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Graduate student Carlos Llosa-Vite wins People's Choice Award at Three-Minute Thesis Competition

Congratulations to Carlos Llosa-Vite for winning the People's Choice Award at the Iowa State University Three-Minute Thesis (3MT) competition finals held on October 28, 2021. The People's Choice award is based on viewers of the competition voting their preference. Carlos presented his 3MT presentation titled, "Assessing Suicide Risk Using Statistics." You can see his presentation, as well as that of other awardees on the 3MT website

Carlos LlosaBelow is a Q&A from the Graduate Studies Department. 

Q: What brought you to Iowa State?

A: The department of Statistics at Iowa State has a very rich history. It was established as the oldest statistical laboratory on the western hemisphere. Professors from my undergraduate university had encouraged me to apply to this program, and I was elated when I learned I had been accepted.


Q: Describe your research in three sentences or less.

A: My research is on the statistical analysis of high-dimensional datasets that have a "tensor" form, that is, datasets that are naturally arranged in matrices (2-D), cubes (3-D), or higher-dimensional objects (N-D). While my research develops methodologies for any kind of "tensor" data, I always keep an eye on applications that involve brain imaging data, which are typically arranged as 4-D tensors (3-D spatial structure across time). Besides suicide risk, I have also used my methodologies to neurologically assess (1) the role that music has in regulating our emotions, (2) the effect that age has in the formation of false beliefs, and (3) the repeatability and reproducibility of brain imaging across multiple subjects and imaging centers.


Q: What do you hope to gain from Three Minute Thesis?

A: I love investigating brain imaging data, and have found differences in brain functions from person to person. The ability to communicate the science to all audiences is a necessary skill that people often take for granted. I want to be able to describe my research to non-experts in a way that makes sense and motivates them to engage in the dialogue.


Q: Share a fun fact about yourself.

A: After college, I wanted to go to med school, or graduate school in chemistry. I changed to statistics last minute, and I don't regret it.