Sixth Annual Three Minute Thesis Competition

Event Date: March 4, 2022

Winners Finalists Judges Emcee Event Photos

The Judging Panel

Najja Bouldin

Najja Bouldin.

Founder, Phoenix Innovation Group

Najja A. Bouldin is the Founder & Principal at Phoenix Innovation Group, LLC, Buffalo, New York, where he serves customers and the community with Innovation Training, Leadership & Entrepreneurial Development, as well as Community Engagement. Najja is said to have those affection skills you just can’t teach. Folks will notice right away that Najja is a people person who listens intently and enjoys engaging with them. He is a consultant driven by curiosity and the belief in the capacity of every person to achieve their fullest potential. Workshop participants appreciate how he tunes into their experience, while his colleagues and collaborators admire that his mind and his heart are always open in equal measure.

Najja has earned a B.A. in Psychology from the University at Buffalo and a Master of Science in Creativity and Change Leadership from the State University of New York, Buffalo State, where he is now an Adjunct Lecturer. He is also a decorated disabled veteran of the United States Air Force, where he honorably served in Operation Enduring Freedom. In addition to working with scientists around the world, Najja works with Buffalo’s local youth. He has an uncanny ability to get moody teenagers to care about creativity and entrepreneurship. Najja is a fan of science, a cheerleader for ideas and an empowering trainer. His talents are equaled only by his stylish hair and amazing collection of fashionable sweaters. Najja greets us from the lower East Side of Buffalo, New York. His greatest inspiration for integrity, service and enterprising excellence is being a father to his marvelous son, and stewarding culture.

Mary Canty

Mary Canty.

Head of Research, Garwood Medical Devices

Mary Canty earned her PhD in Biomedical Engineering from the State University of New York at Buffalo in February 2018. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Engineering from the State University of New York at Buffalo. Canty is an experienced scientist in the medical device industry with expertise in prosthetic joint infections and electrochemistry. She is currently the Head of Research at Garwood Medical Devices, LLC.

Andrea Ó Súilleabháin

Andrea Ó Súilleabháin.

Executive Director, Partnership for the Public Good

Andrea Ó Súilleabháin is Executive Director at Partnership for the Public Good, a community-based think tank with 325 partner organizations in Buffalo Niagara. Founded in 2007, PPG provides partners with the research they need to turn their ideas into public policies, as well as advocacy, strategy, and communications support. Andrea leads PPG’s work on health and housing equity, criminal justice reform, civil rights, and immigrant inclusion. A native of Western New York, Andrea is a public interest lawyer who previously worked internationally on United Nations peacebuilding, peace negotiations, and gender policy. Her research has been featured by many media outlets, including PBS, The Guardian, Foreign Policy, and The Washington Post. She holds a Juris Doctor from New York University School of Law and a BA in Political Science and Peace Studies from the University of Notre Dame.

Carlos Peña

Carlos Pena.

Chief Regulatory Officer/Chief Quality Officer, The Jacobs Institute

Carlos Peña is currently the Chief Regulatory Officer/Chief Quality Officer at The Jacobs Institute. Peña, a New York City native, is a neuroscientist by training and has spent over 20 years in the federal government. He was previously director of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Office of Neurological and Physical Medicine Devices, part of the FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health. Pena also served from 2012 to 2014 as assistant director of emerging technologies in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.