UF Agricultural and Biological Engineering doctoral student Thiago Onofre was a finalist in the top eight students at the regional Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition at the 47th Annual Meeting of the Conference of Southern Graduate Schools (CSGS) in Fayetteville, Arkansas on February 24, 2018.
The 3MT competition is a research communication contest that challenges students to discuss their thesis topic in a three-minute presentation. This contest was created to help students gain experience in academic, presentation and research communications skills. This contest also helps students relate and discuss their research with non-academic audiences.
“I think that the mission of the 3MT is to help students to improve communication skills and to disseminate knowledge and build a bridge between graduate school and society,” Thiago said.
Thiago placed first in the Department of Agricultural and Biological Engineering’s Three Minute Thesis competition before moving on to the campus-wide contest at the University of Florida where he placed first overall. After his first-place win at the university-level, he moved on the regional competition at CSGS.
“I am extremely proud to represent the AgroClimate research group in the Agricultural and Biological Department and the University of Florida at the regional 3MT competition,” Thiago said. “It was the first time a candidate from our school went to the finals and I did my best.”
Thiago’s presentation, titled A Wireless Sensor Network for a Strawberry Disease Warning System, focuses on using WiFi networks along with agricultural sensors and disease algorithms in order to instantaneously observe weather conditions, which helps farmers make more informed decisions while also contributing to environmental sustainability.
This technology allows sensors to collect weather data in real time, send this data over the Internet, combine the data with the disease risk algorithms, and provide these results to an advisory system that notifies farmers when disease risk is too high. This helps farmers to know precisely when to apply disease preventions efforts and avoid unnecessary chemical spraying.
The Conference of Southern Graduate Schools is an organization of over 200 graduate schools of fifteen states of the southern region of the United States. Forty-seven different universities across the south sent their students to the regional 3MT competition.
“During the CSGS meeting, I had the chance to attend to several talks and to meet deans from different universities. I am amazed with the deans’ leadership skills as well as their welcoming and warm personalities,” Thiago said.
Thiago will present again in the 3MT competition at the first Conference of Florida Graduate Schools that will be held at Florida State University on April 20, 2018.