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Agricultural Education Doctoral Student Places in OSU 3-Minute Thesis Competition

Thursday, October 29, 2020


STILLWATER, Okla. – Jessica Toombs, agricultural education Ph.D. candidate places second in her heat of Oklahoma State University’s Three-Minute Thesis Competition held October 19.


The 3MT® Competition is a research communication competition that challenges research degree students to present a compelling oration on their thesis or dissertation topic and its significance in just three minutes using just one static slide.


“The 3MT competition is a great opportunity for graduate students to learn about communicating their research clearly and concisely,” said Toombs. “I would encourage all students to compete with their dissertation, thesis, or formal report projects.”


The competition is open to all OSU graduate students, and topic categories include: Biological Sciences, Humanities, Physical Sciences and Technology, Social Sciences, Education, or Biomedical Sciences. 


Toombs’ research is focused on agricultural education and her video is titled Supporting Teacher to Prepare Students in Rural Oklahoma. 


“My dissertation uses mixed methods to describe the teacher self-efficacy and professional development needs of first-year agricultural education teachers across certification pathways,” Toombs said. “Quantitative self-report data will be further explained through observational, interview, and artifact qualitative data. The findings and conclusions of this research will be used to develop support for novice ag teachers in the state,” Toombs added. 


Toombs’ research approach uses a combination of both number-based research, which is called quantitative data, and an interpretive, naturalistic approach, called qualitative data when evaluating her subject matter.


“I collected quantitative data through a self-report survey,” Toombs said. “That data is further explained by qualitative methods. I used a case study including traditionally and alternatively certified first-year agricultural education teachers with observation, interview, and artifact data. Quantitative and qualitative data will be merged to describe the teacher self-efficacy and professional development needs of novice agricultural education teachers.”


Toombs is originally from Northwest Missouri where she grew up on a small family farm and was active in FFA. She earned her bachelor’s in agricultural education from the University of Missouri, then taught agricultural education at the Sikeston Career and Technology Center in Sikeston,Missouri for seven years. 


While teaching agricultural education, Toombs’ earned her master’s degree in agricultural education from OSU through the online program. She is currently an agricultural education Ph.D. candidate at OSU and is expected to graduate in spring 2021.


“I feel very fortunate to study under the great mentorship of the agricultural education faculty at Oklahoma State University,” Toombs said. “Dr. Terry, Dr. Ramsey, and Dr. Robinson have been immensely supportive and encouraging during my time here.”  


After graduation, Toombs plans to pursue a faculty position in agricultural education and hopes to work with both preservice and newly certified agricultural education teachers.


The OSU Department of Agricultural Education, Communications and Leadership in the Ferguson College of Agriculture is dedicated to developing well-rounded agricultural professionals, educators, communicators and leaders through academic, research and extension and outreach efforts. Learn more at



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