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Three College of Arts and Sciences graduate students combined to win five awards at the CAS Three Minute Thesis Finals on Oct. 30. Pictured are, from left, Sarah Elzay, Meagan Bourne, Benjamin Nelson, Erin Wood and Kristen A. Baum, associate dean for research.

Students win awards at CAS Three Minute Thesis Finals

Monday, November 18, 2019

After 32 College of Arts and Sciences graduate students competed in the preliminary rounds and 13 advanced to the championship round, four impressed the judges enough to win awards during the college’s Three Minute Thesis Finals on Oct. 30.

Ph.D. students Benjamin Nelson (Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics) and Erin Wood (Department of Psychology) tied for the win, with each receiving a $300 prize. Wood also earned an additional $300 as the People’s Choice Award winner. Sarah Elzay, a Ph.D. student in the Department of Integrative Biology, placed second and received $200. Meagan Bourne, a master’s student in the Department of Political Science, placed third to earn $100.

The five judges were all CAS alumni: Tom Cason (’77 Department of Plant Biology, Ecology and Evolution), Janet Farhood (’68 Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics), Marlene Kisling (’70 Department of Mathematics), Sherry Marshall (’92 Department of Physics) and Lindsey McDowell (’99 School of Media and Strategic Communications).

Wood, advised by Michael Criss and Jennifer Byrd-Craven, spoke about “Father-daughter relationship quality and health risk-taking behaviors: The role of cortisol.”

Nelson’s advisor is Karen L. Wozniak. His speech was “Pigeons: Carriers of a Cryptic Killer.”

Elzay’s “Without” was about a world without insects. Her advisor is Kristen A. Baum.

Bourne, advised by Jeanette Mendez, spoke about foster children who are “Living Life Out of a Trash Bag."

Their presentations, along with all of the other finalists, are vieweable at OState.TV.

Elzay, Nelson and Wood are among the 12 competitors across OSU who advanced to Nov. 19’s University Finals, which will be from 3:30-5 p.m. in the Student Union’s Little Theatre. There, the winner earns $1,000, followed by $750 for second and $500 for third. The People’s Choice Award is worth $1,000 as well.

There will also be additional prizes awarded at the University Finals. Twenty students who competed at any level of the competition will receive $100, though they must be present to win. A $250 professional development prize will go to an attending graduate student. And a $2,000 prize will go to the graduate program associated with the individual whose ticket is drawn.

MEDIA CONTACT: Jacob Longan | 405-744-7497 |

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