The Three Minute Thesis Finals

Posted on Thursday, November 6th, 2014 by William Davis under Uncategorized.

In my last blog, I described some of the most important reasons you should sign up for the Three Minute Thesis (3MT). Now that the competition is underway, I’m here to convince you of a similar, yet less anxiety-inducing task: to simply attend (not participate in) the 3MT’s final round on Nov. 18 from 2:30 to 4:30 in the Alumni House, Virginia Dare Room.

Elyse Shearer

Elyse Shearer

On Nov. 5 and 6, the Graduate School held qualifying rounds where participants delivered their theses and dissertations in under three minutes, with some clocking in at an even shorter 2 minutes and 30 seconds. A panel of three judges took notes between speakers and assessed each person on a number of criteria, including comprehension and engagement. At the end of both rounds, students had a chance to ask each other questions in order to learn more about disciplines they may have been unfamiliar with beforehand. I, for one, was unfamiliar with all of them.

For instance, could you explain how exercise affects one’s memory? Or how the U.S. Marine Corps uses embodied rhetoric to recruit new members? Do you know what biased agonists are? Or could you tell me about thermal plasticity in Plantago Lanceolata?

Unless you’re Watson (the talking robot who appeared on Jeopardy a few years ago), you probably can’t answer many of these questions. And while I’m no expert, I’ve begun to think about biased agonists in a whole new way.

Terra McKee

Terra McKee

Now that the participants have received feedback and time to practice, finalists will be more than prepared to deliver their research succinctly and for all of us to understand. Think of it as the fastest and most efficient way to learn how your fellow classmates have spent the last few years of their lives. Rather than reading their dissertations from cover to cover, hear them tell you what they’ve learned in 180 seconds.

Plus, those of you who attend will have a chance to vote for the People’s Choice Award winner ($250), depending on which presentation you enjoyed the most. The other awards, for first and second place, will come with $1,000 and $500 reward respectively, where the winner will be sent to New Orleans next May for an all-expense paid trip. Winners will be announced at the end of the competition.

So whether you come to learn, to vote for one of the winners, or to see your classmates present years of hard work, be sure to mark it on your calendars: Nov. 18 at 2:30 pm. In the meantime, you can check out last year’s finals here, and we’ll see you in the Alumni House!