Matt'S Master'S Thesis

” and “Does this expression ultimately add to or detract from the value of our lives?

” And importantly—especially at this historical moment in technology-fueled social media—Last Words stands as a speculative provocation pointing to the challenges around online accountability.

Products of Design MFA student Matthew Barber's thesis, entitled “The End.” looks at the shifting landscape of death and dying in today’s society, and the consequences of living an increasingly digital life.

Matthew chose to tackle this subject after observing the effects of his grandmother’s passing from dementia.

Communicating science is a key interest of Gilmore, an associate professor of atmospheric sciences in the John D. “We need to make sure graduate students are able to talk about their research — communicate clearly what they have done — so when they get out of school, they are marketable,” said Gilmore, whose courses include one about science communication.

“They can get a job because they can explain to their future employer what they did, and the employer will actually understand it.” 3MT helped in that effort, says Gilmore.

As we carry around these little supercomputers [our smartphones], holding someone’s attention briefly is all the time we get.

We get a brief few minutes to sell our idea to someone.” Brooke Hagenhoff (right), a master’s degree student in atmospheric sciences who took first place in the Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) competition, poses alongside competition runner up, Matt Fuka. The contest was about students addressing non-specialists with compelling stories about their research in three minutes or less.

“3MT helped me to present my work to other people in daily life so they can understand it,” said Fuka, a Grand Forks native whose presentation was titled “Creating Materials for Oil-Free Engines.” Di Lorenzo echoed the student perspective on the competition during his award ceremony remarks.

“It’s incredibly ironic as we go through graduate training that we get more and more narrow, more and more specific,” Di Lorenzo said. So having the opportunity to prepare for a broader lay audience is incredibly important for all of us.


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