Student Spotlight

FIU Epidemiology student is a finalist in 2023's Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition

Student aims to raise awareness around breast and cervical cancer screenings to improve women's health in Caribbean countries

Ten students from the Graduate Program at Florida International University will compete at this year's Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition. Anny Rodriguez, Ph.D. student of epidemiology at Stempel College, will join fellow competitors in presenting her 80,000-word Ph.D. dissertation to a non-specialist audience. The catch? She only has three minutes and one PowerPoint slide to effectively communicate her research to the group.

The competition, developed by The University of Queensland, cultivates students' academic, presentation, and research communication .

We met with Anny to discuss her upcoming participation at 3MT this Friday, January 20, 2023, from 6-7 p.m. at FIU's MARC Pavilion.

Tell us a bit about 3MT.

It's a competition where you pretty much give an elevator pitch on your dissertation in three minutes. I can't use common jargon like "prevalence" or "incidents" because a general audience won't know what that means. Most importantly, I have to grab your attention and make you want to listen to me. All the competitors come from different backgrounds—there are people from business, English, psychology, engineering, linguistics, and more.

What will you be presenting on?
I'm focusing on Black Caribbean women and their barriers to receiving breast and cervical cancer screenings.

I conducted a study where I reviewed a sample of 124 participants from Broward County, a county with the highest influx of Black Caribbean immigrants. I learned through my research that Black Caribbean women are diagnosed at a much later stage in life. And late-stage cancer means they're really not going to their screenings because cervical cancer, thankfully, is not fast-moving. You can catch it, and there are some warning signs. Unfortunately, for these women, by the time they are diagnosed, they are at stage four, which is pretty terminal. So, their outcome is poor. The question is why is it just that population? My research has found that it's culture, religion, and even some sociodemographic factors like education.

What do you hope to do with your research?The goal for me is to build upon my dissertation. I hope to create an interactive website where women can get information tailored to their needs but that has language that is quickly understood. I don't want to scare them away; I want to create tools that help make decisions a little easier for them.

Hear more from Anny at 3MT. Register today to attend .