Story by Tyler Carter
Harish Chander participated in the Three Minute Thesis competition for graduate and professional students at Ole Miss in which he won the grand prize. That prize included an all-expenses paid trip to the Conference of Southern Graduate Schools (CSGS), where graduate and professional students presented their thesis research in front of a panel of judges as well as their peers from other CSGS schools.
Chander, who will be defending his doctoral dissertation this May and graduating with a Ph.D. in biomechanics (health & kinesiology) this summer, said he enjoyed this academic experience and opportunity to meet and network with his peers. The goal of the Three Minute Thesis is to challenge graduate students to present their research in three minutes or less to an educated but nonspecialist audience.
“It was an amazing feeling and opportunity to compete and just to be present there, listening to and learning [about] what other research graduate students do in various fields of education. My personal mindset was to excel in everything I do, and I was very proud that I was the only graduate student that did human subjects research ‘in vivo.’ It was a great learning experience overall.”
Chander’s research is unique, and his engaging presentation of his research is what earned him a win in the three-minute thesis competition.
“My line of research, right from my physical therapy school days to my master’s and now in my Ph.D., has been analysis of human balance and gait,” Chander said. “I use 3-D motion capture systems, balance machines, force platforms and electromyography muscle activity to assess human balance and gait. The focus of my graduate school research has been on ergonomics (occupational biomechanics) and prevention of falls and fall-related injuries in the workplace.
“The thesis I defended at the competition was my master’s thesis titled “Impact on Balance while Walking in Occupational Footwear,” where I looked at how standing and walking for prolonged periods (four hours) affected human balance and muscle activity while wearing different industry standard footwear. We ended up finding that even minimal workload as standing and walking that are exposed over prolonged duration affects balance, and high-top industry shoes were beneficial in balance maintenance and thereby preventing falls. Right now, I am collecting data for my Ph.D. dissertation focusing on the “Biomechanics of Slips.”
This experience served Chander well, and he is excited about not only future endeavors but also was excited to represent the University of Mississippi at this prestigious conference.
“I am extremely glad that I got an opportunity to compete, present my research to other scholars and, above all, represent Ole Miss at the CSGS regional competition. I personally want to thank Dr. Jay Garner and Dr. John Kiss for all the opportunities and exposure that I have had with my experience in grad school at Ole Miss.”