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Education Ph.D. Candidate Wins ODU’s Third Annual 3-Minute Thesis Competition

By Joe Garvey

Doctoral candidate Janeen Perry-Campbell won the third annual 3-Minute Thesis (3MT®) Competition sponsored by Old Dominion University's Graduate School on Thursday night at the University Theatre.

Perry-Campbell, a Ph.D. candidate in education (curriculum and instruction), was one of nine competitors from five of the University's six academic colleges. She won $1,000 and will represent ODU at a regional competition hosted by the Council of Southern Graduate Schools in March in Birmingham, Ala.

Students had three minutes to present their scholarship in such a way that a general audience would understand and appreciate its importance and achievement.

"For me, this is one of the most exciting events we do all year," said Robert Wojtowicz, dean of the Graduate School.

Perry-Campbell's topic was "Black Girls in 3D."

Perry-Campbell, an assistant principal at Churchland Middle School, said she often sees black girls stereotyped as "defiant, disruptive and disrespectful," pointing out that black girls are six times more likely to receive a referral than white girls, receive harsher consequences and are often misidentified as needing special education services.

"This glaring gap leads to resilient, strong black girls being led down the dreaded school-to-prison pipeline," said Perry-Campbell, whose faculty mentor is Kristine Sunday.

Her research focuses on what teachers are doing to defuse behaviors and to educate them "that no matter what your background is, you make a conscious effort to find value and learn more about others' backgrounds and cultures."

She said the challenge is changing mindsets.

"What if we view black girls in 3D as determined, driven and destined for success?" she asked.

Julia Morris, also a Ph.D. education candidate in curriculum and instruction, won the $750 second prize for her research titled: "'I Need Football for School': Student-Athlete Literacy as a Classroom Playbook." Her faculty mentors are Tom Bean and Judith Dunkerly-Bean.

Citing statistics that show black student-athletes graduate at a rate less than 30% compared to white counterparts, her research focuses on faculty impediments to student-athlete success.

She conducted a case study of five black student-athletes "who shared that the discrimination they faced in classrooms has not only made them unsuccessful, but even uncomfortable to be there."

Courtney Klepac, a doctoral candidate in ecological sciences, won the $500 People's Choice award, which was voted on by the audience. Her topic was "At the Tipping Point: Warming Oceans Exceed Upper Temperature Limits of Tolerant Corals." Her faculty mentor is Dan Barshis.

Drawing a comparison with elite athletes who, despite intense training, are unable to complete a 135-mile run in the heat of Death Valley, she said her research is the first to show that strong corals she attempted to "train" to strengthen them against ocean warming "may not be able to run the race of climate change."

Judges for the competition were Lee Entsminger, president of Entsminger Consulting, LLC, vice chairman of WHRO's media board of directors and a member of advisory boards at ODU's College of Sciences and Strome College of Business; Mekbib Gemeda, vice president of diversity and inclusion at Eastern Virginia Medical School; and Karen Rudd, manager of Norfolk Arts for the City of Norfolk. Barbara Hamm Lee, executive producer and host of WHRV's "Another View," served as emcee.

The other competitors and the titles of their topics were: Jafar Alabdullah, Ph.D., health services research (The Future of Delivering Dental Care Through the Screen); Mahesh Banda, Ph.D., engineering - mechanical engineering (Lighter But Stronger); Melissa Colangelo, M.S., psychology (With a Little Help from My Friends: The Influences of Social Networks); Lyzzie Golliher, M.F.A., creative writing (Always a Reader, Now a Writer: My Journey Writing Fantasy for Young Adults); David Tortolini, M.A., humanities (Not Your Cup of Tea); and Nilanga Wickramaarachchi, Ph.D., physics (Looking at Matter at the Smallest Scale).

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