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2019 Vanderbilt 3MT Competition

7th Annual Vanderbilt University Three Minute Thesis Competition

Date: Friday, March 29, 2019, 9:00 AM – 3:30 PM

Location: Student Life Center, Ballrooms A, B, and C, Board of Trust Room

Keynote: Kei Koizumi
Application to participate: Google Form
Registration Deadline: Friday, March 8, 2019
Deadline for Slide Submission: Friday, March 15, 2019

Vanderbilt has hosted the Three Minute Thesis Competition for its students since 2013. 3MT® is a research communication competition developed by The University of Queensland. It challenges students to present their research for a non-specialist audience. Students are allowed only two things: (1) up to three minutes to talk and (2) a single, static PowerPoint slide.

To get more involved, or for more information, contact the Co-VPs of Academic Affairs:
Ke “Jack” Ding:
Ian Setliff:

Information for Participants

All eligible participants will receive free gifts, a light breakfast, a lunch, and an opportunity to get professional headshots. Finalists will receive a cash prize of $100, unless they are People’s Choice, who receives $350, Runner Up, who receives $500, or First Place, who receives $1000. This is also an opportunity to network and develop an elevator pitch for job interviews.

To be eligible, participants must be in at least their 2nd year of a Vanderbilt Graduate School program pursuing a research-based degree (PhD, MS, MA, MFA, and MLAS). Students pursuing MEd, EdD, MDiv, MEng, MD, JD, or MBA are not currently eligible. The research must be original to the participant, undertaken while at Vanderbilt, and more extensive than a course assignment.

The initial application asks for biographical information, a specialist title for your research, and a 3MT title for your research (which must be free of jargon and interesting to a general audience). It is due by Friday, March 8, 2019.

After the initial application, students will submit a 3MT PowerPoint slide. The slide must be 4:3 or 10”w by 7.5”h (Design –> Slide Size). No transitions, animations, movements, or sounds are allowed. No graphics or text are required, and less is generally more. Use the content to cue your audience to something important or give them a way of understanding your explanations. The slide is due by Friday, March 15, 2019.

On the day of the competition, all participants will be evaluated in three areas: how well the audience understood the research (comprehension), how much the speaker made the audience want to learn more (engagement), and whether the participant spoke in language that non-academics could understand (communication style). The top 10 participants will advance to a final round for a shot at the First Place, Runner Up, and People’s Choice prizes.

For a complete list of rules, go here.

Previous 3MTs

2018: Winner and People’s Choice Award: Hannah Krimm, Runner Up: Sandya Lakkur

2017: Final Round (Elizabeth Lanphier, Allison Gilmour, Sichang Lu (People’s Choice), Edward van Opstal, Archana Krishnamoorthy (Winner), Samantha Sarett, May Jianhong Shen, Iliza Butera, Raajaram Gowrishankar (Runner Up), and Daniel Kashima)

2015: Winner and People’s Choice: Kelsey Beavers, Runner Up: Lillian Johnson, People’s Choice: Aaron Howard

2014: Winner: Benjamin Dean, Runner Up: Caryn Tamber-Rosenau, People’s Choice: Christopher Gulka

Successful participants generally: communicate their research clearly and without jargon; grab the audience’s attention with an image, case, anecdote, or research application; and use their PowerPoint slide to reinforce the most important idea(s) or to provide an interesting or illuminating analogy for the research.

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