Published: Feb. 6, 2023

11 graduate students competed in this year’s competition, which asks students to distill their research down to a three-minute presentation

Air quality, thermometers and virtual reality, or VR, were all thesis topics presented during the sixth annual Three Minute Thesis Competition.

This event, held in person for the first time in three years, challenges graduate students to craft a three-minute elevator pitch for their complex—and sometimes difficult to make sense of—research in a way that even an everyday person could understand.

This year, the 11 competitors did just that to an engaged audience in the Glenn Miller Ballroom within the University Memorial Center and a panel of judges, which included University of Colorado President Todd Saliman. The judges then evaluated the competitors on comprehension, content, engagement and communication.

“The Three Minute Thesis competition is one of my favorite events put on by the Graduate School for many reasons, and this year was no exception,” said Scott Adler, dean of the Graduate School. “We had many wonderful competitors, and I’m proud of each one of our graduate students who put themselves out there for the chance to present their innovative and potentially life-changing research.”

Here are the winners of 2023 competition:

First place

Rob Streeter

Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering

Presentation Title: A New Way to Measure Internal Body Temperature

Second place

Alexandra (Lexi) Deal


Presentation Title: What Happens Between the Air and Water?

People’s choice

Lydia Wagenknecht


Presentation Title: What Does Climate Change Sound Like?

Streeter will receive $1500 in research funds and will represent CU Boulder at the Western Association of Graduate Schools competition in Portland, Oregon, on March 29, 2023. Deal and Wagenknecht will receive $750 and $500 in research funds, respectively.

Judges for this year’s event were 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; Saliman; 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, was the event’s emcee.

More information about the 2024 Three Minute Thesis Competition will be available on the Three Minute Thesis competition webpage this fall.