Where can you learn about 30 research projects in only 45 minutes? At Virginia Tech’s annual Nutshell Games.

Hosted by Virginia Tech’s Center for Communicating Science and held in conjunction with the Virginia Tech Science Festival, the fourth annual Nutshell Games will take place on Saturday, November 16, at 4:30 p.m. in the Anne and Ellen Fife Theatre at the Moss Arts Center at the conclusion of the daylong Virginia Tech Science Festival.

Thirty Virginia Tech graduate students will each have 90 seconds to present their work — research in a nutshell — to the audience at this friendly science communication competition. Three winners, determined by a panel of judges to have been the most engaging and to have communicated their research the most clearly, will each receive a $500 prize. All of the contestants will receive a professional quality video recording of their talk — and the opportunity to share their research.

New this year: While the judges convene to determine the three winners, Camille Schrier, a 2018 graduate of Virginia Tech and Miss Virginia 2019 — will perform a chemistry demonstration onstage. Schrier performed the talent portion of the Miss Virginia competition in a lab coat, goggles, and rubber gloves, using a hydrogen peroxide reaction to shoot colorful foams into the air.

During her yearlong reign as Miss Virginia, Schrier has raised awareness of drug safety and abuse prevention and has promoted science, technology, engineering, and math education and careers in schools throughout the state, with a focus on attracting girls to the path. Schrier is currently enrolled in the doctorate program at Virginia Commonwealth University’s School of Pharmacy.

 “I’ve loved science since I was a little girl,” she said to introduce her competition demonstration. She ended with, “Keep an eye out, because science really is all around us!” Schrier hopes to inspire girls across Virginia to explore the world of science.

Nutshell Games presenters this year include graduate students from a range of research fields, including human development, biomedical engineering, plant and environmental sciences, industrial and systems engineering, biology, electrical engineering, psychology, nutrition, and geosciences.

Previous Nutshell Games presentations have been called “very uplifting,” “interesting and inspiring,” and “truly a sight to see!” 

The event is open to the public free of charge.

Photo by John Herzog.