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Ph.D. student argues for early intervention in reading trouble, takes 3MT top prize

by Mar. 26, 2018, 7:45 AM

Hannah Krimm (left) took home both first place and the People’s Choice Award, and Sandya Lakkur won second place in the 2018 Three Minute Thesis Competition, held March 23 at the Student Life Center. (John Russell/Vanderbilt)
Hannah Krimm (left) took home both first place and the People’s Choice Award, and Sandya Lakkur won second place in the 2018 Three Minute Thesis Competition, held March 23 at the Student Life Center. (John Russell/Vanderbilt)

Vanderbilt graduate students might spend four or five years on their research, but if they wanted to win $1,000 on Friday, they had to describe it simply and thoroughly in three minutes.

The Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition, in its sixth year at Vanderbilt, drew 49 students mostly from engineering and the sciences, but future history, religion and English Ph.D.s participated as well.

Hannah Krimm took home both first place and the People’s Choice Award, which came with an extra $350, for her presentation titled “A Foundation of Sand: Reading Disabilities in Children with Language Impairment.”

“Two-thirds of children with language impairment identified in preschool end up showing reading comprehension problems sometime in second through fourth grade,” said Krimm, a Ph.D. student in hearing and speech sciences. She said addressing future reading troubles at the same time as speech problems could make for a smoother educational experience.

As for how to present years of study in three minutes: “Murder your darlings,” Krimm advised.

Presenters also could use a single PowerPoint slide to help make their case. Judges evaluated them on their communication style plus audience comprehension and engagement.

Second place went to Sandya Lakkur, a graduate student in biostatistics, for her presentation “Managing Disease Outbreaks: Using the Complete Picture.”

The finalists in the sixth annual Three Minute Thesis Competition at Vanderbilt. (John Russell/Vanderbilt)
The finalists in the sixth annual Three Minute Thesis Competition at Vanderbilt. (John Russell/Vanderbilt)

The nine other finalists and their areas of study were: Meredith Jackson, Jeremy B. Ford and Saramati Narasimhan, biomedical engineering; Stephen Bailey, neuroscience; Ibrahim Ahmed, electrical engineering; Mackenzie Sunday, psychology; Noah Robinson and Lénie Torregrossa, clinical psychology; and Savannah Jacklin, physics and astronomy.

3MT was sponsored by the Graduate School, Peabody College of education and human development and the English Language Center.

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