Meet our 2022-23 3MT finalists: Abigail Schulte
November 09, 2022 - by Sarah Igram
Abigail Schulte is a first-year graduate student in Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering. She is one of eight finalists for Iowa State's 2022 Three Minute Thesis competition. You can watch Abigail's presentation, "Optimizing solid-state anaerobic digestion of prairie grass and dairy manure," on Thursday, Nov. 10.
Q: What brought you to Iowa State?
A: Honestly, Iowa State won a basketball game. My final two schools for my undergraduate studies were Iowa State and Kansas State, and they played each other in the 2019 Big 12 Tournament in Kansas City. I was there and jokingly said that whoever won would get me as a student. Iowa State won, and here I am. I mean, Iowa State also has a great Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering department where I felt like I would succeed with professors and classes that interested me, but the basketball story is more fun.
Q: Describe your research in three sentences or less.
A: I'm currently developing a lab-scale prototype that will enable me to test the optimum ratio of dairy manure to prairie grass in a high solids anaerobic digester. This ratio will produce the highest quantity and quality of methane that can be used to power our homes with natural gas that is renewable and overall better for the environment.
Q: What do you hope to gain from Three Minute Thesis?
A: Three Minute Thesis allows for me to strengthen my scientific communication skills. I'm considering going into science journalism, so being able to efficiently and effectively convey what I'm currently researching is an important skill that I'm currently refining. It also gives me a chance to practice my public speaking skills and utilize a different form of speaking aid than I'm used to.
Q: Share a fun fact about yourself.
A: I am currently in the process of learning all the words to "We Didn't Start the Fire" by Billy Joel.
Founded at the University of Queensland, Three Minute Thesis (3MT) challenges graduate students to present their research to a non-specialist audience in three minutes or less. Iowa State's eight finalists will compete in our final competition on Nov. 10 at 2 p.m. You can watch a livestream of the event on the Graduate College's Facebook page.