3MT Winner Spotlight | Jorden Welker

Jorden Welker

"Since I went to a large state school for undergrad, I didn’t get the experience there that I got at Hood College. I much preferred my time at Hood. I felt that I learned much more and had a much better experience with the smaller class sizes."

Jorden Welker, Biomedical Science M.S.

Program

  • Biomedical Science (M.S.)

Department

  • Biology

Hood’s 6th annual Three-Minute Thesis (3MT) competition is an internationally recognized event in which graduate students use one slide and three minutes to present their chosen research topic.

Jorden Welker, a current graduate student in Hood College's biomedical science program, won the People's Choice Award for her talk, "Sperm: Make Babies or Vehicles of Destruction?" Outside of Hood, Jorden is a Research Associate II for Leidos Biomedical in the Aids and Cancer Virus Program (ACVP). Jorden also holds a B.S. in genetics from Iowa State University. Jorden will be graduating from Hood in May 2022.

We spoke with Jorden to get some insight on why she chose to compete in Hood’s 3MT and how she feels about the opportunity to take her talk to the next level.

Why did you choose Hood College and the program you are in?

I first heard about Hood College at my first full-time job at a genetics company. There were many people there who were in the biomedical science program at Hood, and I asked for their opinions on the program.

When I got a job at Leidos, I was fortunate they offered tuition assistance, so I decided I could take a few classes and quit if I didn’t enjoy it. However, when I made that decision, I also decided I wanted to get everything I could out of furthering my education, so I was very vocal in my classes at answering and asking questions.

I found that I was learning much better that way and I had a good relationship with all my professors because they understood how hard I was working. Since I went to a large state school for undergrad, I didn’t get the experience there that I got at Hood College. I much preferred my time at Hood. I felt that I learned much more and had a much better experience with the smaller class sizes.

Why did you pick to speak about your specific topic?

When I started my grant proposal, I’m not ashamed to say I was extremely lost. I spent one weekend reading about 25 scientific papers to find a topic that was interesting to me. I originally wanted to do something that geared more towards women’s health, but I read one paper on sperm and HPV infections. It was so interesting in that it’s not a hugely researched topic, so I ended up picking that as my topic.

What did you enjoy the most about the 3MT event and how did you prep for it?

When I first decided to sign up for the Three-Minute Thesis, I figured that I already did an hour-long grant defense, so I could talk about it for three minutes. At my grant defense, I asked my two readers to give me any advice on participating in the Three-Minute Thesis. I also looked at the Hood 3MT website and all the past winners’ videos on YouTube to get a sense of the competition. I also really wanted a catchy slide that wasn’t extremely technical that would grab the audience.

Any other information/fun facts that you would like to add?

I reserved a room in the library because I don’t have the best Internet connection at home. However, when I got to the library, I couldn’t sign into the Wi-Fi for some reason. I called the library to ask for help and a very nice woman, Emily Belknap, came to help me. She ended up watching the Three-Minute Thesis competition and voting for me. That really meant a lot to me.

Inspired by Jorden’s story and ready to #GOFURTHER in your career? Learn more about Hood College's graduate programs, including the master’s in biomedical science by clicking here.