Taylor Neumann wins People’s Choice award Three Minute Thesis competition

This article was original published by The Graduate School

Three 3MT winners (from left) pictured with Peter Harries, Graduate School dean; Francisco Jativa, second place; Hafizul Islam, first place; Taylor Neumann, People’s Choice; and Tom Stafford, master of ceremonies. (Becky Kirkland photo)

Three students from the College of Engineering were chosen as winners in the Graduate School’s fifth annual Three Minute Thesis. The competition challenges graduate students to explain their research to a general audience in just three minutes.

Winners, along with their presentation titles and departments, are:

  • First place, Hafizul Islam, FEEED the Hungry, industrial and systems engineering
  • Second place, Francisco Jativa, Sea-ment, civil, construction and environmental engineering
  • People’s Choice winner, Taylor Neumann, From Body Heat to Electricity, chemical and biomolecular engineering

Ten finalists who competed in the event at Hunt Library were chosen from among 25 preliminary contestants. A panel of three judges chose the first- and second-place winners. Audience members voted on the People’s Choice winner.

Judges for Wednesday’s event were: Steve McCall, business excellence manager with BASF and Ph.D. alumnus from NC State; Bob Starbuck, retired executive with Wyeth Pharmaceutical, who earned two graduate degrees at NC State; and Benny Suggs, associate vice chancellor for alumni relations at NC State and retired admiral with the U.S. Navy.

Tom Stafford, vice chancellor of student affairs emeritus, served as master of ceremonies for the event. Stafford, who is well known for his tours of the Memorial Belltower and Reynolds Coliseum, entertained the audience by asking them questions about NC State University’s history between contestants’ presentations.

finalists for competition 3 minute thesis
All 10 3MT finalists. (Becky Kirkland photo)

Preliminary rounds were held Oct. 8-10. In addition to Graduate School staff, preliminary judges included Brent Lancaster, College of Engineering; Deirdre Shore, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences; and Sarah Corica, College of Natural Resources.

In addition to the winners, the other finalists, listed by college, were:


  • Parth Chansoria, industrial and systems engineering
  • Elvin Hossen, civil, construction and environmental engineering


  • Javier Jimenez, textile engineering, chemistry and science
  • Adhiraj Shinde, thermal protection and comfort center

Agriculture and Life Sciences

  • Reny Mathew, entomology and plant pathology


  • Whitney McLaughlin, counselor education

Humanities and Social Sciences

  • Angela White, English
three men at awards