3-minute thesis throwdown

November 5, 2015 3:00 PM

Kathryn Hobgood Ray

110515_thesis competition

Three of the doctoral students competing in the first-ever 3 Minute Thesis Competition at Tulane are, from left, Brendan Moore (philosophy, School of Liberal Arts), Kate Elfer (biomedical engineering, School of Science and Engineering) and Olalekan Ogunsakin (global environmental health, School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine). (Photo by Sally Asher)

An 80,000 word thesis would take nine hours to present.

Their time limit ... three minutes.

That’s the challenge that nine Tulane students face on Wednesday (Nov. 11) from 3 p.m. until 5 p.m. in the Kendall Cram Lecture Hall in the Lavin-Bernick Center for University Life, at the first-ever 3-Minute Thesis Competition at Tulane University.

Nine graduate students from a wide array of disciplines will compete for a cash prize as well as a People’s Choice Award. The winner of the Tulane event will be sponsored by the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies to compete in the regional 3-Minute Thesis Competition at the Council of Southern Graduate Schools conference in Charlotte, North Carolina, in February 2016.
The first 3-Minute Thesis Competition was held in 2008 at the University of Queensland in Australia; today, 3MT competitions are held in over 200 universities across more than 18 countries worldwide.

“This event is designed to help our PhD students communicate the value and integrity of their thesis work to a lay audience,” says Ashley Robison, a senior program coordinator in the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. “There’s a great range of gender, internationality and racial diversity, as well as thesis topics.”  

Students will have exactly three minutes to relay their life’s work — a second more and they are disqualified.

“Thirty-eight percent of the students at Tulane are graduate students and postdocs,” says Briana Mohan, a career adviser in the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. “The work they do, they are so invested in, and they are so excited about, and it is really the kind of groundbreaking research that is going to shape our future and have an impact on our country and the world.

“The fact that they are getting three minutes to share that with the public, when most of the time they’re talking to their faculty members or their classmates, or in their confined worlds of being researchers and writers, is really exciting.”

Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000 website@tulane.edu