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On Friday, December 8, 10 College of Applied Science and Technology (CAST) graduate students competed in the Three-Minute Thesis (3MT) competition. There were two competitors from the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences (FCS), one from the Department of Agriculture (AGR), and seven from the School of Kinesiology and Recreation (KNR).

The research communication competition challenges master’s and Ph.D. students to describe their research topic and its significance in just three minutes to a general audience. The competition develops academic, presentation, and research communication skills and supports the development of students’ capacity to explain their research effectively in language appropriate to a nonspecialist audience.

CAST 3MT competitors

  • Theresa Allgaier (KNR): The Impact of Mentoring At-Risk Youth in an After-School Program on the Socialization Process of Pre-Service Teachers 
    Thesis chairperson: Associate Professor Karen Gaudreault, Ph.D.
  • Katie Grabow (FCS): The Effects of Highlighting Healthy Options on Consumer Food Choices in a Foodbank Setting
    Thesis chairperson: Assistant Professor Jennifer Barnes, Ph.D.
  • Perry Harlow (AGR): Illinois legislator’s Attitudes of School-Based Agricultural Education
    Thesis chairperson: Professor Richard Steffen, Ph.D.
  • Derek Hevel (KNR): Exploring How to Effectively Frame Physical Education Activity Messages to Promote Participation 
    Thesis chairperson: Professor Tony Amorose, Ph.D.
  • John Kaczorowski (KNR): Athletic Identity, Institutional Support Services, and Transition: An Analysis of Student-Athlete Perceptions and Implications
    Thesis chairperson: Assistant Professor Rebecca Achen, Ph.D.
  • Emily Martz (KNR): Lots of Pain, Some Gain?
    Thesis chairperson: Assistant Professor Justin Stanek, Ed.D.
  • Reilly McKinnis (FCS): Scheduling Recess: Perceptions of Lunchroom Supervisors, Teachers, and Principal
    Thesis chairperson: Associate Professor Julie Schumacher, Ed.D.
  • Henry Mercier (KNR): The Prevalence of Sports Specialization Across Multiple Team Sports in High School Athletes 
    Thesis chairperson: Associate Professor Noelle Selkow, Ph.D.
  • Sophia Pollalis (KNR): Characterization of Concussion Using Diffusion Tensor Imaging
    Thesis chairperson: Associate Professor Michael Torry, Ph.D.
  • James Schaefer (KNR): Does Your Arch Even Lift?
    Thesis chairperson: Assistant Professor Justin Stanek, Ed.D.

Grabow won the competition, while McKinnis finished in second place. The two CAST students move on to the University 3MT finals, which will be held February 22 at the Normal Theater.

Harlow, the only student to compete from the Department of Agriculture, said the hardest part of preparing for the 3MT competition was condensing his entire thesis and research into a short time period. “When you are writing a thesis that is anywhere from 40–120 pages and you have to condense that down to three minutes to a group of people that don’t know the background of your research or your content knowledge, it becomes really difficult to put it all in simpler terms.”

Kaczorowski, who is researching student-athlete perceptions of institutional support services, echoed Harlow. “(In preparing your speech) you are working to craft the perfect words, and then you get up there (to present) and they leave your head. So you are challenged still get your point across and leave behind an impression and presentation that you are proud of.”

Grabow is researching the effects of highlighting healthy options on consumer food choices in the foodbank setting and has been a student in the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences for six years. She graduated with a degree in food nutrition and dietetics and returned to FCS to pursue a master’s in dietetics.

“It means so much to represent the College of Applied Science and Technology at the University level because it has been such a big part of my life,” Grabow said. “I did my undergrad here in FCS and now I am here completing my graduate degree, so it means a lot to represent a place I love so much.”

A giant CAST good luck goes out to both McKinnis and Grabow as they compete in the 3MT University finals.