OXFORD, Miss. – A University of Mississippi student’s “Three Minute Thesis” was the audience favorite at the recent Conference of Southern Graduate Schools annual meeting.
Sujith Ramachandran, a pharmacy administration student from India, won the “Peoples’ Choice” award during the competition in New Orleans. Audience members, rather than judges, selected his “Honey, We Drugged the Kids!” as the best and most interesting presentation.
“It was an amazing feeling to be standing up there with the best students from across the South,” Ramachandran said of his honor, which included a $250 cash prize. “I also feel like it was a very good conclusion to my thesis project. My department helped me put all of it together, from the project to the final presentation, and Dean Kiss helped me take it to the Conference of Southern Graduate Schools. So it was a rewarding experience for everyone involved.”
Ramachandran’s entry was based on his master’s thesis project, titled “Determining physician and patient characteristics that predict the use of atypical antipsychotics in children with mental health disorders.”
“It is an attempt to understand physician decision-making in the area of pediatric mental health,” he said. “My thesis is basically an insight into what causes physicians to prescribe new-generation antipsychotics (such as Abilify or Seroquel) to children under the age of 18.”
Twenty-six students from major universities throughout the South competed in the 3MT finals. Each has won his or her university’s title. Ramachandran qualified for the contest by winning the UM competition in November.
UM administrators congratulated Ramachandran on winning the honor.
“The competition was very intense in that the best students from other 26 major schools, such as the University of Virginia, Auburn University and the University of Kentucky, were represented,” said John Kiss, dean of the UM Graduate School. “Sujith’s win also is a testament to the interesting and vibrant graduate programs we are building at our university.”
Provost Morris Stocks said Ramachandran’s honor adds to UM’s reputation for academic rigor.
“Any recognition of UM research, particularly from fellow scientists, speaks to the high caliber of our students and our formidable faculty,” Stocks said. “Mr. Ramachandran’s achievement at the CSGS annual meeting is another bragging point for our already renowned standing as Mississippi’s flagship university.”
Ramachandran, who completed his master’s degree last year, is a doctoral candidate and is working on his dissertation.
“I hope to finish my Ph.D. within the next year or two,” Ramachandran said. “I plan to join the pharmaceutical industry after my graduation, but my long-term goal is to work in the health policy arena to help fix the problems with health care cost and quality.”
The Three Minute Thesis competition celebrates the exciting research conducted by doctoral students. Developed by the University of Queensland, the exercise cultivates students’ academic, presentation and research communication skills. The competition supports their capacity to effectively explain their research in three minutes, in a language appropriate to a nonspecialist audience.
“Our 3MT program has done a great job of highlighting our graduate level studies as well as promoted interdisciplinary research,” Kiss said.