Carmen Reese Foster

UA Graduate Student Wins Regional Three Minute Thesis Competition

Carmen Reese Foster, a University of Alabama Doctor of Social Work student in the School of Social Work, won the Conference of Southern Graduate Schools’ regional Three Minute Thesis, or 3MT, competition for her presentation, “Assessing the Impact of COVID-19 and Race-Based Trauma on the Mental Health of Black Social Work Professionals.” The honor comes with a cash prize and entry to the national contest.

“It is a deep privilege to share with the community about my research,” said Foster. “My hope is that this research would create awareness about the negative impact that COVID and racial trauma have had and continue to have on our mental health.”

Foster said she hopes to see changes in schools, workplaces and communities that positively impact Black people.

“We need to see tangible systems of support for Black people to help mitigate the effects of both COVID and race-based trauma,” she said.

Foster brings home The University of Alabama’s first regional 3MT trophy. During this year’s event, students from 48 schools presented their thesis research for the competition. Each competitor condensed years of work conducted in laboratories, archives and the field into a three-minute summary for a general audience, presented with a single slide.

“The Three Minute Thesis is a wonderful opportunity for graduate students to develop the type of communication skills they will undoubtedly need for their careers as they present their ideas to decision-makers, media or potential employers,” said Dr. Susan Carvalho, associate provost and dean of the Graduate School. “It is important to us at The University of Alabama that people understand the research that goes on in our graduate programs. Our mission is to develop the next generation’s innovators, and it does not stop here.”

“Carmen is an outstanding student in our DSW program,” said Nicole Ruggiano, professor and DSW program director. “Her achievements at the University and regional 3MT competition speak to the importance of her work. As a social worker pursuing a doctoral degree, she does an excellent job at demonstrating how research methodologies can be used for the purpose of social justice.”

Foster will move on to the national 3MT competition taking place in San Francisco Dec. 7-10. The winner of the national 3MT competition will compete globally in Queensland, Australia, where the 3MT competition originated.