Graduate student research presented in regional Three Minute Thesis competition

Chris Omni presents her thesis,"Black Butterflyz: Making Black Women's Health a Capital Concern," in three minutes at the K-State Three Minute Thesis competition on Feb. 21. (Courtesy Photo by Chris Omni)

If condensing a long essay into a short paragraph is hard, imagine trimming your thesis research down into a three minutes presentation.

After Chris Omni, graduate student in public health, won Kansas State University’s Three Minute Thesis Competition on Feb. 21, with her presentation: “Black Butterflyz: Making Black Women’s Health a Capital Concern,” she shared her research at a regional competition.

Omni competed in St. Louis, Missouri on Friday, March 22. The regional event was sponsored by the Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools. Omni, however, saw the opportunity as more than a competition.

“I am not viewing this event as a competition, but as another opportunity to shed light on health disparities and the importance of physical activity,” Omni said. “In my mind, I already won! My research is on the minds of people in Kansas, and soon enough it will be on the minds of people in Missouri.”

During the competition, it is critical to explain your research in a way judges and those not within the field can understand.

“[It] is all about speaking the language of the people who will be impacted most by your research,” Omni said. “It’s not about using words to impress your readers or listeners; it is truly about communicating impressive information that makes people want to listen.”

She said her research was culturally-tailored toward black women aged thirty-nine to sixty-four, who are 40 percent more likely to die of cancer, heart disease and stroke.

“During the research stage, I identified three key barriers of physical activity for black women,” Omni said.

These barriers were lack of role models, social support, and knowledge.

While Omni’s research focused on the health of black women, she said it is important for everyone to make health a priority and to remember the health of others.

“Please remember the importance of physical activity,” she said. “Physical activity transcends race. Physical activity transcends gender.”

For the Three Minute Thesis competition, each presenter is allowed one PowerPoint slide as they speak. Omni’s was a picture of her mother, who died of cancer in 2016.

While Omni has excelled in competition, she said she realized how the experience should be applied to real-life as well.

”[This] experience helped me structure a new blog titled Blacktivate. This blog was designed to target a lay black female audience while providing relevant and relatable health research along with promising practices.”