PSS’s Delaney Foster wins Texas Tech Three Minute Thesis competition
By: Norman Martin
Delaney Foster, a master's student from Texas Tech University's Department of Plant and Soil Science, won first place honors on Tuesday (Oct. 29) at the university's fifth annual Three Minute Thesis competition.
The event, which featured the academic work of 45 presenters, was designed to cultivate graduate students' academic, presentation and research communication skills by allowing them to explain their thesis or dissertation to a non-specialist audience in three minutes or less and using only one, static PowerPoint slide.
The title of Foster's presentation was "Effective Tank Mix Partners with Isoxaflutole in Cotton," which detailed how utilizing the herbicide isoxaflutole in HPPD tolerant cotton systems affects crop tolerance and weed control.
"The 3MT competition is a fast-paced and fun event that allows our students to share their research with a variety of people, both in academia and the community at large," added Cari Carter, 3MT coordinator and a Fellowship/Scholarship Administrator with Tech's Graduate School. "This event helps students refine public speaking skills, and how to be concise and get their point across in just three minutes."
Foster, who is a native of Perry, Georgia, currently serves as a graduate research assistant in weed science in Tech's Department of Plant and Soil Science. Prior to that she worked as a biological research and development intern with Syngenta, a biotechnology company that produces agrochemicals and seeds and is based in Basel, Switzerland. She was also an undergraduate research assistant at the University of Georgia. Foster received her bachelor's degree in agriculture from Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in Tifton, Georgia (2018).
"It was one of the harder graduate contests I've ever competed in," Foster said. "Being able to take your research and really cut it down to three minutes and make it so that anyone, not just in the agriculture or plant soil science industries, can understand it was really, really difficult. I don't ever think about defining a weed because everyone in my industry knows what a weed is. But the general public might not actually understand just how bad weeds are and how much they hurt crop yields. Being able to explain that was definitely really difficult, and I had to take a step back and prepare for that."
Foster managed to overcome any difficulties explaining her research. She not only came in first place in the competition, but she also was selected as the People's Choice winner. "It was a great feeling, knowing that everyone in the room, people who weren't in my profession or plant and soil science or even in agriculture, in general, were really interested in what I was doing," Foster said.
Her advisor is Peter Dotray, the Rockwell Chair of Weed Science with Tech's Department of Plant and Soil Science with a joint appointment with Texas A&M Agrilife Research & Extension Service. Dotray's primary research focus since joining the university in 1993, has been to carry out research on effective, profitable, and sustainable weed management in crops grown on the Texas High Plains.
3MT officials noted that six heats were held in the morning of the event, with the top two students from each heat competing in an afternoon final held in Tech's Student Union Building. Participants were evaluated on their ability to provide judges with a clear understanding of their research topic and its background, significance and outcomes, as well as the engagement and enthusiasm of their presentation.
CONTACT: Peter Dotray, Rockwell Chair of Weed Science - Joint Appointment with Texas A&M Agrilife Research & Extension Service, Department of Plant and Soil Science, Texas Tech University at (806) 834-3685 or email@example.com