Monday, May 19, 2014

Your Thesis in Three Sentences: Zhiyang Yu (GSAS '14), Sara Storer (GSAS '14), and Emma Mishel (GSAS '14)

Congratulations to all our GSAS graduates who will be walking in the Convocation ceremony at Lincoln Center. To celebrate our incredible graduates, here are a few of the other participants in the recent GSAS Threesis Academic Challenge.

Threesis Second Place Winner: Zhiyang Yu (GSAS '14)


Can you explain your thesis to us in three sentences? 

 My thesis studies factor momentum trading strategies. It studies the correlation of returns between the number of periods you look back and the number of periods you hold stocks. It also studies this correlation for up to 35 factors that would affect stock returns.

How did you prepare for Threesis and what advice would you give to students who are thinking of participating next year? 

 I would say the key to prepare for Threesis is practice, practice and practice. Having audience, friends and families to listen to the speech many many times before the show would definitely help. As a matter of fact, coming from a foreign country where English is not even my native language, I didn't expect to win when I decided to participate in Threesis. My only goal was to practice my public speaking skills. But you never know. So my advice to students thinking of participating is that, definitely try, and try hard. No matter what the result is, you will always gain something from the process.


 If you had unlimited funding to continue your research, how would it change the world? 

 I would certainly leverage the unlimited fund to execute my trading strategies. It wouldn't change the world, but would certainly affect the financial industry to some certain extent. In addition, it would be a very useful result to show case in the academia.


 Threesis Finalist: Sara Storer (GSAS '14)

Can you explain your thesis to us in three sentences?

Dental implants are a popular way to treat many different dental issues while providing a beautiful and functional tooth replacement. My research focused on a very specific type of dental implant, one that is narrower in diameter and made of a different material than most. When applied to the private practice I worked in, these implants worked very well and offered our patient population yet another option for specific cases of tooth loss.

How did you prepare for Threesis and what advice would you give to students who are thinking of participating next year?

 I started by writing a "script" for myself. After I had all of my thoughts down, I read it out loud to myself and timed it to see if I was close to three minutes. This also helped me to see what sounded awkward and where I should elaborate. After the mentoring workshop, I went back and edited my "script" according to all of the suggestions I got. I practiced to myself, friends, family, and roommates until I found the perfect formula of what I wanted to say. Then, it was all about memorizing and getting down the correct intonation. I made flashcards and practiced my speech 2-3 times every day. After that, the rest is history!

 I would advise future participants to really take to heart what the mentors tell you. They know this competition and can help you learn what the judges are looking for. Also, the more prepared you are for that session, the more constructive your feedback will be to the final competition. Other than that, have fun, be yourself, and enjoy the experience!

If you had unlimited funding to continue your research, how would it change the world?

My research could go on to help provide better treatment for many patients who lose their teeth or have gum disease. By learning more about these specific implants, we could figure out what aspects of the implants are positive, what don't work well, and how we could change the implant design to ultimately have great success in a variety of different patients. Learning more about implants and understanding how different designs work can help to increase treatment options for many different patients.

Threesis Finalist: Emma Mishel (GSAS '14) 

Can you explain your thesis to us in three sentences?

For my thesis, I collected original data to conduct the first-ever large-scale audit study that focuses on whether perceived-lesbians are discriminated against when they apply to jobs in the United States. To do this, I conducted a field experiment where a pair of fictitious women’s resumes were sent to over 800 administrative jobs via online job databases across four states, where one resume was randomly assigned experience at an LGBT student organization to signal that the woman was a lesbian, and the other, a control, was assigned experience in another progressive student organization. Results reveal that the perceived-lesbian applicants were discriminated against compared to the straight women applicants, receiving about 30% less callbacks than the straight women.

How did you prepare for Threesis and what advice would you give to students who are thinking of participating next year?

To prepare for Threesis, I first wrote a script. That script ended up being way too technical, and way too long. I learned this in the workshop that all Threesis participants are required to attend, as the judges there gave me helpful feedback and constructive criticism about how to better my speech for the actual competition. After the workshop, I edited my script according to the judge's feedback, and then memorized the new script. I also practiced with friends and family, as well as in front of a mirror, to make sure I was coming across as confident and knowledgeable. I would advise students who are participating in Threesis to practice, practice, practice, and to particularly take into consideration the judges' notes from the workshop -- they are there to help you succeed in this competition.

If you had unlimited funding to continue your research, how would it change the world?

 This research could help change the world as it brings into focus the discriminatory hiring practices that occur in today's workforce.

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