3 Minute Thesis: College Level Reflection

Photo of Kristen Hamblin(left), Stephanie Carteciano(center), and Emily Watkins(right)

Three Minute Thesis (3MT) is a national conference in which graduate students compete in their communication skills by condensing their theses or master’s project, sometimes upwards of 90,000 words, into a 3-minute presentation using a single slide. They are evaluated based on the comprehension of their research and their ability to convey it effectively to audiences who are not knowledgeable about the subject of their presentation.

Each college at BYU competes in 3MT to select a candidate for the university-level competition. This year, 14 students from the College of Nursing at Brigham Young University competed in 3MT at the college level.

The third-place winner was Emily Watkins. Emily’s research centered around visually-impaired veterans and how the adjustment to blindness training is efficacious in their treatment. “Out of the 20 million veterans, there’s 1.1 million who are experiencing a visual impairment (VI),” Emily stated. “US armed servicemen or women suffer an average of 15,681 eye injuries per year. Based on these numbers, it is inevitable that practitioners will encounter a veteran with a VI.” She continued, “Adjustment to blindness training is training in the alternative skills and techniques that allow people living with a VI to function efficiently. Rehabilitation helps people manage emotional distress through peer support and mentoring. It facilitates constructive problem-solving and meaning-making, restore daily function, and improves social connection.” The training is also helpful in engendering post-traumatic growth. “Post-traumatic growth describes the growth and thriving resultant from the struggle with highly challenging life circumstances,” Emily explained. “In this paper, we describe visual impairment as that highly challenging event and adjustment to blindness training as the key facilitator of the adjustment to the visual impairment and post-traumatic growth. This provides a framework by which providers can understand the importance of screening for VI, identifying the impact of the visual impairment, and facilitate positive outcomes via an interdisciplinary approach.”

Stephanie Carteciano earned second place after her presentation on comprehensive sex education. “Many people around the world support comprehensive sex education, despite the stereotype that the topic of sex education is divisive or contentious,” she said. She added that the main obstacles to teaching comprehensive sex education are debates over what comprehensive means, teachers feeling ill-equipped to educate on the subject, and the need to tailor the instruction to the population being taught. Stephanie explained, “For my project, we created a culturally adaptable comprehensive sexuality education teacher’s manual. We derived the content from the eight key concepts of the UN international technical guidance on sexuality education.” The feedback received was extremely positive after implementing the manual in the US, South Korea, and the Philippines. “You can pick up this manual, and you can teach comprehensive sex education,” Stephanie asserted. “We know comprehensive sex education is important for the rights of all young people everywhere. But we need to patch the holes, and we are confident that this manual will assist in this process.”

Finally, in first place was Kristen Hamblin. She described, “For my thesis, the research question was: are cases of dating app facilitated sexual assaults different from other rape cases? For our study, we reviewed nearly 2,000 medical forensic examination charts; the largest study of its kind. Victims can request medical forensic examination after being sexually assaulted to receive healthcare and forensic evidence collection. The nurse performing the exam completes the detailed documentation we used for our study. We evaluated these cases of dating app facilitated sexual assaults and compared them to other date rape cases. We discovered deeply concerning findings.” These findings showed that dating app rapes are more violent than other cases and that the victims had often disclosed mental illness to their perpetrators. “Overall, our findings showed that violent sexual predators are using dating apps to find vulnerable victims,” Kristen continued. “So, what can be done? We suggest taking a systems-based approach. Dating app companies can adopt readily available safety features like screening users for criminal history. They can also work alongside the criminal justice system to create a safer environment for victims to disclose their assaults. If victims feel ashamed or guilty, they won’t report being assaulted, and if victims don’t report, the perpetrators continue to assault. Remember, in cases of sexual assault, perpetrators alone are responsible. As we use this systems-based approach rather than placing the burden of safety solely on victims, we can more effectively identify and implement solutions to reduce sexual violence not just on dating apps, but throughout society.”

We want to congratulate all participants of the 3MT conference on their dedication to research and their courage to present it. We wish Kristen the best of luck in the upcoming university-level competition.

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