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Student Receives Graduate Student Showcase Award

Department of Plant Sciences master’s student Kutay Yilmaz won the People’s Choice Award for Best Display for his tabletop display in the NDSU Graduate Student Showcase held in conjunction with the Three Minute Thesis Competition.

February 27, 2020

North Dakota State University held its sixth annual Three Minute Thesis (3MT) Competition and Graduate Student Showcase on February 20, 2020 in the Memorial Union. The event was hosted by the College of Graduate and Interdisciplinary Studies and highlighted graduate student research. A thesis or dissertation would typically take nine hours to present, but competitors in the 3MT were given just three minutes to present their research in terms anyone can understand. Graduate students also presented posters and gave demonstrations of their work in the Graduate Student Showcase.

Plant Sciences master’s student Kutay Yilmaz won the Graduate Student Showcase People’s Choice Award for Best Display for his tabletop display, Sorghum: A Nutritious New Edible Grain in North Dakota. He also gave a 3MT presentation in the preliminary round titled Grain Sorghum is Becoming a New Crop in North Dakota. He is advised by Professor Burton Johnson.

At his table display, Kutay provided information on what sorghum is and why it is important, its use as an alternative crop, his research data, and a comparison of corn and ancient grains (quinoa, millet, buckwheat) with sorghum. He also gave visitors to his table an informational brochure and seed samples, and he served flavored snacks made with sorghum, including popped sorghum.

Five more graduate students from the Department of Plant Sciences also presented their research in the Three Minute Thesis preliminary round or in the Graduate Research Showcase.

  • Cereal Science doctoral student Ramnarain Ramakrishna presented Beyond Beer: Barley as a Potential Climate-resilient Functional Food. He is advised by Kalidas Shetty, professor.
  • Cereal Science doctoral student Supun Fernando presented “Spilling the Beans” on Milling the Beans. He is advised by Frank Manthey, professor.
  • Plant Sciences doctoral student Andrej Svyantek presented Stripping Naked, Dropping Acid, and a Whole Lotta Love: Three Years in North Dakota Vineyards. He is advised by Harlene Hatterman-Valenti, professor.
  • Plant Sciences master’s student Jesse Puka-Beals presented Using Biodegradable Mulches for Managing Weeds. He is advised by Greta Gramig, associate professor.
  • Plant Sciences doctoral student Pradeepika Chintha presented a poster, Biotransformation of Sweet Potato Bioactives Using Beneficial Lactic Acid Bacteria for Health Benefits. She is advised by Shetty.

Faculty, community members and graduate student representatives served as judges for the competition. Cash prizes were awarded to the winners of the 3MT preliminary and final rounds and the showcase.

The overall 3MT winner was pharmaceutical sciences doctoral student Riddhi Trivedi. She will advance to the regional competition in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Read more at

Author: Kamie Beeson, 701-231-7123,
Editor: Karen Hertsgaard, 701-231-5384,

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