3 Minute Thesis Winners Announced!

Posted on Monday, November 24th, 2014 by William Davis under Uncategorized.

After weeks of registration, two qualifying rounds, and one grueling finale, the Three Minute Thesis winners have finally been announced:

The 3MT Thesis Awards: 1st Place Award winner Matt Marshall (rear left), 2nd Place Award winner Rachel Bowman (front) and People’s Choice Award winner Derek Shore (rear right)

The 3MT Thesis Awards: 1st Place Award winner Matt Marshall (rear left), 2nd Place Award winner Rachel Bowman (front) and People’s Choice Award winner Derek Shore (rear right)

First Place ($1,000, plus travel and accommodations to New Orleans in March 2015 to compete in the Conference of Southern Graduate Schools regional competition representing UNCG):

Matt Marshall, Biology: “The Genetics of Thermal Plasticity in Plantago Lanceolata”

Second Place ($500):

Rachel Bowman, English: “The Embodied Rhetoric of United States Marine Corps Recruit Training”

People’s Choice ($250):

Derek Shore, Chemistry and Biochemistry: “The Unprecedented Therapeutic Potential of Biased Agonists”

On November 18th, the ten finalists met in the Alumni House’s Virginia Dare Room to present their research as succinctly and coherently as possible while five judges took notes and a timer showed each precious second that passed. The room was full, the weather was cold, and even though I served merely as a spectator, I couldn’t help but feel nervous each time someone’s name was called on stage.

Throughout the competition, the contestants not only showed a tremendous ability to speak in public but a full understanding of their research. As Dr. Laura Chesak, who moderated the event, said: “I wouldn’t want to be in the judge’s shoes.” Everyone performed to the best of their abilities, and ultimately, Matt Marshall, was awarded the top prize.

Matt Marshall presents the winning dissertation at the 3MT Thesis Competition.

Matt Marshall presents the winning dissertation at the 3MT Thesis Competition.

I got in touch with Matt to find out what the award means to him. Not only was he given $1,000 for winning the 3MT, but the Graduate School will pay for his way to the Conference of Southern Graduate Schools regional competition in New Orleans next March.

Although he made it look easy, the task of cramming an entire dissertation into just three minutes proved, at times, as difficult as it sounds.

“Condensing my dissertation into a three minute long presentation with just one slide was a challenge. Before I came to the final version of my presentation, I went through several drafts of both the slide and the talk. The comments and questions I received from the preliminary rounds and practice were helpful in that they highlighted gaps in my presentation and places where I lacked clarity.”

While there, he plans on using his free time to experience the culture, listening to live music and checking out the Gulf Coast.

“I haven’t visited New Orleans before, but I have many friends who have,” he said. “I plan to use some of the $1,000 to explore the cuisine, and the rest to buy an iPhone 6!”

Thanks to another successful run, the Graduate School will host its third annual Three Minute Thesis competition next year in the fall. All doctoral students will be eligible, so if you’re inspired by what this year’s competitors accomplished, keep your eyes and ears open.

As for advice, Matt poses a simple question:

“What is the point of your study and why should I care? If nothing else, after you give your 3MT, the audience should have a clear understanding as to how you would answer this question.”