November 12, 2013

Campus Voices: Karen Butler-Purry

Karen Butler-Purry

Karen Butler-Purry

Meet Karen Butler-Purry: Karen Butler-Purry is Associate Provost for Graduate and Professional Studies and professor of electrical and computer engineering at Texas A&M. She has served at all faculty levels since her initial appointment with the university as visiting assistant professor of electrical engineering in 1994.

Texas A&M’s 3-Minute Thesis Final Competition Planned For 5:30 p.m., Nov. 21, in MSC 2300C

The 3-Minute Thesis Competition provides a great opportunity for a high-impact learning experience to support Aggies Commit, the University-wide quality enhancement plan. The 3-Minute Thesis Competition is a research communication competition developed by The University of Queensland (UQ) in Australia. Open to M.S. and Ph.D. students, this competition focuses on excellence in effective communication, challenging our graduate students to translate key research results and their significance to lay audiences. The format is similar to that first popularized by Ted Talks:  An engaging idea presented concisely (but in just 3 minutes) and in non-technical language by an excellent speaker. Furthermore, the preparatory informational seminars offer students an opportunity to practice and develop their presentation skills.

What The Competition Says About Our Graduate Students And The Graduate Community

We Americans thrive on competition, don’t we? Formatting these presentations as a competition, complete with a “People’s Choice” winner to be selected by the audience, has generated lots of interest among our graduate students and faculty. Texas A&M student researchers are passionate about their work, but not everyone is skilled at translating the technical aspects of their work into everyday language the public can appreciate. Our five finalists will represent graduate students with the very best communication skills, the cream of the crop as judged in two preliminary rounds of competition this week. Their presentations and enthusiasm will highlight some of the cutting-edge research performed by our 10,000 graduate students and their faculty mentors here at Texas A&M.

Five Students Emerge From The Preliminary Competition 

We have 26 students competing in the preliminary competition from a wide variety of disciplines, including students from the Colleges of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Engineering, Education, Geoscience, Liberal Arts and Science. This represents a great turnout for the program’s first year.  From the preliminary competition, five students will be selected to compete in the final Texas A&M 3-Minute Thesis Competition on Nov. 21. All other preliminary competitors will be exhibiting posters of their work in the same room before and after the finals competition. The winner of the final competition will advance to represent Texas A&M at a regional 3-Minute Thesis Competition to be held at the Conference for Southern Graduate Schools in San Antonio in February 2014.  This overall winner, a runner-up and the People’s Choice winner will also receive cash prizes.

Outstanding Faculty Judges

A panel of five distinguished faculty, selected for their remarkable achievements and recognition in their disciplines, along with the president of our Graduate Student Council, Brittany Bounds, will serve as judges for the final Texas A&M 3-Minute Thesis Final Competition. Confirmed judges  include Christine Ehlig-Economides, professor and A.B. Stevens Endowed Chair in petroleum engineering;  Joanne Lupton, distinguished professor, Regents professor, University Faculty Fellow and William W. Allen Endowed Chair in nutrition and food science; and Joe Feagin, Ella C. McFadden professor in sociology and  a Pulitzer Prize nominee.

We welcome any and all interested undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, staff and community members to watch the event and help select the People’s Choice winner. If you plan to attend the final competition, please RSVP. RSVP is not required but appreciated in assisting us with our planning.

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