Engineering Student Tops UA’s Inaugural 3MT Competition

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — A University of Alabama graduate student from the College of Engineering claimed the top prize in the University’s inaugural 3 Minute Thesis competition, while another engineering graduate student won the “People’s Choice” award Wednesday night.

Will Guin, of Winfield, a graduate student in civil, construction and environmental engineering, took home a $1,000 scholarship and $500 in research and travel money. Guin’s presentation featured “pop-tubes” which use microwaves to create a more effective airframe skin for the Boeing 787 aircraft. He will represent the University at the 3MT competition at the Council of Southern Graduate Schools in February.

Steven Kelley, a chemistry student from Olive Branch, Miss., finished second and received $1,050 for his presentation on the use of nitrogen to deactivate radioactivity as a potential permanence solution to disposing nuclear waste.

Julia Stevens, a biological sciences student from St. Louis, Mo., gave a presentation on the common attributes of invasive species, focusing on the lionfish. She won $700.

Catherine Winn, an English grad student from Montgomery, won $250 for her presentation about 16th century views of women’s anatomy and the effects those views have on modern reproductive rights policies.

And Alireza G. Kashani, a civil, construction and environmental engineering student from Tehran, Iran,  showed how a laser can more effectively assess structural damage caused by tornadoes. Kashani won $900 and the “People’s Choice” award.

Three Minute Thesis competitions help teach graduate students to make their work more accessible to everyone by expressing often complex research in everyday language.

The 3MT competition for graduate students originated in Australia, but now more than 21 universities in the United States are active in the thesis competition. This is the University’s first year fielding competitors.


Bobby Mathews, UA media relations,, 205/348-4956


Dr. Cori Perdue, UA Graduate School programs director,