Think Fast: NDSU’s Three Minute Thesis Competition

The results are in for the annual event

GOODFREEPHOTOS | PHOTO COURTESY Time is not on student’s side during their presentations.

Graduate students will often spend years working on their thesis, but at the Three Minute Thesis competition, they only had a few minutes to impress and persuade judges.

The annual competition challenges North Dakota State graduate students to present information about the research they have worked on in three minutes or less.

Elizabeth S. Wilson, a graduate student from biological sciences, won the $1,000 grand prize for her presentation ““Micro-climate Impacts Nesting Choice and Success of Alfalfa Leafcutting Bee.”

Along with Wilson, the other participating graduate students up for the grand prize were Mohsen Tahmasebi from civil engineering, Priyanka Swami from pharmaceutical sciences, Pranothi Mulinti from pharmaceutical sciences, Alireza Rahimi from coatings and polymeric materials, Raquib Hasan from pharmaceutical sciences, Sakshi Taneja from pharmaceutical sciences and Matthew Confeld from pharmaceutical sciences.

The main challenge of Three Minute Thesis is not just fitting your entire thesis into three minutes or less, it’s also about making sure the information is well stated and that everyone in the audience understands.

The requirements for the presentation were that participants could only have one slide to present on. If the presentation was over three minutes, they would be disqualified. Everyone was judged on the details and comprehension of their presentation, as well as their communication and engagement with the audience. The speakers had to make sure that their research, conclusions and outcomes were distinctly included within the time limit as well.

This year was the fifth year graduate students have hosted the event. The preliminary round took place from 10 to 11 a.m. This was the first round and included graduate students with research focuses that ranged from pharmaceutical sciences to civil engineering. Overall, 57 graduate students participated.

Between the two rounds, the participants were also able to show off their work in the showcase. Here the participants were able to showcase their research with posters and displays. With the competition open to the public, everyone could see what each graduate student had to say about the work they’ve completed. A people’s choice award of $250 was handed out at the end of the showcase.

If the judges gave them a high enough score in the preliminary round, the participants could move on to the championship round, earning $250 as they compete for the grand prize. It was in this round that the eight remaining graduate students were given another three minutes to present their research.

Graduate students will continue to compete in the Three Minute Thesis Challenge in the future, proving how quickly information can be presented.    

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