Island University Highlights Graduate Research and Success through 3MT Competition

Published: April 24, 2017

Island University Highlights Graduate Research and Success through 3MT Competition

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Developing a vibrant and challenging educational experience that will prepare graduates as global stewards for the public good, the Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi College of Graduate Studies led a campus-wide endeavor as host of the 4th annual Graduate & Professional Student Appreciation Week, Monday, April 3 through Friday, April 7. A series of events honored and recognized contributions made by Islander graduate students, including an awards luncheon and a proclamation by the Mayor of Corpus Christi. The highlight of the week was the Master’s 3-Minute Thesis Competition (3MT), held April 6.

“The trend nationally is to improve scholars’ ability to communicate excitement and the value of research,” said Dr. Luis Cifuentes, Vice President for Research, Commercialization and Outreach at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. “The 3MT event provides our graduate students with an opportunity to hone their communication skills and showcase their research.”

The competition showcased research of six A&M-Corpus Christi graduate students: Hailey Boeck, Adam Bynum, Melanie Gingras, Shane Reader, Clair Rydman and Alex Tompkins. Competing for a grand prize of $500, each student was allowed three minutes to present a compelling summarization of their research using a single PowerPoint slide without any props or electronic media. Contestants were judged based on comprehension, communication and audience engagement. Guest judges included: Dr. Don Albrecht, A&M-Corpus Christi’s Vice President of Student Engagement and Success; Karen O’Connor Urban, Community Advocate and Past President of the A&M-Corpus Christi Foundation Board; and Susan Ochoa Spiering, Attorney and President of Ochoa and Associates, PC.

“This event brought an amazing opportunity for these students to present in front of a panel of judges and peers, which is something they’re probably going to be doing for the rest of their lives,” said O’Connor Urban. “I hope that in the future as this event continues to grow, that we can achieve more community engagement so members of the Coastal Bend can be gratified by what amazing work is being done relative to education. The presence of the University is huge in this community.”

After presenting his thesis titled “No Cake-walk: The Bitter Truth about Dieting and Eating Control,” Shane Reader, graduate student in the psychology master’s program, was awarded first place and the $500 prize. Tompkins took second place with his presentation, “Saving Red Snapper One Drop at A Time,” and Gingras took third place with her presentation, “Small-scale Morphodynamics of Maintained and Unmaintained Beaches on Mustang Island.”

“When I first heard about the competition last year, I knew it was something I wanted to be a part of, 3MT was a wonderful opportunity to not just share the research that I've been working on but also to celebrate the conclusion of a wonderful program,” said Reader. “I would definitely encourage more graduate students to participate.”

Graduate professionals and educators were also recognized at the 2017 Graduate Student Awards Luncheon on April 4, where they received plaques in honor of their achievements.

The award recipients were:

Outstanding master’s student: Haylee Roy – College of Education and Human Development;

Outstanding doctoral student: Avery Scherer – College of Science and Engineering;

Outstanding teaching assistant: Natasha Breaux – College of Science and Engineering;

Outstanding research assistant: Hongjie Wang – College of Science and Engineering;

Outstanding master ’s mentor: Dr. Robert Wooster – College of Liberal Arts;

Outstanding doctoral mentor: Dr. Randall Bowden – College of Education and Human Development.

To learn more about the 3MT competition and the College of Graduate Studies, visit