3MT: Three Minute Thesis

Congratulations to the 3MT winners!

Winner: Alex Wrede

Major: Mechanical Engineering

Presentation: Studying Microbubbles to Treat Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)

Runner Up: Vivek Lawana

Major: Biomedical Sciences

Presentation: Parkinson’s Disease: An Unheard Tale of Microglia

People’s Choice Award: Anuraag Boddupalli

Major: Chemical and Biological Engineering

Presentation: Gels and Lasers for Better Healthcare

Video of the Whole Event



Online ISU Daily article: http://www.iowastatedaily.com/news/article_de420908-c353-11e7-8f2a-0fb7aa01a5c8.html

Thank you to all the volunteers (3MT committee, judges, time keepers, door keepers, and food set up people) that made the Three-Minute Thesis competition possible!

The ability to clearly and concisely articulate complex research to non-specialist audiences is a vital skill for all graduate students. Participating in the Graduate College’s 3MT competition helps students develop communication skills, allows them to share and take pride in their work, and offers the chance to compete for prizes.

What is 3MT?

Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) celebrates the exciting research conducted by master’s or Ph.D. students around the world. Developed by The University of Queensland, the competition cultivates students’ academic, presentation, and research communication skills. Presenting in a 3MT competition increases students' capacity to explain their research in three minutes in a language appropriate to a non-specialist audience. Competitors are allowed one PowerPoint slide, but no other resources or props.


Participants must be currently enrolled in a master's or Ph.D. degree program that requires students to conduct their own research (dissertation or thesis). Participants must be available to participate in the November 6th, 2017 competition held on campus.


Each contestant who advances to the Final Round will receive a certificate. The Grand Winner will receive a $500 cash prize, an all-expense-paid trip to the annual conference of the Midwest Association of Graduate Schools (MAGS), April 4 – 6, 2018, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and be entered to participate in the Regional 3MT Competition. A $250 Honorable Mention (decided by judges) and $250 People’s Choice Award will also be awarded.

Participation Timeline

Judging Criteria

Winners will be determined by a panel of judges using the official 3MT competition rubrics. Judges for the initial heats will be invited from the Iowa State University faculty and staff and the local community. Judges for the final competition will be well-known Iowa constituents.

Comprehension & Content

  • Did the presentation provide an understanding of the background to the research question being addressed and its significance?
  • Did the presentation clearly describe the key results of the research including conclusions and outcomes?
  • Did the presentation follow a clear and logical sequence?
  • Were the thesis topic, key results, and research significance and outcomes communicated in language appropriate to a non-specialist audience?
  • Did the speaker avoid scientific jargon, explain terminology, and provide adequate background information to illustrate points?
  • Did the presenter spend adequate time on each element of the presentation, or was the presentation rushed? Did (s)he elaborate for too long on one aspect of the presentation?

Engagement & Communication

  • Did the oration make the audience want to know more?
  • Did the presenter work to emphasize the significance and application of his/her research?
  • Did the presenter convey enthusiasm for his/her research?
  • Did the presenter capture and maintain his/her audience's attention?
  • Did the speaker have sufficient stage presence, eye contact and vocal range? Did the speaker maintain a steady pace and have a confident stance?
  • Did the PowerPoint slide support the verbal message of the speaker and add clarity and impact to his/her words?


3MT Committee:
Sarah Huffman, shuffman@iastate.edu
Katie Blair, kblair@iastate.edu
Denise Vrchota, vrchota@iastate.edu
Judy Strand, jstrand@iastate.edu