Graduate Research Symposium (GRS) & Three Minute Thesis (3MT)

The Graduate Research Symposium is organized for and by graduate students. Past symposiums have featured keynote speakers, the final round of the Three Minute Thesis academic research competition, podium presentations, poster presentations, career and alumni panels, and networking sessions.

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2022 Graduate Research Symposium

Friday, May 13, 2022
Register for the Graduate Research Symposium:

Schedule at a Glance

9:30 - 10:00 a.m.  Check-in/Registration 
Light breakfast 
CBIS Gallery
(outside CBIS Auditorium)
10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Professional Development Mini Sessions   CBIS Bruggeman
12:00 - 1:00 p.m.  Lunch  Russell Sage Banquet Hall
1:00 - 1:45 p.m. Podium Talks Bruggeman Room 
1:00 - 1:45 p.m. Virtual Poster Presentations Webex Event
1:45 -  2:00 p.m.  Break/Transition Time  
2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. Keynote  CBIS Auditorium
3:00 - 3:45 p.m. Three Minute Thesis Final CBIS Auditorium
3:45 - 5:30 p.m. Poster Presentation Session

Networking Reception 
CBIS First Floor and Second Floor Atriums



Trustee Srinivasan “Siva” Sivaram ’85G ’86PhD is the 2022 keynote speaker.
Dr. Siva Sivaram is President of Silicon Technology of Western Digital Corp, Technology and Strategy. He is responsible for the company’s industry-leading NAND flash memories and other memory and storage technologies. Learn more about Dr. Sivaram here.

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2021 Graduate Research Symposium

Friday, May 14, 2021

8:00 - 8:45 a.m. Morning Yoga/Meditation
8:45 - 9:00 a.m.  Check-In
9:00 - 9:15 a.m.  Welcome and Opening Remarks
9:15 - 10:15 a.m.  Podium Presentations (Set 1)
10:15 - 11:15 a.m. Three Minute Thesis Finale
11:15 - 11:30 a.m. Break
11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. Career Workshop 1: Communicating Your Research

Career Workshop 2: Job Searching for PhDs

12:30 - 1:30 p.m. Podium Presentations (Set 2)
1:30 - 2:00 p.m.  Lunch (on your own)
2:00 - 2:45 p.m.  Keynote by Acting VP of Research Robert Hull
2:45 - 3:45 p.m.  Mental Health for Graduate Students
3:45 - 4:00 p.m.  Break
4:00 - 5:00 p.m.  Poster Presentations
5:00 - 5:45 p.m.  Networking Session
5:45 - 6:00 p.m. Closing Remarks
6:00 - 7:00 p.m. Grad Grab & Go Meal + Virtual Happy Hour
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2020 Graduate Research Symposium

In 2020, the Graduate Research Symposium was virtual because of the COVID-19 pandemic. 
All presentations from 2020 are available here. 

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2019 Graduate Research Symposium

Saturday, April 20, 2019 10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. 
CBIS - Various Rooms 

2019 Keynote Speaker: Dr. Tobi Saulnier 

Before the GRS, PhDs were invited to participate in the
PhD Career Transition Workshop (Lunch provided)
Led by Free The PhD founder Dr. Vay Cao
April 19th 11:00a.m. – 1:30 p.m. in CBIS Bruggeman
Learn more about Free the PhD here.

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2018 Graduate Research Symposium

The 2018 Graduate Research Symposium (GRS) was held on Friday, March 23 and Saturday, March 24. 

Highlights from the event: 

  • Keynote speaker: President Shirley Ann Jackson on Friday March 23rd at 9AM in the EMPAC Theater
  • Three Minute Thesis academic research competition on Saturday, March 24th at 11:00 a.m. in CBIS Auditorium
  • Workshops from the Archer Center for Student Leadership, the Center for Career and Professional Development, Office of Graduate Education, the Counseling Center, and Mueller Center
  • Prizes, food and a networking event on Saturday, March 24th at 5:30pm in CBIS Atrium
  • Posters and talks from Rensselear graduate students

Questions? Contact 2018 GRS task force co-chairs Kelly Jenkins and Kaylyn Bell.

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2017 Graduate Research Symposium

Keynote speaker: Dr. Mark M. Little ’82, Rensselaer Board of Trustee and former Chief Technology Officer and Leader of GE Global Research in Niskayuna, New York.

"Graduate Research Symposium Showcases Student Work," Inside Rensselaer, April 2017.

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Three Minute Thesis Competition

The Three Minute Thesis (3MT) Competition challenges doctoral students to effectively explain their research in three minutes, using language appropriate to a non-specialist audience. Developed by The University of Queensland in 2008 and now held in universities around the globe, the Three Minute Thesis cultivates students' academic, presentation, and research communication skills, thus allowing a broader audience to engage with cutting-edge research and its global impact.

2016 - 2019 Three Minute Thesis Presentations:
2020 Three Minute Thesis Presentations: 
2021 Three Minute Presentations: 

2021 3MT competition: 

  • First Place: Meghan Pendyala, Biomedical Engineering
  • Runner-Up: Abderlrahman Ismael, Transportation Engineering
  • People's Choice: Adeola Awofiranye, Biology 

2020 3MT competition:

  • First Place: Anna Smallwood, Chemistry
    Runner-Up: Rahul Divekar, Computer Science 
    People’s Choice: Eyosias Ashenafi, Environmental Engineering 

2019 3MT competition: 

  • First Place: Alvin Zhang, Mechanical Engineering, "Efficient Fluid Simulations Through Adaptive Pixelation"
  • Runner-Up: Diana Ramirez-Rios, Transportation Engineering, "Discrete-Continuous Approximation models for Facility Location and Allocation of Disaster Relief"
  • People's Choice:  Deepika Vaidyanathan, "C5-Epi Express to Animal Free Heparin"

2018 3MT competition: 

  • First Place: Aritra Chowdhury, "Automated Machine Learning" 
  • Runner-Up: Nathaniel Anderson, "Using DNA Self-Assembly to Build Light-Absorbing Arrays" 
  • People's Choice: Aritra Chowdhury, "Automated Machine Learning" 

2017 3MT competition:

  • First Place: Prachi Sharma, "Photodetectors for Biohazard Detection"
  • Runner-Up (tie): Camille Bilodeau, "Developing Molecular Movies to Produce Safe and Pure Medicine"
  • Runner-Up (tie): Atriya Sen, "Computational Axiomatic Science"
  • People's Choice: Prachi Sharma, "Photodetectors for Biohazard Detection"

2016 3MT competition:

  • First Place: Julie Robinson, "Engineering the Purification of Antibody Medicines"
  • Runner-Up: Christopher Morrison, "Engineering Passive Safety Using Composite Materials for Nuclear Fuels"
  • People's Choice: Catalina Alvarado, "Biofilm Formation in Water Treatment Membranes"