VIDEO: Master's Student Karl Lyn Wins Three Minute Thesis Competition


Karl Lyn, a master’s student in higher education, won the university’s third annual Three Minute Thesis Competition (3MT) on March 1. Organized by the Graduate School’s Office of Professional Development, the three-week-long contest tested the research communication skills of 40 doctoral and master’s students by challenging them to explain the significance of their academic projects in accessible and compelling presentations totaling three minutes or less.

A panel of five judges chose Lyn as the top finisher from a group of 10 students who had advanced from preliminary rounds to compete in the 3MT finals on March 1. Lian Guo, a doctoral student in organismic and evolutionary biology, was named the runner-up. Audience members at the 3MT final voted on their favorite presentation to determine a 3MT “People’s Choice” recipient. That honor went to Riddha Das, a doctoral student in chemistry. In recognition of their top performances, Lyn, Guo and Das each received cash prizes from the Graduate School.

Lian Guo, Organismic & Evolutionary Biology (Runner-Up)

Riddah Das, Chemisty  (People's Choice)

Lyn’s presentation, “Decriminalizing Education: A Black Freedom Struggle,” distilled his research on surveillance and disciplinary practices at predominantly black middle schools in LA and the effect these practices have on students’ sense of self and well-being.

In her presentation, “Hot for Herring: Why Physiology Matters in a Warming World,” Guo discussed her research on river herring, a fatty, desirable food sources for many different species. Guo’s research demonstrates that as water temperatures rise, herring expend more energy and burn fat faster, impacting their reproduction and survival rates. Guo explained that she is sharing her research results with U.S Fish and Wildlife Service to develop conservation strategies. 

With each presentation lasting only three minutes, the 3MT final offers an exciting, fast-paced view of graduate student research from a range of disciplines. This year’s finalists represented 10 different academic departments in six schools or colleges.

“The Three Minute Thesis is a celebration of graduate student research,” says Barbara Krauthamer, dean of the Graduate School. “UMass graduate students conduct exceptionally high caliber research and the 3MT presentations offer creative examples of their deep engagement with important issues and problems. I congratulate all of the students who competed in this contest on their outstanding work.”

The finalists will present their three minute talks again at a public event at the Jones Library, March 23, 3-4:30 p.m., with audience members at the library voting on a second People’s Choice recipient.