College of Engineering recruitment coordinator wins Three Minute Thesis competition


From 38 students in the preliminary rounds to eight in the final competition, only one student could be named the winner of the third annual Three Minute Thesis competition Tuesday.

Dave Hoffman, graduate student in counseling and student development and recruitment coordinator for the College of Engineering, won the competition with his presentation on prospective students and student retention.

Hoffman will receive a $500 scholarship and will serve as Kansas State’s representative at the Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools’ 3MT Competition in April.

Tennecia Dacass, graduate student in economics, won a $250 scholarship for placing second with her thesis, “Intergenerational Effects of Mass Incarceration.”

The audience also chose Dacass as the people’s choice winner, adding a $125 scholarship to her winnings.

The competition was hosted by the Graduate School. Dave Lewis, public address announcer for K-State football and men’s basketball, was the master of ceremony.

“It’s a nice way to celebrate our graduate students and the work that they do, make them feel as important as our athletes do.” said Megan Miller, student success coordinator for the Graduate School.

Miller said the competition is designed to push graduate students in terms of professional development by forcing them to narrow their lengthy theses into brief presentations. Contestants are restricted to a single PowerPoint slide and challenged to present research in a way that is understandable to other people in three minutes or less.

“As graduate students, they become much more focused in a particular area of research,” Miller said. “And as you get more involved in your research it can sometimes become difficult to realize what is not clear to people outside of your field.”

Derek Lawson, president of the Graduate Student Council and graduate student in personal financial planning, said he finds the process of condensing complicated information to be “fascinating.”

“My favorite part is to see students take different and complex concepts and narrow it down into a three-minute presentation,” Lawson said.

More than twenty graduate programs were represented in the competition’s preliminary and final rounds.

“We hope to keep increasing the diversity of students involved, in terms of academic discipline,” Miller said.

At the end of March, the Graduate School will host the K-State Graduate Research Arts and Discovery Forum (GRAD). According to the Graduate School’s website, GRAD is a campus-wide research forum for graduate students that provides an opportunity for students to share their research in a professional setting.