Chapman University held its third Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) competition at the Rinker Health Sciences Campus on Wednesday, May 3. The Office of the Vice Provost for Graduate Education (VPGE) hosted the event.

Three Minute Thesis, or 3MT®, is an internationally recognized competition founded at the University of Queensland, Australia. Participation in the competition helps students develop and practice their academic, presentation, and research communication skills.

Eight Chapman graduate students advanced from the preliminary video round held in early spring to the final 3MT® round, where they competed via different platforms – live in person, virtually through Zoom and recorded video. The finalists had just three minutes and one PowerPoint slide to share their research with peers, mentors, and judges. The 3MT® finalists were judged on their communication, delivery, visuals, and timing. The panel of judges was comprised of Martina Nieswandt, Ph.D., Vice President of Research; Roxanne Greitz Miller, Ph.D., Dean of Attallah College and former VPGE; and Innokentiy Maslennikov, Ph.D. Director of Graduate Studies and incoming Interim VPGE.

Kristin Chen, who is working toward her Master of Science degree in Food Science in Schmid College of Science and Technology, won the People’s Choice Award and $500 prize for her presentation entitled “Improving Health Outcomes for Babies with Chylothorax”. Kristin’s PowerPoint slide displayed three steps: fat separation, nutrient analysis, and supplementation. Kristin explained how human milk is the ‘gold standard’ for newborn nutrition but is discontinued in patients with chylothorax since it may lead to complications. Kristin described how removing fat from human milk yields a product that is safe for newborn patients to consume. Kristin shared that defatting human milk removes beneficial components like vitamins and minerals that are crucial for infant development. Kristin’s study evaluates the full nutrient composition of skimmed human milk across four methods of fat separation: refrigerated and non-refrigerated centrifuge, cream separation, and manual separation. The results of Kristin’s research will enhance diet treatment and inform clinical practice guidelines for babies with chylothorax so that they can still receive the benefits of human milk nutrition.

Dr. Jessica Journeay, Ph.D. in Communication in the School of Communication, won second place and a $750 prize for her presentation entitled “Examining Heterosexual Women’s Social Comparisons and Perceptions of Sexual Competition with Porn Stars”. Jessica’s PowerPoint slide displayed a female body through four different lenses. Jessica explained her dissertation investigated women’s social comparisons and perceptions of sexual competition with porn stars they imagined their romantic partners viewed for purposes of private masturbation. Jessica shared two novel predictors were considered, the body size and facial attractiveness of the porn stars. Jessica’s results from a 2 x 2 between-subjects online experiment (N = 762) suggest that if women felt more facially attractive or thinner compared to the porn stars, then there were positive effects on how they felt about their relationships and themselves. However, if women perceived they were larger in body size than the porn stars, then they felt less sexually desirable to their romantic partners. Further, women experienced more emotional jealousy if they were exposed to facially attractive (vs. unattractive) porn stars, which led to negative interpersonal and intrapersonal satisfaction outcomes. Interestingly, the porn stars’ body size (thin vs. plus-size) did not differently provoke effects on jealousy. Jessica’s findings showcase that a partner’s pornography use can have real consequences on the way women feel about their romantic relationships and themselves. Jessica believes couples should have open and honest dialogue regarding their boundaries and levels of comfortability related to pornography use within their romantic relationships.

McKenna Rivers, who is working toward her Master of Science degree in Food Science in Schmid College of Science and Technology, won first place and a $1000 cash prize for her presentation entitled “Labeling Compliance, Species Authentication, and Short-Weighting of Prepackaged Frozen Shrimp Sold in Grocery Stores in Southern California”. McKenna’s PowerPoint slide displayed three images of frozen shrimp. McKenna’s explained her thesis aimed to identify cases of species mislabeling, short-weighting and overglazing, and country-of-origin labeling noncompliance in 106 frozen raw shrimp products purchased at 37 grocery retailers throughout Orange County. Country-of-origin labeling (COOL) of shrimp informs consumers of what country their products are coming from and if it was wild-caught or farm-raised. McKenna shared short-weighting and overglazing of seafood products often lead to consumers receiving an excess amount of ice in their products than expected. McKenna developed a three-tiered DNA barcoding method to be used in the identification of shrimp species.  McKenna’s research found that 94% of samples were COOL compliant, 33% were mislabeled due to species substitution or use of a conflicting or unacceptable market name, and one in three samples was short-weighted; of the short-weighted samples, 24 were also overglazed. The results of McKenna’s study indicate a need for increased scrutiny of shrimp processors regarding short-weighting and species mislabeling to decrease shrimp fraud in the United States and additional training for grocery retailers to ensure they are informed on proper labeling requirements.

First-place winners are invited to represent Chapman in the regional competition at the Western Association of Graduate Schools Annual Meeting in March. If successful there, they advance to the national competition at the Council of Graduate Schools Annual Meeting in December.

More information about Chapman’s 3MT® can be obtained by emailing our office at