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Femi Alege, PhD student addressing sustainable dairies, is 2021 CAHNRS 3 Minute Thesis winner

Posted by struscott | March 25, 2021
Femi Alege at wetland
Femi Alege

Femi Alege, doctoral student and research assistant in the Department of Biological Systems Engineering, is the winner of the College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences’ 2021 Three Minute Thesis competition. He represented the College at the all-WSU competition on March 24, taking second place.

“This has been very exciting,” Alege said. “I greatly appreciate the opportunity to represent the Department of Biological Systems Engineering at the college level, and CAHNRS in the university-wide competition.”

Three Minute Thesis challenges doctoral students to tighten their ideas and research discoveries so they can be presented concisely to a general audience.

Addressing a sustainability challenge facing the dairy industry, Alege spoke about a technique that would turn dairy manure into compose pellets to control environmental pollution.

His research has shown that pelleting dairy manure nutrients is not only technically viable, but also an economical way to boost the value of excess nutrients while mitigating their potential negative impacts to the environment.

“Environmental pollution from agricultural systems is real, and manure is a significant environmental challenge,” Alege said. “Researching the potential of pelleting dairy manure gives us an opportunity to better address real problems. This research is also very compelling, because it adds value to material that is otherwise considered waste.”

Judges in CAHNRS gauged competitors on the quality of their presentation, adherence to official rules, relevance to a general audience, and ‘wow factor.’ Alege won based on the professional quality of his presentation and slides, as well as his ability to explain the topic and its relevance to people with little experience in the field.

“All my fellow competitors were outstanding, and I want to congratulate them on the opportunities to represent their respective departments and colleges in the competition,” he said. “It was a wonderful experience to listen to their exceptional studies, as well as their abilities to summarize and effectively communicate their research to people who may not be familiar with their fields and specialties. I wish them all great success in their studies and endeavors.”

Pursuing his degree in the Land, Air, Water Resources, and Environmental Engineering research group, Alege joined Professor Pius Ndegwa’s lab as a doctoral student and research assistant in 2018. He collaborates with Assistant Professor Haiying Tao’s lab in the Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, and Associate Professor Lisa DeVetter’s lab in Horticulture.

Passionate about research, Alege is interested in sustainable agriculture and mitigation of associated environmental pollutions—especially from livestock production systems. He will defend his dissertation this semester, and looks forward to new life experiences after graduate studies.

Learn more about WSU’s Three Minute Thesis event at