UNI’s 2022 3MT(R) winner to compete in regional competition

UNI’s 2022 3MT(R) winner to compete in regional competition

Whitman Cler /

On November 11, 2022, athletic training student Kate Hermsen won first place in the UNI Graduate College’s Three-Minute Thesis ® Competition. The competition was created by the University of Queensland to challenge graduate students to summarize their research to an audience in three minutes or less. She will represent UNI at the 3MT® regional competition hosted by the Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools on March 31, 2023 in Chicago.

Her research presentation was entitled “Changes in Brain Oxygenation of Rugby Players with Mild Traumatic Brain Injury During Match Play.” She attempts to prove that if functional near-infrared spectroscopy could accurately detect the changes in brain hemodynamics after mild traumatic brain injury, it would allow athletic trainers and other healthcare professionals to provide a more concrete diagnosis for the patient.

Hermsen is from Jesup, Iowa. While an undergraduate at UNI, Hermsen majored in athletic training and rehabilitation and minored in psychology. She enrolled in the graduate program because “I really loved learning from the professors in my program. You can tell they’re passionate about their fielding and about teaching.”

Hermsen began her research project when her advisor, Dr. Mark Hecimovich, was conducting research using the King-Devick eye tracking test and needed voluntary research assistants. “I've always been interested in concussions and brain injuries, so it was something that I immediately wanted to work on,” said Hermsen. 

She said that during data collection “I thought it was absolutely fascinating seeing how the brain hemodynamics change in real time as I'm putting the subjects through the test.” After having completed much of her research, Hermsen knew enough about her project to summarize it to others. 3MT® was the perfect opportunity to share her work. 

Hermsen decided to compete in 3MT® because she likes competition and enjoys sharing knowledge. She had rich experience with public speaking, having coached high school athletics for six years and participated in 4-H, doing presentations at the Cattle Congress and Iowa State Fair. An opportunity for competition centered on her graduate research was even more enthralling. 

Hermsen said that 3MT® pushed her to improve her public speaking skills by memorizing her presentation and condensing technical information into a three-minute presentation. 

She is optimistic about the 3MT® regional competition and thinks it will be a positive experience. “I'm always excited to speak about my research to people who want to listen because it's something I'm really passionate about.”

Post-graduation, Hermsen has accepted a job with the Cedar Valley Medical Specialists as Hudson High School's athletic trainer.