Graduate students condense thesis presentations to mere minutes

February 20, 2024 (Volume 47, Number 13)
Article by Thomas Garrett

Len O’Kelly, associate professor of journalism, broadcasting and digital media, joked with the audience gathered on Valentine's Day for the 3-Minute Thesis competition that they would see "how graduate students have truly been in a long-term relationship with their research.” 

The competition, now in its ninth year, provides a unique opportunity for graduate students to gain experience in presenting and sharing their research with the broader community.

Trista Bergerud, assistant director of programming and communication at The Graduate School, said practicing short-form presentations helps students improve their communication and time management skills and helps them plan how to share their research clearly and concisely (using one slide) with a general audience.

The presentation order was a surprise to the students, many of whom admitted to feeling nervous.

Mason Kolanowski gave a presentation on neuroscience and the effects a day/night cycle can have on healthy and unhealthy humans. Before the competition began, Kolanowski said he was trying to keep a positive outlook.

“I am just happy I am not presenting to a room of neuroscientists who can point out my mistakes," Kolanowski said. "Instead, I just have a bunch of strangers who I get to talk to about my research.”

Ty Rizer, who is studying education, learning, design, and technology, presented a prototype simulation to be used in health care education. “You can’t just summon information to your brain while you are standing on that stage, you have to be prepared,” Rizer said before the event.

Jeff Potteiger, associate vice provost of The Graduate School, commended students for their hard work. “You all have the courage to share your research and scholarship. We are so proud of the fabulous job you have all done,” he said.

The winner of the competition, Jowei Yek, will represent GVSU at the Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools 3-Minute Thesis competition in April. Awardees, including a People's Choice recipient, were as follows:

  • First Place: Jowei Yek, business, "Perceived Costs and Benefits to Employing International Students"
  • Second Place: Kate Lucas, biology, "Impact of Climate Change and Restoration on Phosphorus Loading in an Impaired Wetland"
  • Third Place: Rheyna Bui, communications, "Identity Negotiations of Multiracial Vietnamese-Americans Through the Lens of Hybridity"
  • People's Choice: Grace Forlines, public health, "Exercise for Everybody: Inclusive Fitness Programming for College Students with Disabilities"


Across Campus

This article was last edited on February 20, 2024 at 8:55 a.m.

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