senior vice provost for academic affairs and dean of the Graduate School says. “But professional advancement—including the process of finding a job or obtaining research funding from a foundation or government agency—often depends upon the ability to explain the overarching purpose and importance of technical research to individuals who likely do not share that scholar’s intellectual interests, professional background, or expertise. And it is precisely this skill that the Three Minute Thesis competition helps participants acquire.”