The Challenge of a Thesis in 3 Minutes

3MT award winners

The Three-Minutes Thesis, or 3MT as it is widely known, began at the University of Queensland in Australia in 2008 with an egg-timer but is now held in 900 universities in over 85 countries. The challenge is for graduate students to effectively present their research in a captivating and inspiring manner to a non-specialist audience in 3-minutes or less using only one slide. Since 2017, The Graduate School at Augusta University (AU) has hosted 3MT competitions highlighting the outstanding research of our graduate students.

This year, The Graduate School’s 3MT event showcased research presentations from six graduate students in the final competition:

· Kirstyn Denney (Neuroscience)
· Sam Melnyk (Physiology)
· Neea Rusch (Computer and Cyber Sciences)
· Kathryn Sinha (Biostatistics)
· Edidiong Usoro (Biochemistry and Cancer Biology)
· Samuel Walton (Physiology)

The event also featured a special presentation by Hiroko Tanaka and Rachel Laird (Medical Illustration), the first place winners of the AU Innovate Pitch Competition.

The final round of the competition was judged by a panel of prominent professionals in their respective fields. The judges included Dr. Amy Abdulovic-Cui (Biological Sciences), Dr. Marc Austin (Assoc. Provost), Dr. Russell Keen (EVP Administration & Chief of Staff), Dr. Zach Kelehear (VP for Instruction), Dr. Lester Pretlow (Dean, College of Allied Health Sciences) and Jennie Montgomery, co-anchor of WJBF News Channel 6 and host of her television show “Jennie”.

Judges faced a challenging task in choosing winners from the competitive field of participants. While each of the presentations was excellent, at the end of the competition Kirstyn Denney was awarded first place for her presentation titled “A New Look at Memory and Aging”; Samuel Walton awarded second place for his presentation titled “T cells: The Jekyll Turned Hyde of Salt Sensitive Hypertension” and Edidiong Usoro awarded the People’s Choice award for her presentation titled “From Shadows to Spotlight: Revolutionizing Brian Cancer Treatments with Hypoxia-Targeted Strategies using the Nucleotide Approach”.

Samuel Walton shared “I think we all think it would be easy to explain our project, until we start this project and realize how hard it is to breakdown our work simply, but having the 3MT experience, I know I can now easily share my research to a wide variety of individuals…”.

Sam Melnyk commented further emphasizing the value of participating, stating, “The 3MT really made me think about my project in a different light to be able to communicate my research more effectively to someone who doesn’t have a scientific background.”

Kirstyn Denney added, “The 3MT not only offered useful development of skills in scientific communication, but also fostered an experience that allowed several graduate students across multiple fields to bond and aid each other in our own personal growth.”

The sense of community and support students experience throughout the process was echoed by multiple participants including Neea Rusch who said “I enjoyed the opportunity to learn about the kind of research other students are doing in other programs. … the experience strengthened my sense of belonging in the AU graduate community.”

The Graduate School congratulates and is proud of the 3MT participants, recognizing their growth and accomplishments throughout the process. The school is also grateful for all the supportive faculty and community members who contributed to the success of the student participants, workshops and 3MT events.

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Written by
Dr. Patricia Cameron
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