Silver-tongued graduate students compete in "Three Minute Thesis" talks.

hannah glickIn three minutes flat, Hannah Glick (SLHSci’12; PhD’19) breezed through six years of her doctoral research on hearing loss, convincing a roomful of spectators to get their ears tested ASAP. Her only prop was a single PowerPoint slide showing an ear and a hearing aid.

“We disregard [hearing loss] as a normal part of aging, and young people don’t do a good job protecting themselves,” said Glick, the PhD candidate who won CU’s second annual “Three Minute Thesis” contest, or “3MT,” in February. “We need to put hearing healthcare higher up on the health priority list.”

Even mild hearing loss can compromise cognition and emotional health, she explained. But Glick has found that outfitting hearing-impaired adults with hearing aids can help reverse these other effects.

Founded in Australia in 2008, 3MT challenges young scholars to explain their work quickly in simple, jargon-free terms with a single graphic aid. Now, over 600 universities across 65 countries participate. This was CU’s second year.

Judges evaluate contestants based on their ability to engage listeners in the topic  and convey the value of their research. A doctoral candidate in audiology, cognitive science, and speech, language and hearing, Glick wowed judges and audience alike, walking away with the “People’s Choice” award and the firstplace prize, taking home $2,000.

Runner-up Luke Bury (PhDAeroEngr’21) talked about engineering space landings and exploring the subsurface oceans of Europa, an icy moon of Jupiter.

He earned $750. In all, 11 students made the final round, from an original pool of 28. The candidates participated in a series of fall workshops organized by CU’s Graduate School, honing their presentations and polishing their oratory.

Glick also did a lot of rehearsing in front of the mirror. If she wins the regional 3MT contest in Arizona in March, she’ll proceed to nationals.

Besides refining her communications skills, Glick said, 3MT opened her eyes to the breadth and impact of her fellow CU students’ work: “People are working on some really cool stuff.”

Photo courtesy Hannah Glick