Fourth Annual Three Minute Thesis Competition

Event Date: March 13, 2020

Winners Finalists Judges Event Photos

Competition Winners

First Place: Ben Rein

Ben Rein headshot.

PhD Program: Physiology and Biophysics

Advisor: Zhen Yan

Biography: From Buffalo, New York, Ben Rein is a physiology and biophysics PhD candidate. He studies gene mutations and their effects on autism, with hopes that his research discoveries may advance understanding of autism’s biological basis and develop breakthrough treatment strategies with broad applications. Aside from reading, watching Jeopardy and exercising, he has also served a chief editor for a non-fiction novel and produced a hip-hop album under the alias “Cheezy B”. In the future, Rein hopes to run his own research laboratory that studies autism spectrum disorder, depression and sleep.

Second Place: Seyed Hamed Ghodsi

Seyed Hamed Ghodsi headshot.

PhD Program: Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering

Advisor: Zhenduo Zhu

Biography: Seyed Hamed Ghodsi is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering. In his research, Ghodsi is developing a tool to predict real-time combined sewer overflow (CSO) volume to reduce overflow, while keeping in mind municipality budgets and available area. The goal of his research is to understand the real impact of CSO on our environment, and find the best solution to overcome its negative effects. Ghodsi’s hobbies include soccer, volleyball and tennis. In the future he would like to work as a research and development engineer in an industry related to urban storm water management.

Third Place: Christopher Spence

Christopher Spence Headshot.

PhD Program: Educational Leadership and Policy

Advisor: Lois Weis

Biography: Christopher Spence is an educational leadership and policy PhD candidate from Manhattan, and is a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc., and the NAACP. He is studying the intersectionality between educational policy—particularly high-stakes testing—and teachers’ expectations of students as it relates to the black and white achievement gap. His goal is to extend the scholarly imagination in relation to how people think about social reproduction and policy efforts designed to augment student achievement. Spence enjoys reading, cycling and playing basketball. Upon completion of his PhD, he would like to become a researcher at a tier one research institution.

People's Choice: Oladapo Ogunbodede

Oladapo Ogunbodede headshot.

PhD Program: Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Advisor: Tarunraj Singh

Biography: From Owo, Nigeria, Oladapo Ogunbodede is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. His research is focused on finding ways to improve energy efficiency in drones by mimicking flight patterns in birds and marine mammals that exhibit powered-coasting locomotory behavior. Ogunbodede’s goal is to make drone flights greener and less costly. In his spare time, he enjoys photography, RC-airplanes and traveling. Upon graduation, Ogunbodede aspires to be a guidance, navigation and control engineer in the aerospace industry.