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Valentina Palazzi of the University of Perugia, Italy has written an insightful article in this March issue of IEEE Microwaves Magazine on the positive impact the Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition at the International Microwave Symposium (IMS) has had on her personal and professional growth.

She has taken part in this competition twice—in 2019 and 2021, and explains in her article that, at first, she thought it would be impossible to not only explain her research in three minutes, but also to avoid technical jargon.

“The beauty of a 3MT competition,” she says, “lies in the simplicity of its rules, which also makes it so tough: all contestants are given a maximum of three minutes to describe the results of their research to a nontechnical audience, with the support of just a single static slide. There is no room for shortcuts: only you, with your words and gestures, must succeed in catching the attention and the interest of a varied audience in less than three minutes.”

Valentina explains that her journey removed her misconceptions and disbeliefs and helped her embrace the concept that everything is relatable to any kind of audience in a given time—the key lies in planning and asking the right questions. She discusses in her article that competition had a profound effect on her in that it helped her understand a different way of expressing concepts and gave her a new perspective on how to communicate her results and prepare her lectures.

As moderator and Master of Ceremonies for the 2019 event, I was very impressed with this young woman and gave her my special MC award. You can read my blog from that competition, “Innovative Competitions Inspire Next Generation of RF/Microwave Leaders,” where I discuss the importance of 3MT and other IMS competitions that help jump start young engineers’ careers.

I was pleased to see Valentina competing again in 2021. This time, a fellow finalist invited her to help with the IMS2021 WIM session, which resulted in her making connections with some of the most well-known women leaders in IEEE and becoming part of the WIM community.

Be sure to read the details of Valentina’s experiences with both 3MT and WIM here.

-Sherry Hess
WIM Chair 2022