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Oklahoma State University

“Super Bowl” of OSU three minute competitions names winners

Mon, April 18, 2016
Winners of the President's Fellows' Grand Three Minute Challenge were (left to right) Raqhav Nargotra, MS student, management information systems, tied for third; Adam Cobb, PhD student, natural resource ecology & management, tied for third; Sway Pradhan, MS student, microbiology, cell and molecular biology, first place; Dane Robertson, MS student, forensic sciences, second place; and Rajesh Tolety, MS student, management information systems, People’s Choice Award.

Sway Pradhan made the most of her last-minute opportunity to enter Oklahoma State University Graduate College’s first President’s Fellows’ Grand Three Minute Challenge (3MC) competition April 14.

Pradhan, a master’s student in microbiology, cell and molecular biology, won first place and $2,000 for her presentation “Fungi and Bacteria for Biofuels: Helps or Hurts?” Pradhan, who had placed sixth in the Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) in March, only learned of her chance to compete in 3MC the morning of the competition following the withdrawal of one of the finalists.

“It was around 8:30 a.m. when I got the call from Dr. Clinkenbeard and he asked me if I wanted to take the spot and compete. Without even thinking for a second I said I would do it,” Pradhan said.  

The 3MCcompetition, unique to OSU, celebrates the success of the 3MT® and Three Minute Presentation (3MP) in a head-to-head competition of winners from those events in 2015 and 2016. The 3MC is sponsored by the OSU President’s Fellows, a society made up of passionate and loyal OSU alumni and supporters of university priorities through the leadership of President Burns Hargis. As with the 3MT® and 3MP, students in the Three Minute Challenge presented their research or disciplinary topic and its significance in less than three minutes, using only one PowerPoint slide, to a general audience.

“I especially want to thank the President’s Fellows program for their support of this event,” said Hargis, who was on hand to present awards. “This is exactly the kind of thing we want to encourage here at Oklahoma State; undergraduate and graduate research is really what we’re all about.”

Dr. Sheryl Tucker, associate provost for Graduate Education and dean of the Graduate College, welcomed the audience, which ranged from faculty advisers and graduate students to family supporters of the competitors, in addition to remote viewers who tuned in via live stream on OStateTV.

Along with Pradhan, top finalists included Dane Robertson, a master’s student in forensic sciences, who was awarded second place and $1,500 for his presentation about the use of sweat patches in forensic science to help victims of drug-facilitated sexual assault. Adam Cobb, a doctoral student in natural resource ecology and management and winner of the 3MT® competition in March tied for third place with Raghav Nargotra, a master’s student in management science and information systems and winner of the 2015 3MP competition in November. Both were awarded $500.

“I had a lot more fun at the 3MC,” Cobb said. “Not being the first presenter, I got to enjoy talking and joking with the other presenters backstage. I am now going to refocus on my dissertation. Earning a Ph.D. will be the best prize of my semester.”

Rajesh Tolety, who’s earning a master’s degree in business analytics, engaged the audience with his presentation about predictive analytics, which earned him the People’s Choice Award and $2,000. The award is chosen by vote of the audience.

Dave Hunziker, the “Voice of the Cowboys” on the Oklahoma State Cowboy Radio Network and lecturer in strategic communications, served as the master of ceremonies. He called the event the Super Bowl of OSU three minute competitions. President’s Fellows Jan Jewell, Dr. Barry Pollard, Roxanne Pollard, Dr. Gary Sandefur and Julie Teubner served as judges and critiqued the competitors in the categories of communication, comprehension and engagement.

The Spears School of Business was awarded the College Participation Award and a traveling trophy for the college with the highest percentage of students participating in a three minute competition.


Story by Taylor Young