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CASNR hosts Three Minute Thesis® competition

The College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources at Oklahoma State University recently hosted its second annual Three Minute Thesis® competition.

The College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources at Oklahoma State University recently hosted its second annual Three Minute Thesis® competition.

The 3MT® is a research communication skills development activity first developed at the University of Queensland in 2008. The competition prepares graduate students to present their research and its relevance to an educated but nonspecialist audience in a cogent but concise manner.

The challenge? Students must condense a complete thesis into one static PowerPoint slide and a short, three-minute presentation, which leaves audience members eager to know more.

According to Steve Damron, assistant dean for CASNR, students and professionals in academia often struggle with communicating research studies to the general public.

“I believe the 3MT® helps bridge the gap, as it helps students learn to effectively explain research and why it matters to anyone,” Damron said.

In its second year, CASNR had more than 30 registrants for the competition, creating a need for two preliminary contests. Nine students were then selected to present in the final round of the CASNR 3MT® competition on March 25.

Approximately 75 audience members, nine judges, and numerous administrators and faculty members filled Ag Hall, Room 101 to support and cheer on the contestants as they competed for cash prizes and a chance to represent the college in the OSU 3MT® Finals.

The winners, their departments, and the title of their presentations are as follows:

First Place – Katie McCauley, plant and soil sciences, MS candidate, “Improving the Overwintering Capability of Canola”

Second Place – Shannon Norris, agricultural education, communications and leadership, MS candidate, “Servant Leadership and Mentorship: Perceptions of First-Semester Students”

Third Place and People’s Choice AwardMorgan Hopkins, horticulture and landscape architecture, MS candidate, “Used to Useful: The Environmental and Social Roles of Reclaimed Water Use in Water Conservation”

Hopkins was ecstatic when her name was called for third place, but when she was announced for the People’s Choice Award, she said her heart exploded.

“I was so humbled to know that people really heard what I said and appreciated it enough to vote for me,” Hopkins said. “It meant so much to me to know that my hard work is paying off and people value my research.”

Second place winner, Norris, said condensing two years of research into three minutes is not an easy task, but an important one.

“Communication is a tool everyone needs practice in,” Norris said. “Being able to fluently talk about something you are passionate about or interested in is critical and will benefit me highly in my future pursuits.”

First place winner, McCauley, said she feels a little pressure to defend the OSU 3MT® champion title for CASNR, as last year’s university wide winner was animal science graduate student, Amanda Curtis.

However, pressure aside, she said she is simply thankful for the opportunity to bring awareness to a diverse audience on the importance of canola to Oklahoma’s economy.

“As agriculturalists, it is important that we can relay our work to the general public in a way that can be easily understood,” McCauley said.

Both McCauley and Norris will represent CASNR at the Halliburton OSU 3MT® Finals on Thursday, April 16, at 3:30 p.m. in the Student Union Little Theater. The OSU winner will go on to represent OSU at regional 3MT® competitions.

The OSU College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources believes in the value of hands-on education and the importance of having a well-rounded student experience. Our award-winning faculty members are dedicated to developing students and passionate about adding value to the total educational experience. With 16 majors and 61 study options, plus more than 60 student organizations, the college is committed to expanding minds and inspiring purpose. Learn more at casnr.okstate.edu.


Jacy Bradford


Melissa Mourer
Communications Coordinator

Agricultural Communications Services

144 Agriculture North

Oklahoma State University

Stillwater, OK 74078

Phone: 405-744-3737

Fax: 405-744-5739

Email: melissa.mourer@okstate.edu

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