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Rachel Phinney wins Boise State 3 minute thesis competition and places 2nd at state competition

Presenter speaks at 3MT competition
Three Minute Thesis Statewide Competition, JUMP Building, Graduate College, Photo by Madison Park

Rachel Phinney, a graduate research assistant in the CAHL, won the Boise State 3-minute-thesis (3MT) competition on February 5th. Phinney and 16 other masters and doctoral students were challenged to present their thesis work to a lay audience in only three minutes, and were judged on communication, comprehension, and engagement.

Phinney’s first place award qualified her for the statewide 3MT, held on February 19th in downtown Boise. The statewide competition included the top four awardees from Boise State, Idaho State, and University of Idaho. Phinney received the 2nd place award.

Phinney presented on agricultural workplace compliance with the Worker Protection Standard (WPS), the primary federal regulation aimed at reducing pesticide exposure among farmworkers. In her thesis work, she aims to determine the extent to which agricultural employers are complying with the WPS in Idaho, with goals to increase awareness and improve compliance with the WPS, but also to improve the health and safety of farmworkers. Her talk concentrated on the vulnerability of the farmworking population  – specifically the fact that their work places them at a high risk for pesticide exposure.

Winners pose with Dean
Dean Vacha-Haase, Rachel Phinney (2nd place) and Dylan Gomes (3rd place), Photo by Madison Park

The 3MT was a great opportunity to practice public speaking, but it also served as a platform for Phinney’s research to be heard. “Farmworkers are an understudied and underserved population, so bringing my research topic into as many conversations as possible – raising awareness around the issue – is important and meaningful in itself,” said Phinney.

After receiving the top prize at the Boise State 3MT, Phinney was featured on Boise State Public Radio’s Idaho MattersSee the full story and listen to the segment here.

In March, she will compete at the Western Association of Graduate Schools (WAGS) Three Minute Thesis competition in Albuquerque, New Mexico.