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2017 3MT® Winners Named
2017 Graduate College Three Minute Thesis competition: (left to right) Master of Ceremonies Kelly Ogle, Channel 9 News; Christina Sharkey, People's Choice Award; 1st place Deepak Kumar; second place Jennifer Rudd; third place Joyce Nabisaalu; and Graduate College Dean Sheryl Tucker. Deepak Kumar, a master’s student in Food Science, won first place and $1,000 at the 2017 Oklahoma State University Graduate College Three Minute Thesis® (3MT) competition March 9, sponsored by Halliburton. Kumar described his research into increasing protein in the diet of people from developing countries using microbes to reduce malnutrition. “Participating and winning the 3MT® has been one of the most rewarding experiences so far in my graduate studies,” Kumar said. “This competition gave me an opportunity to boost my confidence and improve my presentation skills. I literally practiced my speech with everyone I know here in the university - more than 30 people.” 3MT® is designed to teach students the skill of explaining their research in three minutes using one static slide. The key to the competition is presenting the relevance of their graduate research to a panel of non-specialist judges and the audience. “I am passionate about my research and 3MT® really pushed me to articulate its significance to a wider audience,” Kumar said. Along with Kumar, finalists included second place Jennifer Rudd, a Ph.D. student in Veterinary Biomedical Sciences who won $750; third place Joyce Nabisaalu, a Ph.D. student in Design, Housing and Merchandising who won $500; and Christina Sharkey, a Ph.D. student in Psychology who was awarded $1,000 for winning the People’s Choice Award given to a contestant based on a vote of the audience. Serving as the master of ceremonies for the first time was OSU alumni Kelly Ogle, the evening news anchor with Channel 9 News in Oklahoma City. The judges were: Joe Beisel, R&D mechanical engineering advisor for sponsor Halliburton; Richard Cochran, owner and CPA, Cochran-Jones, LLC; Jane Durham, owner and manager of Durham Hereford Ranch in Stillwater; Melissa Reames, chief financial officer, City of Stillwater; Suzanne Spradling, owner and manager, Earth Connections in Oklahoma City; Laura Thomas, district attorney, Payne and Logan counties; and Joe Weaver, administration and finance senior vice president, OSU. Additional support for participation in 3MT® came from the Graduate College which helped graduate programs encourage their students to participate by awarding Program Participation Awards of $200 per participating student (up to a maximum of $2,000 per program) in research-related travel funds for the programs with the highest percent of their students participating. The awards were given to Chemistry, Entomology and Plant Pathology, and Horticulture for the large, medium and small enrollment graduate programs with the highest participation in the 3MT®, respectively. Dr. Sheryl Tucker, dean of the Graduate College, concluded the competition with an invitation to attend a three-minute competition unique to OSU. In the Presidential Fellows Three Minute Challenge, finalists and the People’s Choice winners from the 3MT® and the Three Minute Presentation contests will compete against each other April 13 at 3:30 p.m. in the Student Union Theater. For more information, visit PHOTO:
Mon, 20 Mar 2017 09:22:14 -0500
Oklahoma State’s Kirksey to be honored by national organization
A leader for diversity and inclusiveness at Oklahoma State University, Dr. Jason F. Kirksey, has been selected to receive a top honor from the National Association of Diversity Officers in Higher Education (NADOHE). Kirksey, who serves as vice president and chief diversity officer for the Division of Institutional Diversity at OSU, will receive the Frank W. Hale Jr. Distinguished Service Award at NADOHE’s annual conference set for March 13-15 in Washington, D.C. The award recognizes individuals who distinguish themselves in higher education with a robust record of consistent service for inclusive excellence; exercising innovative and courageous leadership and vision, and exemplifying the philosophy, principles and practices of NADOHE while contributing substantially to diversity and inclusive excellence. “Dr. Kirksey has done an excellent job advancing Oklahoma State’s diversity and inclusion goals,” said OSU President Burns Hargis. “We are fortunate to have an individual with his personal dedication and professional expertise—qualities which continue to distinguish him as an inspiration to his peers as well as his university family.” “While I am honored and humbled by my selection as the recipient of this very prestigious national award, it is really the result of my good fortune in being surrounded by an exceptional team within the Division of Institutional Diversity and across the university, as well as the supportive leadership of President Hargis,” said Kirksey. “For nearly 25 years, OSU has offered me the opportunity to engage in significant and sustained diversity, equity, and inclusion-focused teaching, research, and administrative efforts in a supportive and encouraging environment, which has allowed me to contribute and partner with others toward real progress throughout the institution.“  Last year, NADOHE honored OSU as a model for diversity and inclusion leadership and accomplishments in higher education as the 2016 Institutional Excellence Award recipient. The organization’s president referred to OSU as one of higher education’s “exemplary” models for diversity and inclusion. OSU is also one of eighteen institutions across the country that has been recognized nationally as a five-year recipient of the Higher Education Excellence in Diversity award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine. The university was also nationally recognized in 2016 by Minority Access, Inc. with its Institution Committed to Diversity Award. Since 2014, OSU has been designated as a Minority Serving Institution by the U.S. Department of Education. Kirksey started his career as an assistant professor in the OSU Department of Political Science in 1995, becoming the first African American tenure-track faculty at OSU to hold an endowed chair. He served as the Hannah D. Atkins Endowed Chair for Political Science and Government Information for 14 years, prior to being promoted to his current senior administrative position. He also served a four-year appointment as director of the OSU Center for Africana Studies. Kirksey currently holds the rank of associate professor of political science, and serves as the principal investigator for the $3.4 million Oklahoma Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (OK-LSAMP) Program grant, funded by the National Science Foundation, and the $1.1 million OK-LSAMP Bridge to the Doctorate Program grant. Since 2014, Kirksey has served as the president of the Big 12 Chief Diversity Officers Consortium. Kirksey holds bachelor’s degrees from OSU in political science and economics, a master’s degree in political science from OSU, and a doctorate from the University of New Orleans. He periodically teaches courses, and frequently guest lectures on his areas of specialization, which include minority politics with an emphasis on women, African Americans, Native Americans, and minority voting rights. NADOHE serves as the preeminent voice for diversity officers in higher education. Its vision is to lead higher education towards inclusive excellence through institutional transformation. NADOHE currently has 200 institutional members and 220 individual members. For more information please visit  For more information, contact Dr. Jason Kirksey at (405) 744-9154.
Fri, 10 Mar 2017 09:43:11 -0600
International hospitality focus of O’Toole Series
Joseph Khairallah, the president and chief operating officer for Marcus Hotels and Resorts, will be the featured speaker for the annual Dean Lela O’Toole International Speaker Series set for 2:30 p.m. Monday, March 27, at Jorns Hall in the College of Human Sciences at Oklahoma State University. Khairallah’s presentation, “The Human Element in Global Hospitality,” will include insights on nutrition, human resources, guest services, business development, facilities design, sustainability and other important international hospitality issues. Khairallah grew up in Lebanon and earned a degree in hotel management from Institut Haulot in Brussels, Belgium. Prior to his current position with Marcus Hotels and Resorts, Khairallah served as vice president of rooms, spa and security for the Hyatt Americas Group where he supported 383 hotels as well as overseeing 155 properties and 30 spas. He has extensive experience managing business operations across six continents and 44 countries.           Khairallah’s approach to hospitality operations focuses on engaging employees, improving profitability and providing exceptional customer experiences. He speaks six languages and believes language can be instrumental in bridging cultural barriers in the workplace and society as a whole. He is passionate about education and frequently takes time to share his industry knowledge and experience with students across several universities that specialize in hospitality studies. Established in 1995, the Dean Lela O’Toole International Speaker Series focuses on timely and relevant topics related to public policy, ethics, and international issues in the scholastic areas of the College of Human Sciences.
Fri, 10 Mar 2017 09:34:59 -0600
3MT finalists describe why their research matters
OSU’s 2016 Three Minute Thesis® winner Adam Cobb, a doctoral student in Natural Resource Ecology and Management, describes his research dissertation in the competition’s final. As last’s year’s winner, Cobb represented OSU in a 3MT® regional competition in Maryland this winter. The Oklahoma State University Graduate College will host the annual Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) finals for thesis master’s and Ph.D. students March 9 at 3:30 p.m. in the Student Union Theater. One hundred fifty-eight OSU master’s and doctoral students from eight colleges and 36 graduate programs competed in college-level preliminary 3MT® competitions to send 12 to the finals. The finalists who will compete are: ·         Christina Sharkey – Psychology ·         Gayan Premaratne – Chemistry ·         Will Wiggins – Integrative Biology  ·         Tanaji Paul – Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering ·         Eranda Ekanayake – Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering ·         Luci Wilson – Natural Resource Ecology and Management ·         Deepak Kumar – Food Science ·         JesiNelisiwe Whitley – Biomedical Science ·         Jennifer Rudd – Physiological Sciences ·         Joyce Nabisaalu – Design Housing and Merchandising ·         Jessica Tsotsoros – Education Technology ·         Durba Chakrabarty – Economics and Legal Studies 3MT® is designed to teach students the important skill of explaining what they do and how their graduate discipline is relevant to addressing societal needs to audiences outside specialists in their field of study. The challenge lies in the students’ ability to present their research and its significance in less than three minutes, using only one PowerPoint slide, to a general audience. Students are judged on their communication style, comprehension of material and engagement with the audience. The winner receives $1,000 and will represent OSU at the regional 3MT competition. The second and third place students win $750 and $500, and the People’s Choice Award winner takes home $1,000. Last year’s 3MT winner Adam Cobb, a doctoral student in Natural Resource Ecology and Management, represented OSU in the regional 3MT competition in Annapolis, Maryland, against 45 other university competitors.  Joining the 2017 3MT® as the master of ceremonies is OSU alumna Kelly Ogle, a newscaster with Channel 9 in Oklahoma City. The judges are: Jane Durham, owner with her husband of Durham Hereford Ranch in Stillwater; Bryan Lewis, technical professional for Production Enhancement for Halliburton; Melissa Reames, chief financial officer, City of Stillwater; Suzanne Spradling, owner, Earth Connections in Oklahoma City; Laura Thomas, district attorney, Payne and Logan counties; and Joe Weaver, administration and finance senior vice president, OSU. Presentations are open to the public who are encouraged to vote for their favorite People’s Choice Award presentation. For more information, visit Story by Taylor Young PHOTO:
Fri, 10 Mar 2017 09:29:05 -0600
OSU to launch new RN to BSN degree
Applications now being accepted for fall 2017 semester Oklahoma State University is now accepting applicants for its new Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program set to launch this fall (2017). The online program, offered by the College of Education, is designed for licensed registered nurses who have successfully completed either an accredited associate’s degree or diploma program. Designed for working adult learners, the coursework for the BSN is totally online and delivered over three successive semesters. Each student will have an adviser who provides system guidance, support with online activities, and serves as a mentor while navigating the online degree process. “With a national focus on the need to prepare more registered nurses with advanced education, OSU and the College of Education welcome the opportunity to provide a quality program that will produce leaders in the clinical nursing practice,” said Dr. John Romans, dean of the College of Education. The OSU RN to BSN program concept is unique because of the health and wellness concentration of the degree. The College of Education includes a strong health focus with programs in health education and promotion, applied exercise science, recreational therapy, physical education, and counseling and counseling psychology.  The program plans to seek accreditation through the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. “The new Bachelor of Science in Nursing program meets an expressed need for the state’s healthcare community and it expands the emphasis on health that is already one of the many strengths of the College of Education. We are excited to offer a high-quality program that will produce more nurses with advanced educations for Oklahoma, the region and the U.S.,” Romans said. Visit for more information or to apply for the BSN program. Questions may be directed to program coordinator Heather Stranger at
Fri, 10 Mar 2017 09:54:15 -0600
OSU’s CEAT hosts Boy Scout Merit Badge University
The College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology (CEAT) recently hosted the Boy Scout Merit Badge University in the new Engineering South Annex at Oklahoma State University. Twenty boy scouts from Stillwater Troop 802 received badges in categories that included engineering, emergency preparedness, family and citizenship in the world. The training the scouts received at OSU to help them earn the merit badges is a product of a university and community partnership that includes CEAT Dean Paul Tikalsky, Dr. Daniel Shoup from the College of Arts and Sciences, and Dr. Jim Martin from the Spears School of Business, all of whom helped instruct the scouts. OSU’s Fire Service Training led the emergency preparedness instruction with help from Rob Hill, Stillwater director of emergency services. “Stillwater’s strong scouting tradition and its partnership with OSU helps prepare young people for success in life,” says Tikalsky. “We are proud to be Cowboys.”
Tue, 07 Mar 2017 12:34:21 -0600
OSU/A&M Regents approve personnel actions
The OSU/A&M Board of Regents approved several new personnel actions during its meeting Friday in Stillwater, including the appointment of Richard Frohock as the new associate dean for the Honors College. Other actions included: APPOINTMENTS:  Center for Veterinary Health Sciences – Kelly Allen, assistant professor, pathobiology. CHANGES: James Stine, title change from professor to professor and Glimp professor, electrical and computer engineering. RETIREMENT: Gerald Horn, animal science, March 10, 2017; Stephen Hallgren, natural resource ecology and management, June 30, 2017; David Burnham, microbiology and molecular genetics, June 2, 2017; Debra Nelson, management, June 1, 2017; Kenneth Belanus, division of engineering technology, May 17, 2017; and George Scheets, electrical and computer engineering, June 30, 2017. Story by Katie Rosebrook
Fri, 03 Mar 2017 12:10:30 -0600
McKnight Center for the Performing Arts at Oklahoma State University Hires Mark Blakeman as the Inaugural Marilynn and Carl Thoma Executive Director
MCPA-Roadshow-PPT-FINAL Following an extensive national search, Oklahoma State University announced the selection of Mark Blakeman, current president and CEO of the Tucson Symphony Orchestra, to lead The McKnight Center for the Performing Arts. The approximately $70 million facility is currently under construction on the OSU campus. A generous $5 million gift from OSU alumni Marilynn and Carl Thoma established the Marilynn and Carl Thoma Executive Director leadership position at The McKnight Center. Billie and Ross McKnight “We are delighted to have attracted such an exceptional executive to lead The McKnight Center for the Performing Arts,” said Burns Hargis, president of OSU. “We are pleased Mark is onboard. He has a deep appreciation for the arts and shares our vision to create a premier center of excellence for the benefit of students, faculty and the broader community." Prior to his three-year tenure leading the Tucson Symphony Orchestra, Blakeman was the chief operating officer of the Nashville Symphony Orchestra, where he worked for 15 years. He brings vast knowledge and direct experience overseeing large-scale construction projects, building programs and raising philanthropic support.   “Serving as the Marilynn and Carl Thoma Executive Director for The McKnight Center is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create programs, productions and experiences for a spectacular new first-class center at a university with a heart for the arts,” said Blakeman. “The support for the center is incredible as underscored by the remarkable gifts from several individuals, including Billie and Ross McKnight and the Thomas. They have given a wonderful gift, and I am eager to do my part to ensure The McKnight Center becomes a vital part of OSU, Stillwater and beyond." Blakeman also noted one added benefit — his new position provides a way for him and his family to return home to Oklahoma. "My love for the performing arts was born in Oklahoma through its rich musical heritage. I am honored that this new position will allow me to help celebrate and elevate that tradition," said Blakeman, a native of Moore, Oklahoma. Marilynn and Carl Thoma Hargis praised the Thomas for their gift, which made possible the hiring of an executive director of Blakeman’s caliber. "We are deeply grateful to the Thomas for their generous and visionary gift. Marilynn and Carl are distinguished art patrons who know from their own experiences how the arts truly enrich lives.” The Thomas are noted philanthropists and art collectors. After successful careers in brand management and private equity, they established the Carl & Marilynn Thoma Foundation in 1986 to fulfill their passion for philanthropy.  “Marilynn and I believe in the power of the arts to connect people and enrich learning,” commented Carl Thoma. “When we heard about The McKnight Center and the innovative vision driving its programming, we wanted to get involved. Supporting this position and bringing in a prestigious leader like Mark was critical to us. We are confident Mark will bring the inspirational leadership necessary to create a robust, invigorating center. We are excited about the future of The McKnight Center, which will enrich the university and community, and will have far-reaching impact on a national level." The Thomas added that the McKnights’ $25 million gift to create the programming endowment will ensure world-class programming, musicians and artists come to Stillwater. “Both Oklahoma State University and Oklahoma are so fortunate for Billie and Ross’ leadership in making the center possible.” Mark Blakeman As the Marilynn and Carl Thoma Executive Director, Blakeman will work with the McKnight Foundation Board of Trustees and provide strategic direction and oversight to The McKnight Center. His scope of responsibility will include branding and institutional visibility, revenue enhancement, strategic planning, outreach, governance and financial management. One of his first tasks is to schedule the inaugural season and grand opening of The McKnight Center, which will include interfacing with the New York Philharmonic to develop and implement its residency partnership that was announced last September. It will be the first time in more than 30 years that the internationally celebrated organization will perform in Oklahoma. In addition to multiple New York Philharmonic performances at The McKnight Center, the residency partnership will include educational opportunities for OSU students with Philharmonic musicians and management such as masterclasses, audition workshops and lectures. The 93,000-square-foot McKnight Center is expected to open in October 2019. It will stand prominently along the southwest corner of University Avenue and Hester Street within walking distance of the Student Union, the Atherton Hotel and the ConocoPhillips OSU Alumni Center. For more information on The McKnight Center, visit: IMAGES:
Fri, 03 Mar 2017 12:20:00 -0600
OSU Fire Protection and Safety Engineering Technology program partners with university in China
Oklahoma State University College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology’s Fire Protection and Safety Engineering Technology (FPSET) program has established a joint degree between OSU and Southwest Jiaotong University in China. A signing ceremony with the presidents and deans of both universities will take place in Chengdu, China, in April. “This is a historical moment for FPSET,” said Sam Wang, Ph.D., P.E. and FPSET program director. “This program will not only bring our graduates to a very large, emerging market, but it will also solidify OSU’s stature and leadership around the world.” The new joint degree program will begin in fall 2017 with up to 60 high-quality Chinese engineering students who will study math, physics, chemistry and engineering science in China. Students are expected to arrive on OSU’s Stillwater campus between the years of 2018 and 2020, where they will enroll in the FPSET program to finish all major courses. While in Oklahoma, they will utilize the university’s world-class fire labs and become alumni of the nation’s leading fire safety program. Participating students will graduate with two bachelor’s degree, one from OSU and one from Southwest Jiaotong University. “Our new partnership with Southwest Jiaotung University and the Chinese Education Ministry demonstrates the global reach of OSU’s expertise and its impact on the world,” said Paul Tikalsky, dean of the College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology. This venture highlights CEAT’s mission to expand its international impact and elevate the safety of industries around the world.
Mon, 06 Mar 2017 14:19:23 -0600
OSU teams place in regional construction competition
Teams from Oklahoma State University placed in the top three in four different categories at the recent Associated Schools of Construction (ASC) annual student competition held in Dallas. The regional contest started locally at all eleven universities that competed. Each team was given a 16-hour work period on their home campus that allowed them to produce estimates, schedules, site specific logistics and safety plans that were included in their competition proposals. The design/build teams also created a building design. The teams then traveled to Dallas and presented their projects to sponsors. This year’s sponsors included JE Dunn Construction for design/build competition, McCarthy Construction for the heavy civil competition, and Beatty Construction for the commercial building competition. “The orange shined bright in Dallas at the Region 5 ASC competition,” said Heather Yates, associate professor in construction management technology and ASC Region 5 director and program coordinator. “We had a number of OSU alumni in the room for the awards banquet, and it was fun to share the success of the students and program with them. It was a great night to be a Cowboy.” Eighteen OSU students, two from architecture and the rest from construction management technology, helped their teams win an award. The OSU teams brought home award plaques in all three categories in which they competed. Results: First place: Design/Build Team Camerson Patterson, ARCH, Georgetown, Texas Eric Horrman, ARCH, Edmond, OK Charles Gorth, CMT, Enid, OK Blake Larson, CMT, Jenks, OK Kalayna Bowman, CMT, Moore, OK Stephen Eastham, CMT, Dewey, OK Mark Pruitt, coach, CMT faculty Second place: Heavy Civil Team Brooks Thompson, CMT, Ada, OK Will Little, CMT, Oklahoma City, OK Reese Layton, CMT, Plano, Texas D.J. Niebrugge, CMT, Edmond, OK Tucker Fox, CMT Edmond, OK Miguel Reyna, CMT, Mexico City, Mexico Rachel Mosier, coach, CMT faculty Third place: Commercial Team Chis Lily, CMT, Jenks, OK Andrew Malamut, CMT, Flower Mound, Texas Taylor West, CMT, Stillwater, OK Brit Jordan, CMT, Flower Mound, Texas Curren Noel, CMT, The Woodlands, Texas A.J. Ruark, CMT, Stillwater, OK Lantz Holtzhower, coach, CMT faculty Stephen Eastham and Cameron Patterson also won second and third, respectively, in the design/build speaker category.  OSU team coaches included Mark Pruitt for the design/build team, Rachel Mosier for the heavy civil team, and Lantz Holtzhower for the commercial team.  Richard Pratt, from Houston, served as an alternate for the heavy civil team.
Thu, 02 Mar 2017 13:46:22 -0600