The Graduate School hosted Ball State University’s third annual Three Minute Thesis competition on Feb. 25. The competition, which challenges 10 finalists to condense the entirety of their master’s thesis or doctoral dissertation research into a three-minute presentation (with just a single PowerPoint slide as a visual aid), produced three winners this year:

We in Sponsored Projects Administration recognize that not only is conducting graduate-level research a daunting task in and of itself, but these students, as well as many other Ball State students, have had to carry out their research in one of the most challenging times in the history of higher education. We give kudos to all 3MT participants and to all the students involved in research on our campus.


Photo of Ana Gabriela Calderon Cornejo

First Place: Ana Gabriela Calderon Cornejo (School of Music)

Ana is currently pursuing a Doctor of Arts in music. Ana’s presentation, titled “Piano Works by Latin American Women Composers Born Between 1850 and 1950,” seeks to uncover the important (and often unnoticed) influences of Latin American women in piano compositions.

Ana will go on to represent Ball State University at a regional Three Minute Thesis competition.

Photo of Briana Halloran

Second Place: Briana Halloran (Nutrition and Health Science)

Briana is currently pursuing a master’s degree in nutrition and dietetics through the College of Health. Her presentation was titled “Postpartum Depression and Preconception Vitamin Supplementation: An Analysis of the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS), 2016–2018.” Briana discusses her research, which provides evidence that vitamin supplementation before pregnancy may help mitigate factors such as postpartum depression in women.

Photo of Lily Schwab


Third Place: Lily Schwab (Communication Studies)

Lily is a graduate student earning a master’s degree in communication studies within the College of Communication, Information and Media. Lily’s presentation, titled “It’s Time for a Nap: Tricia Hersey Calls for Rest to Resist the Grind,” explores how self-care through resting is necessary to push back against work-centered American culture, an issue that has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.



In total, more than 20 Cardinals participated in this year’s competition.

“We do hope the very best for each one of you in your research here at Ball State University,” said Dr. Susan McDowell, vice provost for research and one of the judges of this year’s 3MT competition. “And in the potentially winding, bumpy path you will undertake. Thank you for your commitment to research.”

Watch: The full 2021 Three Minute Thesis presentation can be viewed now on Youtube. You may also view a program for the competition.

About 3MT: To learn more about Three Minute Thesis, visit the Graduate School’s website.