Computer Science and Statistics Ph.D. Candidates Win Three Minute Thesis Competition
For the first time in Graduate School history, two doctoral candidates tied for first place in the eighth Cornell Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition, held on March 30, on Zoom.
Yurong You, a doctoral candidate in computer science, and Kim Hochstedler, a doctoral candidate in statistics, wowed the judges and took home co-first place for their presentations, “Can Autonomous Vehicles Learn from Their Own Memories?” and “The Heart of Misdiagnosis,” respectively. Each were awarded the top prize of $1,500.
Alongside six other finalists, Hochstedler and You presented their dissertation research in just three minutes to a panel of judges and a virtual audience from across campus and around the world. Presentations were judged by how clearly and compellingly students summarized their research to a general audience, using only one static slide.
Second place and $1,000 was awarded to entomology doctoral candidate Lidia Komondy for her presentation, “Seeing is Believing, if You Know Where to Look,” and after nearly 100 audience members cast their ballots, votes were tallied and the People’s Choice Award and $250 were also presented to You.
This year’s judges included Eldora Ellison, Ph.D. ‘94, a member of Cornell’s Board of Trustees; Kim Wagner ‘85, a member of Cornell’s Board of Trustees; Bruno Shirley, an Asian literature, religion, and culture doctoral candidate and 2022 first place winner; and Matt Ranieri ‘06, M.S. ’09, Ph.D. ‘13, president of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Alumni Association.
“The presentations were fascinating and came from finalists with expertise in so many impressive and diverse research topics. It was amazing to see how impactful these research projects were to the world,” said Komondy. “This experience helped me realize how important scientific research is outside the lab and how important it is to keep the public updated on the implications of our research findings.”
Each of the winners agreed that participating in the 3MT was a great way to practice talking about their research in a way that engages and excites individuals outside of their fields and that the experience will influence the way they share their research going forward.
“The best way to explain things is to stand in the audience’s shoes and use simple words,” said You. “Participation in 3MT will undoubtedly shape my future presentations.”
Hochstedler said, “As I continue to communicate my research in future presentations and projects, I think these lessons of how to connect with an audience and explain my work succinctly will remain valuable. I now feel very prepared for the next family reunion when people ask me what I’m working on at Cornell!”
The 3MT competition was first held in 2008 at the University of Queensland and has since been adopted by over 900 universities in over 85 countries. 3MT challenges research degree students to present a compelling story on their dissertation or thesis and its significance in just three minutes, in language appropriate to a non-specialist audience.
Cornell’s Graduate School first hosted a 3MT competition in 2015 and the event has grown steadily since that time.
“The 3MT is an excellent way for our doctoral students to practice communicating complex ideas to a broader audience, which is a skill beneficial not only for their time as students but for when they enter the professional world as well,” said Kathryn J. Boor, dean of the Graduate School and vice provost for graduate education. “We are so proud of each and every one of this year’s finalists.”
2023 3MT Finalists
Co-First Place and People’s Choice Award: Yurong You, computer science doctoral candidate
Presentation Title: “Can Autonomous Vehicles Learn from Their Own Memories?”
Special Committee Chair: Killian Weinberger and Bharath Hariharan
Area of Research: Machine learning, computer vision
Biography: Yurong You is a Ph.D. candidate in computer science, advised by Prof. Kilian Q. Weinberger and Prof. Bharath Hariharan. Before he came to Cornell, he received his bachelor’s degree from Shanghai Jiao Tong University (ACM honors class). His Ph.D. research focuses on enhancing 3D perception for autonomous vehicles, particularly through innovative methods.
Favorite Thing About Cornell: Amazing people at Cornell!
Co-First Place: Kimberly Hochstedler, statistics doctoral candidate
Presentation Title: “The Heart of Misdiagnosis”
Special Committee Chair: Martin Wells
Area of Research: Correcting for misclassification/misdiagnosis in medical studies
Biography: Kim Hochstedler is a Ph.D. candidate in statistics. She received her M.S. in biostatistics from the University of Michigan in 2020 and graduated with her B.S. in statistics and psychology from Carnegie Mellon University in 2018. Her research involves developing statistical methods for misclassified outcome data in healthcare and criminal justice settings.
Favorite Thing About Cornell: The ice cream.
Second Place: Lidia Komondy, entomology doctoral candidate
Presentation Title: “Seeing is Believing, if You Know Where to Look”
Special Committee Chair: Brian Nault
Area of Research: Precision agriculture, insect vector ecology, integrated pest management
Biography: Lidia Komondy is a Ph.D. candidate in the field of entomology. Her research focuses on the vector ecology of insect-transmitted plant pathogens and the use of precision agricultural tools to solve modern problems in the ecological sciences. She hopes that her research will help alleviate the escalating challenges that growers are facing.
Favorite Thing About Cornell: The Big Red Barn!
Fangming Cui, psychology doctoral candidate
Presentation Title: “An Upside to Disappointment in Close Relationships: Evidence for a Motivational, Relationship-Promoting Role”
Special Committee Chair: Vivian Zayas
Area of Research: Close relationships, emotion, motivation
Biography: Originally from China, Fangming is a Ph.D. candidate in psychology with an emphasis on social psychology. Her research mainly focuses on the downstream consequences of diverse emotional expressions in close relationships. She is fascinated with the idea of the “positivity of negativity,” wherein negative emotional expressions can, at times, exert positive relational outcomes.
Favorite Thing About Cornell: Taverna Banfi brunch and salads at the Terrace restaurant.
Sharada Gopal, biomedical and biological sciences doctoral student
Presentation Title: “Worming Our Way Through a Longer Life”
Special Committee Chair: Siu Sylvia Lee
Area of Research: Aging
Biography: Sharada Gopal am a third-year graduate student in Dr. Sylvia Lee’s lab, where she studies the molecular mechanisms that regulate aging. Originally from Bangalore, India, Gopal came to Cornell for her master’s degree before transitioning to the BBS program to pursue a Ph.D. Beyond her research, she enjoys swimming in Ithaca’s picturesque lakes, singing, and cooking.
Favorite Thing About Cornell: The BBS community.
Yuexing Hao, design and environmental analysis doctoral student
Presentation Title: “AI-Enhanced Patient-Centered Clinical Shared Decision-Making (SDM): A ‘Black Box’ Study with Older Adults”
Area of Research: Health intelligence, human-computer interaction
Biography: Yuexing Hao is a Ph.D. student in design and environmental analysis with a concentration in human centered design at Cornell University. She earned two computer science degrees from Rutgers University (B.A.) and Tufts University (M.S). Currently, her research focus is on health intelligence and human-computer interaction.
Favorite Thing About Cornell: P.E classes! I took ice hockey, squash, water skiing, and yoga, all of which were fantastic experiences.
Sangwoo Park, biophysics doctoral candidate
Presentation Title: “Sugar Barrier on the Cancer Cells”
Special Committee Chair: Matthew Paszek
Area of Research: Glycobiology, immunotherapy, biophysics
Biography: Sangwoo Park is from Changwon, South Korea. His current research focuses on developing new immunotherapies targeting the cancer cell glycocalyx. He has developed an optical microscopy method to understand the physical properties of glycocalyx. The ultimate goal of his research is to find treatment methods to eradicate cancers.
Favorite Thing About Cornell: Wineries and hiking.
Susannah Sharpless, English language and literature doctoral candidate
Presentation Title: “How Did Maritime Trade Shape the Imaginations of American Women Writers?”
Special Committee Chair: Shirley Samuels
Area of Research: 19th-century American Literature
Biography: Susannah Sharpless is a Ph.D. candidate studying nineteenth-century literature. Her dissertation is titled, “‘Subtle Cargoes’: The Terraqueous Romantic in Nineteenth-Century Women’s Writing.”
2023 Final Round 3MT Competition
The live virtual Three Minute Thesis Competition Final Round took place at 3:00 pm ET on March 30, 2023. Eight finalists competed for first and second prize in the judging and People’s Choice Award winner. A post-event reception was held at the Big Red Barn starting at approximately 4:30 pm ET, and was open to the Cornell community and families and friends of the finalists and judges.
Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) is a competition to help doctoral students develop and showcase their research communication skills. Cornell’s 3MT challenges graduate students to present their dissertation as a compelling story in just three minutes, with one slide, in language appropriate to a non-specialist audience.
Preliminary Round Events
- All competitors submitted a recorded presentation of their talk by noon ET on Monday, March 13, 2023 in order to compete in the Preliminary Rounds that selected finalists.
- We thank all of our wonderful preliminary round presenters for participation in the 2023 competition. Those who are still enrolled as doctoral students next year are welcome to enter the competition again.
- Thank you also to our preliminary round judges, including Evelyn Ambríz, Merry Buckley, Anitra Douglas-McCarthy, Christine Holmes, Janna Lamey, Nathan Lindberg, Heidi Marshall, and Christian Miller.
- Registration was opened from February – March 13, 2023, and an information was held on March 6. View the information session recording.
- Need assistance recording your video submission? Timeslots were available on Thursday, March 9 to record your preliminary round video in the Big Red Barn greenhouse with the help of a Barn staff member. Recording equipment was provided.
If you should have questions or concerns regarding the 3MT Competition, please email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.