MSE Master’s student among the 12 UofT Three Minute Thesis finalists

Congratulations to Crystal Liu (MSE) for being one of 12 finalist of the Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) competition from across University of Toronto.

Open to all graduate students enrolled in Canadian universities, this competition is an opportunity for graduate students to develop skills in translating their research and its significance to non-specialists. Participants have three minutes to deliver an engaging presentation on their complex thesis research using a single, static slide.

“I was really impressed by the quality of other students’ presentations. I feel the 3MT is a great event for people across varying disciplines to learn about different types of research happening in the entire university,” says Liu. ” The participants all presented potentially highly technical research topics in a way for a general audience to understand; I found the talks really interesting.”

Crystal is a Materials Science & Engineering (MSE) Master’s candidate supervised by Prof. Scott Ramsay and her thesis is titled, “The Design and Implementation of Open-Source Hardware in Engineering Education”. This work presents two low-cost, open-source mechanical testing machines: the Universal Mechanical Testing Kit (UMTK) and the Miniature Mechanical Testing Kit (MMTK), that were designed and implemented in engineering education. The UMTK was launched as a lab activity in a first-year introduction to materials science class, during which the students performed tensile and three-point bending tests. The Miniature Mechanical Testing Kit (MMTK) was designed as a remote learning tool and used as a lab kit in a third-year engineering design class during the pandemic to provide students with meaningful hands-on experience while learning from home.

“I think I learnt a lot during my experience being a TA for different types of courses, as well as running the robotics club through my undergrad.” she says. ” Having to explain technical content and my projects to the diverse student population has helped me learn to reframe and refine my core messages, as well as to adapt my communication to suit different audiences.”

The 3MT finals will be on Wednesday, March 31, 2021 from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM (ET). See the full list of U of T finalists at the School of Graduate Studies website.

This open-source mechanical testing kit can be built at low-cost. As such, it enables more students, including those doing distanced learning, to gain hands-on experience by building the kit and using it to test materials. (Photo: Crystal Liu)