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Shannon Rodriguez is Runner-up in UGA's 10th annual Three Minute Thesis competetion

Shannon Rodriguez is smiling.

The University of Georgia Graduate School hosted the 10th annual Three Minute Thesis competition in a virtual ceremony on April 8. Better known by the acronym 3MT, the competition requires contestants to explain their thesis or dissertation topic and its significance in three minutes or less using only a single static presentation slide.

This year’s grand prize winner was Judith M. Reyes Ballista, a doctoral student in the Department of Infectious Diseases, for her presentation titled “The Grinch of the Cells.”

The runner-up was Shannon Rodriguez, a doctoral student in the Department of Linguistics. And the people’s choice award, which is given to the contestant who receives the most votes from viewers of the competition, went to Aarya Venkat, a doctoral student in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

The grand prize winner receives $1,000. The runner-up receives $750, and the people’s choice receives $500.

The competition is open to all currently enrolled UGA master’s and doctoral students, and this year’s 3MT drew dozens of submissions from across the university. Several preliminary heats led to the selection of 10 finalists, who submitted their presentations for a panel of judges.

The judges for the final round this year were Kelly Girtz, mayor of Athens-Clarke County; Montu Miller, a community organizer, hip-hop advocate and educator; and Stuart Rayfield, vice chancellor for Leadership and Institutional Development for the University System of Georgia.

The competition, which was developed by the University of Queensland in Australia, develops academic, presentation and research communication skills and supports the development of students’ capacities to effectively explain their research in language appropriate to an intelligent but non-specialist audience.

This year’s final was sponsored by the UGA Graduate School and the Office of Research. Congratulations to Shannon Rodriguez, and all of the other participants!

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