Skip to content Skip to main navigation Report an accessibility issue

Rats, Cats, and Asteroids: First 3MT Semi-Final for 2020

On Tuesday, February 25, seven hardy souls took the stage at Hollingsworth Auditorium to take up the challenge of the Three Minute Thesis Semi-Final Competition. Participants in the Three Minute Thesis competition are given three minutes and a single slide to explain their research to a panel of judges, who may not even be aware of their field of study. During those few minutes, judges evaluate how clearly a competitor gets the impact of their research across and how engagingly they present their work.

3MT Participants

Top, left to right: Tania Dawant, Noah Frere, Asa Lambert; bottom, left to right: Mary Ali Oliver, Megan Cannon, Ashley Tuttle; Nick Kim

The research presented during this semi-final competition came from the College of Arts and Sciences, the Herbert College of Agriculture, the Haslam College of Business, the College of Veterinary Medicine, and the College of Education, Health and Human Sciences. After all the presenters showed the audience the kind of impactful and important research being done at UT, the judges rendered their final evaluation, choosing the three competitors that will continue on to the final competition on April 1.

The three winning presentations involved the impact of social dominance on stress resilience in rats (and possibly humans), the concerning spread of toxoplasmosis beyond terrestrial animals like cats to aquatic life, and the exploration of ways to cut through the noise when studying the composition of asteroids that we might need as we move out beyond the stars. Megan Cannon, Tania Dawant, and Noah Frere are the graduate students who presented these topics and who will be taking the stage again on April 1 from 1:30 to 3:30 in the Student Union Ballroom, during Graduate and Professional Student Appreciation Week.

Many thanks to all the participants; our judges: Misty Bailey, Royal Paschall, and Jim Ostrowski; and the organizing colleges: College of Veterinary Medicine, Tickle College of Engineering, and the College of Nursing. The next semi-finals will be on Wednesday, February 26. One will be in 220 Henson Hall from 2-4 and the other will be in 135 Law School from 3-5<. For more about the competition and to view final competitions from the past three years, visit