Students looking for a challenge and a chance to share their research will participate this month in the Three Minute Thesis competition at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center.
The competitors will have three minutes and one PowerPoint slide to present their thesis and research. Typically, an 80,000-word thesis takes nine hours to present. Founded in 2008 by the University of Queensland in Australia, the Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) competition is designed to hone presentation skills and teach students how to share their research in language that is accessible to anyone.
“The skill that students take away is how to condense the description of a complex research problem into a few words that anyone can understand,” said Donald Thomason, PhD, dean of the College of Graduate Health Sciences. “They not only learn by doing, but they also learn by watching how others do it. It isn’t easy.”
The competition is sponsored by the Graduate Student Executive Council (GSEC) and the College of Graduate Health Sciences. Luis O. Romero, president of the GSEC, said the competition not only teaches important communication skills that could benefit any graduate student, but it also gives attendees a chance to learn about a variety of research topics.
“As a student, it is incredibly interesting for me to listen to what my peers are doing,” Romero said. “There is amazing science being done at UTHSC.”
This year, the first- and second-place winners and the people’s choice winner will receive larger cash prizes than in past years. The first-place winner will go on to a regional competition at the annual Conference of Southern Graduate Schools meeting, where they will compete against other students in all areas of graduate study. The regional winner will then compete in a national contest, and the national winner will take part in an international championship.
Additionally, the winner, runner-up, and people’s choice winner in UTHSC’s 3MT competition will be invited to visit with alumni to share their three-minute presentations and make important network connections.
“Our alumni love to hear about the great research our students are doing, and the 3MT nicely packages the description of that work,” Dr. Thomason said.
The Three Minute Thesis competition is set for Friday, December 16, at 3 p.m. in Schreier Auditorium in the Student-Alumni Center (SAC). All PhD and master’s degree students at UTHSC are invited to participate. Students wishing to accept the challenge are asked to sign up online.