TUSCALOOSA – Carmen Foster, 2nd-Year Doctor of Social Work student, competed in the finals of the University of Alabama 3-Minute Thesis (3MT) competition where she won first prize on November 15. Her efforts have allowed Foster to advance to the regional 3MT in Raleigh, North Carolina in February.

“It is an honor to represent the University of Alabama and the School of Social Work in the 3MT Regional competition,” said Foster. “It is a deep privilege to share with the community about the detrimental effects of race-based trauma on Black social workers.”

“We are proud of Carmen and her 3MT presentation highlighting critical issues impacting the social work profession and our community,” said Dr. Schnavia Hatcher, Dean of the UA School of Social Work. “She has done an excellent job representing the mission and values of our UA DSW program. Carmen has our full support as she advances to the regional competition.”

Foster’s presentation was titled, “Assessing the Impact of COVID-19 and Race-Based Trauma on the Mental Health of Black Social Work Professionals.” It focused on her research findings about experiences of racism and secondary trauma among African American social workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly following the murder of George Floyd.

“My hope is that this research will inspire the social work community to provide tangible and sustainable support to Black social workers,” said Foster.

The 3MT is a competition where graduate students communicate the significance of their research in three minutes or less using language that is understandable to a general audience (academics and non-academics). The aim is not for students to “dumb-down” their projects but challenges them to describe their research in a way that highlights its significance and novelty in a short period of time.

Foster competed against 14 other graduate students from across the university in the finals. As a first-place winner, she receives a $1,500 scholarship and the Graduate School will send her as a representative of UA to compete in the regional 3MT competition. Winners of the regional competitions move on to compete nationally with a final competition in Queensland, Australia.

“I am grateful for my committee, led by Dr. (Curtis) Davis and Dr.  (Mary) Held (from University of Tennessee-Knoxville), for my program director, Dr. (Nicole) Ruggiano, and for my 2020 DSW cohort,” said Foster. “They have shown me an overwhelming amount of support and encouragement throughout this process. We are truly #tidetogether. Roll Tide!”

More can be found about the 3MT competition here: https://graduate.ua.edu/current-students/3mt/.