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CAS Interim Dean Garbutt and 3-minute thesis participants. From left: Dean Garbutt, Neil Balchan, Katarina Mapes, Himidu Pitigala, Jesse Hurd, Alexandra Serbinovskaya, Mohadeseh Naderi

CAS selects 3-Minute Thesis competition winners

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Media Contact: Elizabeth Gosney | CAS Marketing and Communications Manager | 405-744-7497 |

Six College of Arts and Sciences graduate students won awards at the 2023 CAS finals round of the 3-Minute Thesis competition.   

Fifteen students competed in the competition’s finals on Oct. 12. Katarina Mapes, a doctoral student in the Department of Integrative Biology, claimed first place. Second place ended in a tie between integrative biology doctoral students Jesse Hurd and Neil Balchan.  

These three students have been chosen to represent CAS in the university-wide competition Nov. 7 at 3:30 p.m. in the Student Union Theatre. 

“3-Minute Thesis is an exciting challenge for our graduate students,” said Dr. Rachael Eaton, program manager of CAS student research. “Not only do they have to explain complex research topics, but they must do so in a way that sparks the audience’s curiosity and leaves us wanting to know more. I am consistently impressed by our outstanding researchers at 3MT events.” 

All six 3MT winners are listed below with their hometowns and presentation titles. 

CAS 3MT Winners: 

People’s Choice Award 

Mohadeseh Naderi - Tehran, Iran 

Doctoral student with Dr. Yolanda Vasquez, Chemistry 

Presentation title: “Revolutionizing Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatment with Gold Nanoparticles 

First Place 

Katarina Mapes - Fairview, Texas 

Doctoral student with Dr. Guin Wogan, Integrative Biology 

Presentation title: “The Aging Game” 

Second Place 

Jesse Hurd - Gordon, Nebraska 

Doctoral student with Dr. Elizabeth McCullagh, Integrative Biology 

Presentation title: “The Secret Life of an American Prairie Vole​” 

Second Place 

Neil Balchan - Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada 

Doctoral student with Dr. Guin Wogan, Integrative Biology 

Presentation title: “Bridging the Gap between Biodiversity and Snakebite using Integrated-Omics” ​ 

Third Place 

Alexandra Serbinovskaya - Novocherkassk, Rostov Oblas, Russia 

Doctoral student with Dr. Stephanie Link, TESOL & Linguistics 

Presentation title: “Benefits of Gaming for Collaborative Writing” ​ 

Third Place 

Himidu Pitigala - Colombo, Sri Lanka 

Doctoral student with Dr. Michael Reichert, Integrative Biology 

Presentation title: “Microbes and alluring frog calls: The Effect of the Skin Microbiome on Calling Behavior in Treefrogs ” ​ 

3-Minute Thesis is trademarked by the University of Queensland. For more information about the university finals, click here

Story By: Erin Weaver, CAS Communications Coordinator |

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