Award winners at MSU's fourth annual Three Minute Thesis competition
Award winners at MSU's fourth annual Three Minute Thesis competition include, from left, David S. Mason, Abbey E. Wilson, and Caitlin J. Wenzel. (Photo by Russ Houston)

And your time! MSU grad students participate in Three Minute Thesis competition

An 80,000-word thesis would take nine hours to present, but nearly 50 Mississippi State graduate students recently had less than three minutes to convey their months or years of complex research during the university’s fourth annual Three Minute Thesis competition.

Sponsored by The Graduate School, the 3MT competition is open to all graduate students in good academic standing. Students may compete in arts and humanities; life and biomedical sciences and engineering; physical, mathematical, computational sciences and engineering; or social and behavioral sciences.

Caitlin J. Wenzel, a master’s student studying veterinary medical science, was named the Grand Champion. Her research talk, “IV Magnesium Sulfate: A Rescue for Horse & Human Asthmatics,” earned a $1,000 prize. Also an animal and dairy sciences bachelor’s graduate of MSU, Wenzel will advance to the Conference of Southern Graduate Schools (CSGS) 3MT Regional Finals held next March in Annapolis, Maryland.

This year’s Grand Champion Runner-Up Award recipient is David S. Mason, a biological sciences master’s student concentrating in botany. Mason received a $750 award for his presentation titled “Introduced Species and Plant Communities: A Dance or a Duel?”

Abbey E. Wilson, a life sciences/animal physiology doctoral student, summarized her research in a three-minute talk titled “Linking Chemistry to the Behavior of Giant Pandas,” which the audience voted as the People’s Choice Award winner. Wilson received a $500 award.

Finalists received $250 awards. They include:

--John T. Buol, a master’s student in plant and soil sciences/weed science, for his research talk, “Keep Cotton Out of the Weeds – The Hormonal Way.”

--Yawei Cao, a forest resources/sustainable bioproducts doctoral student, for her research talk, “What the Knots Can Affect Longitudinal Shear Strength.”

--Danielle Grimes, a biomedical engineering doctoral student, for her research talk, “An Analysis of the Threats to Female Engineering Enrollment.” She also is a cum laude biological engineering bachelor’s graduate of MSU.

--Vineetha Menon, an electrical and computer engineering doctoral student, for her research talk, “Dimensionality Reduction of Hyperspectral Imagery.”

--Sarah E. Pellegrine, a sociology master’s student, for her research talk, “Mississippi Sex Educators’ Perceptions of Youth Sexuality.” She also is a summa cum laude sociology bachelor’s and Bachelor of Social Work graduate of MSU.

Developed by The University of Queensland, Australia, the 3MT competition develops academic, presentation and research communication skills and supports the development of research students’ capacity to explain their work effectively in language appropriate to a non-specialist audience.

 The MSU Department of Communication partnered with The Graduate School to offer training programs to help students prepare for the competition, for which they could only use one accompanying static PowerPoint slide.

MSU’s Graduate School seeks to provide students with opportunities to develop methods of independent and systematic investigation. Providing students and faculty with an environment conducive to learning, scholarly activities and professional development also is among its primary missions. For more, visit

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