Virginia Tech® home


This photo shows five young women holding certificates and smiling at the camera.

First Faculty Nutshell Talks Draw Crowd September 7

What could possibly be more fun than the Center for Communicating Science’s annual graduate student presentation competition, the Nutshell Games?  The first-ever Faculty Nutshell Talks, held September 7 at the Moss Arts Center, featured 16 courageous and groundbreaking faculty speakers. Challenged to explain their research in a mere 90 seconds, the faculty members presented to a public audience and a panel of judges.

Winners of the inaugural event were Brett Jones, Molly Wilkens-Reed, Satoru Emori, Matt Camden, and Tammy Trimble. 

The fun and fast-paced presentation competition allowed the audience to learn about a wide variety of research projects and the participants to compete for prizes of professional development funding. While five winners were announced at the conclusion of the event, a sixth winner will be selected based on the highest number of views of the video recordings of the talks.

This first rendition of what we hope will become an annual event featured speakers representing six of Virginia Tech’s colleges, University Libraries, and the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute. Presented by Virginia Tech’s Center for Communicating Science, the event was supported by the Office of Research and Innovation and by Faculty Affairs. 

The event’s distinguished panel of judges included Brady Alexander, Blacksburg 7th grader; Cyril Clarke, Virginia Tech provost; Shania Clinedinst, Graduate School diversity initiatives support specialist; Melissa Nelson, VT Board of Visitors member; Nolan Schmidt, Chief Strategy Officer at Li Industries, Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center; Daniel Smith, Presidential Postdoctoral Fellow; and Tracy Vosburgh, vice president of Communications and Marketing.

Presenters included

  • Tina Witcher, Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, My Job Is a Wreck! Using Crash Data to Save Lives
  • Chreston Miller, University Libraries, Does the Time of Day Matter? Identifying Cyberbullying in Social Media
  • Lina Ni, School of Neuroscience, How Do Animals Sense Temperature?
  • Florian Zach, Department of Hospitality & Tourism Management, Check-in to Success: Creating Value Through Competition
  • Satoru Emori, Department of Physics, Flipping Magnets
  • Molly Wilkens-Reed, School of Performing Arts, The Virginia Tech String Project: Building Community in Southwest Virginia Through the Gift of Music 
  • Rachelle Kuehl, Center for Rural Education/School of Education, Stories Matter: Leveraging the Power of Reading to Build Empathy Across Racial Divides
  • Emily Mevers, Department of Chemistry, Developing Drugs from the Soil in Our Backyard
  • Tammy Trimble, Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, Stop in the Name of the Law! Preparing Law Enforcement for Automated Vehicles
  • Katheryn Parraga-Estrada, Virginia Seafood Agricultural Research and Extension Center, Eat Blue Catfish and Save the Chesapeake Bay
  • Sweta Baniya, Department of English, Rhetoric of Disaster 
  • Brett Jones, School of Education, Motivating Students to Engage in Learning
  • Jamie L. Stewart, Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, Ewe Can Do It: Predicting the Onset of Labor in Pregnant Sheep
  • Matthew Camden, Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, Moving Research to Practice: Teaching Teens How to Share the Road with Trucks
  • Justin Perkinson, School of Performing Arts, Immersive Underwater Storytelling
  • Rosanna Breaux, Department of Psychology, Helping Adolescents R.E.L.A.X.


For more news about the Center for Communicating Science, see our newsletter page, our VTX (News and Stories from Virginia Tech) page, and the "Other News and Media" section of our News page

Center for Communicating Science - teal and orange logo

Center for Communicating Science - teal and orange logo


Subscribe to CCS Newsletter

* indicates required


    Center for Communicating Science
    230 Grove Lane
    Blacksburg, VA 24061
    (Campus mail code: 0555)

    Director Patty Raun

    Associate Director Carrie Kroehler