Three graduate students take home awards after timed thesis presentations
A biology graduate student who is writing a thesis on wolf pack success after growing fascinated with the wolves she spotted near her rural Sparta home, won both the People’s Choice award and first place in Wednesday, Feb. 13, 3-Minute Thesis competition.
The annual competition challenges graduate students to distill the complexities of their academic research into only a three-minute explanation in front of an audience and panel of judges from UWL and the La Crosse community.
Theresa Simpson, who explored factors behind wolf pack success, won the competition. Logan Keding, Biology, was first runner up and Katelyn De Starkey, Physical Therapy, was second runner up. All winners earned scholarships.
Simpson says distilling years of research into a few minutes is a great practice every thesis-writing graduate student should do. It challenges one to think critically about the core of their work, she says. It took her three days to get a page and a half of notes down to just one index card. “I have expansive research, so it is hard to winnow it down and leave parts out,” she notes.
She is very grateful for the latitude offered by UWL’s Biology Department to pursue her specific area of study on wolf colonization. Her work examines pack success based on the time of colonization and territory habitat. She found the first wolves to colonize an area chose the best habitat and were the most successful as a pack. Better understanding wolf habitat is important for wolf management as humans continue to co-exist with wolves. This co-existence is a challenge faced by many states in the U.S. — now and throughout recent history.
“I chose to do my master’s at UWL because I could design my own masters,” says Simpson. “This allowed me to take the necessary geography classes that would enable me to perform the habitat analyses needed.”
The 3MT competition highlights the diversity of UWL’s graduate programs. UWL offers more than 30 graduate degrees and certificates in areas from science to health and wellness to business and management. Offerings include on-campus programs and online and hybrid programs. Learn more about UWL graduate school programs.