EAS Ph.D. student Pamela Grothe wins 3rd place & People's Choice in Three-minute thesis competition.

From Christmas Island to People's Choice


Congratulations to Pamela Grothe, a Ph.D. student in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, on winning 3rd place as well as being chosen as the “People's Choice” in the inaugural Georgia Tech "Three-minute thesis" (3MT®) competition.

The 3MT® concept was developed at the University of Queensland in Australia and it has spread around the globe. Doctoral students compete with oral presentations, strictly limited to three minutes and using only one Powerpoint slide, on their thesis topic.

Thirty-nine doctoral students entered the Georgia Tech competition, and ten were selected as finalists. A standing room only audience attended the final, and learned about topics as diverse as bone tissue engineering, the formation of galaxies, semiconducting plastics, the health of coral reefs, and aircraft manufacturing supply chains. The panel of judges included University System of Georgia (USG) Chief Academic Officer and Executive Vice Chancellor Dr. Houston Davis, USG Regent Dean Alford (President and Chief Executive Officer of Allied Energy Services), USG Regent Sachin Shailendra (President of SG Contracting), Georgia State Representative Mike Dudgeon (who also serves as Vice President for Research of Hi-Rez Studios), and Dr. Susan Cozzens, Vice Provost for Graduate Education and Faculty Development and Professor of Public Policy.

Pamela flew in from her research site on Christmas Island, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, only two hours prior to the competition. In her presentation she discussed her research on the analysis of corals to establish a historical record of the intensity of El Niño events. “Pamela is an amazing student, whether she is in the field, back in the lab, or in front of an audience,” said Professor Kim Cobb, Pamela’s research advisor. “Her work has taken on extra relevance, given the scale of this year’s El Niño event.”

Other finalists from the College of Sciences were Claire Dell (from the group of Professor Mark Hay in the School of Biology), Karan Jani (Deirdre Shoemaker, Physics), Pranav Kalelkar (David Collard, Chemistry and Biochemistry), and Daegene Koh (John Wise, Physics).