Nicholls to host coastal research communication competition

THIBODAUX, La. — Nicholls State University will host a science communication competition to advance graduate and undergraduate research on Louisiana’s most pressing coastal issues.

Titled Coastal Connections and sponsored by Louisiana Sea Grant, the public competition challenges students to concisely communicate their research. Three winners will receive a $500 travel award to attend a conference that aligns with their research.

Students submitted their research earlier this month, and a panel at Louisiana Sea Grant selected 11 finalists to publicly present their research at 4 p.m. on April 3 in the Mardi Gras Suite of the Bollinger Memorial Student Union. But there’s a catch. The students will have just three minutes to explain their research and can use no more than two static slides.

“This is an excellent opportunity for our students to not only get experience in communicating their research concisely but also for them to compete for the chance to expand their knowledge and meet scientists from all over the world,” said Nicholls biology assistant professor, Dr. Aimee Hollander. “Being able to communicate science and our research to the general public is increasingly important in this political climate because it can impact public policy.”

The finalists are Alexa Ballinger, Emily Bodin, Justin Brockmann, Kristen Chatelain, Richard Grabert, Kellyn LaCour-Conant, Ashleigh Lambiotte, Megan Nepshinsky, Drew Prejean, Alexis Rixner and Seth van Dexter.

A modified version of the Three Minute Thesis, the competition advances the academic and communication skills and encourages students to think about how they can effectively explain their research in layman’s terms.

Research will focus specifically on the impact coastal erosion has had on the bayou region. Louisiana has lost nearly 1,900 square miles of coastal islands and wetlands since the 1930s due to a variety of factors.

The three judges for the final competition are Dr. Bruce Murphy, Nicholls president; Craig McClain, director of the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium; and Simone Maloz, director of Restore or Retreat.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 22, 2016

CONTACT: Jacob Batte, Media Relations and Publications Coordinator, 985.448.4141 or jacob.batte@nicholls.edu