2023 Three Minute Thesis Winners Named

Grasshopper Anderson-Merritt, a doctoral student in earth, geographic and climate sciences, has been named the winner of the 2023 Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition. Organized by the Graduate School, the Three Minute Thesis challenges graduate students to describe their research in an engaging manner, using non-technical language, all in three minutes or less.

NEWS  Jackie Urla, Dean of the Graduate School, with 2023 3MT Winners (l to r): Grasshopper Anderson-Merritt, Briana Kubik, and Harita Sistu
Jackie Urla, dean of the Graduate School, with 2023 3MT Winners (l to r): Grasshopper Anderson-Merritt, Briana Kubik and Harita Sistu

Anderson-Merritt's presentation, “How much stress does the San Andreas feel before large earthquakes?,” was selected by the distinguished panel of judges as the winner in the live campus final, held Friday, March 3 in Old Chapel. Anderson-Merritt is part of UMass’s Geomechanics Research Team led by Professor Michele Cooke.

Harita Sistu, Ph.D. student, microbiology, was named the 3MT runner-up for her presentation “Tiny Organism Solving Big Problems by Converting Waste to Energy.” The audience voted Briana Kubik, Ph.D. student, microbiology, as the People’s Choice recipient for her presentation “Deep-sea Microorganisms and the Search for Life Beyond Earth.” Sistu and Kubik are both part of Professor James Holden’s lab.

A total of 10 finalists representing seven graduate programs in five schools or colleges competed in the campus final. As UMass's 3MT winner, Anderson-Merritt will go on to compete in the regional 3MT in April, along with 3MT winners from over 20 graduate schools in the northeastern United States and Canada.

The 3MT Campus Final included the Images of Research competition, featuring images submitted by graduate students and postdocs. A selection of 35 finalists were named and posted to Instagram (@UMass_OPD), with winners named in multiple categories. With overwhelming support, the “Instagram Favorite” was “Ecuadorian Diaspora” by Christian Puma Ninacuri, Spanish and Portuguese. The Graduate School Staff chose “Mother/Scholar/Both” by (Kristen) Lina Heaster-Ekholm, education, as their winner. And lastly, the Images of Research People’s Choice winner was “Brilliance” by Jayashree Bhagabati, chemistry.