Science student receives prize at Three Minute Thesis Competition

Armita Jalooli, York U’s Three Minute Thesis Competition Prize Winner

In January, fourth-year undergraduate Science student Armita Jalooli received a prize at a Three Minute Thesis Competition at the annual Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) National Conference.

The competition, trademarked as Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) and administered by many institutions and organizations around the world, challenges students to explain their research in three minutes, using lay language and only one slide. Jalooli, who is double-majoring in physics and pure mathematics, presented an overview of the research she is conducting with Faculty of Science Professor Sean Tulin to search for a “fifth fundamental force.”

There are four fundamental forces in nature (gravity, electromagnetism, the weak force, and the strong nuclear force), and the Standard Model of particle physics only includes these four force particles.  But there might be other forces that haven’t yet been detected experimentally. The discovery of a new force particle would have staggering consequences for the Standard Model and open up new avenues to understand our universe. Jalooli conducted theoretical research that will be used in the Proton Radius Experiment at the Jefferson Lab (Virginia, USA), which is searching for new fundamental forces.

“The WISE conference is a great place to see what you can do with your degree and to meet other professionals in STEM,” says Jalooli.  “In this conference, we get the opportunity to meet very inspirational women and hear about their stories and the paths they have taken to be where they are. I personally had a great experience because I learned that everyone has a different story to become successful.”

The 3MT presentations were judged by a diverse panel of judges. Jalooli was one of four prize winners and received a job interview and networking opportunity with Schneider Electric’s rotational internship program.

Alex Mills, Associate Dean for Students in York’s Faculty of Science, was understandably pleased with the result.

“We were able to sponsor several of our students to attend this event, including Armita, and it was heartening to learn of her success,” says Mills. “It’s so satisfying to watch our students as they develop, as they both share and compete with students from other institutions, and then make their way out into the world.”


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