Condensing years of research into a three-minute presentation is a daunting task — that was the challenge Monica McNerney faced as she prepared for last year’s Three Minute Thesis competition (3MT).
“I originally had a talk about 10 minutes long, describing my thesis,” said McNerney, who is a fourth-year Chemical and Biomechanical Engineering Ph.D. student. “Whittling it down to three minutes was difficult. But, ultimately, I think streamlining my presentation made it much more engaging.”
And engaging it was. McNerney won last year’s 3MT competition at Georgia Tech with her presentation, “Bacterial Biosensors: Low-cost, Field-friendly Nutrition Tests.” Now, it’s your chance to see if you’ve got what it takes to win. Registration for the 2017 event is open now through Sept. 18.
The 3MT competition, which started at the University of Queensland, Australia, in 2008, challenges participants to present their thesis research in three minutes in a way that any audience can understand. For McNerney, that meant avoiding certain difficult-to-understand technical terms.
“I use harmless E. coli cells as part of my research, but many people only know about the strains that cause disease,” McNerney said. "Instead of using the term E. coli, I described the cells as 'harmless bacteria' and then described synthetic biology concepts in terms that everyone could understand. I really tried to focus on the big picture applications and big picture results rather than the technical details."
This year, 3MT is not only open to any doctoral student currently involved in dissertation research, but also master’s students currently engaged in thesis research. The top presenters among both master's and Ph.D. students will receive research travel grants and a chance to represent Tech at the Conference of Southern Graduate Schools.
In preparation for the competition, workshops will be held starting Aug. 30 to help students prepare their presentations, and the preliminary rounds will be held Oct. 12 and 18. Finals will be held on Nov. 13.
For more information, visit grad.gatech.edu/3MT.
Office of Graduate Studies
Last revised March 13, 2019