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Kaitlyn Bacon and Salvatore Luiso are Three Minute Thesis Finalists

Salvatore Luiso
Salvatore Luiso
Kaitlyn Bacon
Kaitlyn Bacon

Graduate students Kaitlyn Bacon and Salvatore Luiso were two of the ten finalists in the 2020 NC State Three Minute Thesis Competition. The finalists were selected from a pool of forty-five participants. Salvatore and Kaitlyn were also two of the three finalists representing the College of Engineering.

Salvatore is the 2nd place winner of the competition. His talk, “An Ideal Structure for Li-ion Battery Separators,” described his research using fibrous separators to improve the stability of lithium-ion batteries.

Kaitlyn’s talk, “Giving Genetic Disease the Henry Ford Treatment,” described her research using protein engineering techniques to design non-antibody affinity ligands for biomolecular purification. Her thesis advisors are Profs. Balaji Rao and Stefano Menegatti.

The Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) is an international research communication competition that challenges Ph.D. students to present a compelling oration on their thesis topic and its significance in just three minutes. The competition was started in 2008 at the University of Queensland, Australia, and has since spread to more than 600 universities in 65 countries around the world. The 10 finalists who competed in the 2020 NCSU competition were chosen from among 25 preliminary contestants.

Due to the pandemic, the 2020 competition was held virtually. A YouTube video of the student presentations is available here. Kaitlyn’s presentation begins at the 48:03 mark and Salvatore’s talk begins at the 51:30 mark.

A native of Italy, Salvatore is advised by Professors Peter Fedkiw and Rich Spontak. In addition to his technical prowess, Salvatore has earned a Master of Arts degree in clarinet. A true renaissance man!

After earning his BS and MS at the ancient University of Bologna, Salvatore moved to North Carolina in 2014 and is now headed to Phoenix, Arizona, to work for ASM America as a Process Engineer.

Earlier in the year Salvatore was awarded first place in his technical session and second place overall in the Student Oral Presentation competition at the 2020 Carolina Science Symposium (CSS). The Symposium is organized by several technical organizations whose common interest is the use of technologies that employ high vacuums in their operation. The NC State Analytical Instrumentation Facility (AIF) is a supporter of the Symposium.

A recap of the CSS is available here.

Salvatore also earned the second place award in the Formal Presentations category at the 2020 Fall Schoenborn Graduate Research Symposium for his talk, “An Ideal Structure for Li-ion Battery Separators.”

Congratulations to Salvatore for your awards and to Kaitlyn for your selection as a finalist!