This annual event, which showcases graduate student’s ability to distill their nine-hour thesis down to three minutes, comes back Feb. 2 at 4 p.m.
What is the best way to distill a multitude of information into just three minutes?
That’s the question that eleven graduate students will be wrestling with as part of the Graduate School’s sixth annual Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition, which will be held in the University Memorial Center’s Glenn Miller Ballroom on Feb. 2, 2023, from 4 to 6:30 p.m.
This event challenges students to explain their thesis to the general public. They are then judged by a panel of judges from across the university, including the University of Colorado President Todd Saliman. Winners of the event will be announced at the end of the program and the audience will have the opportunity to vote for the People’s Choice award.
While the event is free and open to the public, space is limited and registration is required. The event will also be live-streamed.
This year’s competitors include:
- Alex Bradley, environmental and atmospheric chemistry
- Alexandra (Lexi) Deal, chemistry
- Ariel Eraso, molecular, cellular and developmental biology
- Brandon Hayes, mechanical engineering
- Jazmin Lopez, civil, environmental and architectural engineering
- Dillon McGovern, psychology and neuroscience
- Margarita Reza, chemistry
- Rob Streeter, electrical, computer and energy engineering
- Edward (Teddy) Tortorici, physics
- Lydia Wagenknecht, ethnomusicology
- Amanda White, astrophysical and planetary sciences
“Amazing research happens every day by graduate students, but it often flies under the radar. The Three Minute Thesis competition is an opportunity to showcase that creative and innovative work and the talented students that make it happen,” said Scott Adler, the dean of the Graduate School.
The 3MT event began in 2008 when the state of Queensland, Australia, suffered from a severe drought. To conserve water, residents were encouraged to time their showers, and many people had a three-minute egg timer fixed to the wall in their bathroom. The then-Dean of the University of Queensland Graduate School, Emeritus Professor Alan Lawson, decided to apply the same approach with his students in a first of its kind competition.
3MT challenges graduate students to describe their research within three minutes to a general audience. To prepare, beginning last fall, 25 graduate students participated in a series of workshops focusing on storytelling, writing, presentation skills and improv comedy techniques. They then held a preliminary competition at the end of the fall 2022 semester and whittled the competition down to 11 finalists.
Amazing research happens every day by graduate students, but it often flies under the radar. The Three Minute Thesis competition is an opportunity to showcase that creative and innovative work and the talented students that make it happen.
The graduate students competing at this year’s 3MT finals will be evaluated by a panel of judges on their comprehension, content, engagement and communication.
The winner of the competition will receive $1,500 in research funding and will have the chance to compete at the regional competition as the University of Colorado Boulder’s representative. The runner-up and the People’s Choice winner, voted on by the live audience, will also receive funding.
Judges for this year’s event are Theresa D. Hernández, director of the Crawford Family WHOLE Student Athlete Research and Programming, Department of Intercollegiate Athletics, and a professor of psychology and neuroscience; Todd Saliman, University of Colorado President; Sriram Sankaranarayanan, professor of computer science; and John Tayer, President and CEO of the Boulder Chamber. Bud Coleman, associate dean of faculty affairs and initiatives for the College of Arts and Sciences, will be the event’s emcee.
More information about the competition is available on the Graduate School's 3MT website.