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Graduate School

3MT logo

The Graduate School will host K-State's annual 3MT? competition in February 2020. Preliminary competitions, or heats, will be held February 14. Top presenters from each heat will be selected by judges to move forward and compete in the final competition on February 27. From the final competition, a judging panel will select first and second place presenters, and a people's choice award winner will be selected by the audience. The first place presenter will represent K-State at the Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools (MAGS) 3MT? Competition in April.

February 14
11:25 am - 4:45 pm
4001 College of Business Building

February 27
5:30 pm
Alumni Center Banquet Room

Final Competition

The final competition is free and open to the public. The event will begin at 5:30 pm with a social period that will include light snacks and a cash bar. The formal program will begin at 6:00 pm. Each presenter will have three minutes. There will NOT be a question and answer period after each presentation, but there will be a moment between presentations for judges to make final remarks on their evaluation forms. Attendees will be invited to vote for their favorite presenter of the evening for the People's Choice Award.

Paula RozoEntomology, PhDCulicoides midges and virus interactions, milestones to understand epidemics
Mikaela RaderGeology, MSLA-ICP-MS zircon geochronology of granulite xenoliths from the Geronimo Volcanic Field, SE Arizona: implications for crustal evolution since 2.4 Ga
Kristen SikorskyHorticulture and Natural Resources, MSReady for takeoff: Using drones to protect our parks
Micah Cameron-HarpAgricultural Economics, PhDCalculating an asset value for soil carbon
Shilpa HebbarBiology, PhDmicroRNAs - It's the small ingredients that matter!
Cameron OsborneEntomology, PhDCan a livestock pest control itself? 
Pavithra NatarajanBiochemistry, PhDA magnetized peptide-based delivery system for tracking and treating melanoma
Jaide AllenbrandBiology, MSSmall organisms respond to big events: Impacts of fire and grazing on soil microbes


About the 3MT? Competition
The 3MT?, first held at The University of Queensland in 2008, is an academic competition that challenges graduate students to present a compelling oration on their thesis/dissertation topic and its significance in just three minutes using just one slide. 3MT? celebrates the discoveries made by research students and develops their academic, presentation, and research communication skills. The competition focuses on the students’ ability to communicate the importance of their research to the broader community. To learn more about the competition history, visit the 3MT? website.
  • Must be enrolled in a master's or doctoral program at Kansas State University for the Spring 2020 semester.
  • A student’s program of study must contain an original research project. The degree program need not formally require a thesis or dissertation. However, the 3MT? presentation topic must cover the original research project that is being conducted as part of the student's K-State graduate degree program. 
  • Students may NOT give a presentation on work completed as an undergraduate or work completed at another institution.
  • Students are not required to have reached a particular point in their research, but those who are at least halfway through their program are likely to be more competitive.
  • Graduate students must receive approval from their major professor prior to registering for the competition.
  • The first place winners from previous competitions are not eligible to compete this year; the second place and people's choice award winners are eligible to participate in this year's competition.
Rules and Requirements
  • Present a compelling oration of your original research topic and its significance using language appropriate to a non-specialist audience
  • Presentations are to be spoken word (e.g., no poems, raps or songs)
  • Time limit: 3 minutes. Competitors exceeding 3 minutes are disqualified
  • Prepare a single, static PowerPoint slide that represents the purpose and importance of your original research; no slide transitions, animations, or 'movement' of any type are allowed; the slide is to be presented from the beginning of the oration
  • Props, sounds, and other materials may NOT be included in the presentation
  • Presentations are considered to have commenced when a presenter starts their presentation through either movement or speech
  • The decision of the judging panel is final
Resources for Preparing a Successful 3MT? Presentation

Below are some resources we encourage presenters to use as they prepare for their 3MT? presentation.

Judging Criteria

Presentations will be evaluated on the following criteria:

Comprehension and 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?
  • Was 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 their presentation - or did they elaborate for too long on one aspect or was the presentation rushed?

Engagement and Communication

  • Did the oration make the audience want to know more?
  • Was the presenter careful not to trivialize or generalize their research?
  • Did the presenter convey enthusiasm for their research?
  • Did the presenter capture and maintain their audience's attention?
  • Did the speaker have sufficient stage presence, eye contact and vocal range; maintain a steady pace, and have a confident stance?
  • Did the PowerPoint slide enhance the presentation - was it clear, legible, and concise?

Note that the common theme among the judging criteria is the impact of the presentation on the audience.


The following will be awarded to the top presenters in the final competition on February 27:

  • 1st place - $500 scholarship, serve as K-State’s representative at the MAGS 3MT? competition
  • 2nd place - $250 scholarship
  • People’s choice - $125 scholarship

The presentation that receives the most votes from the audience will be selected as the people's choice award winner. The people's choice award winner may also be selected by the judges as their first or second place winner. 

Previous Winners
2019 Winners

1st place: Chris Omni - Master's in Public Health - Black Butterflyz: Making Black Women's Health a Capital Concern

2nd place: Grace Craigie - Entomology, MS - Fantastic Pests and How to Find Them

People's Choice: Narmadha Mohankumar - Statistics, PhD - Is my advisor hiding in their office?

Watch the full 2019 final competition below.

2018 Winners

1st place: Dave Hoffman - Counseling and Student Development, PhD - Purple Stride: Prospective Engineering Students and First-Year Retention

2nd place AND People's Choice: Tennecia Dacass - Economics, PhD - Intergenerational Effects of Mass Incarceration

Watch the full 2018 final competition below.

2017 Winners

1st place AND People's Choice: Tuyen Nguyen - Chemistry, PhD - Tiny Superhero Fights against Cancer

2nd place: Anil Pant - Biology, PhD - Vaccinia Virus Develops New Taste

Watch the full 2017 final competition below.

2016 Winners

First place: Ryan Schmid - Entomology, PhD - Hessian Fly Smart-Trap Design and Deployment Strategies

Second place: Bondy Kaye - Mass Communications, MS - Same Song, New Dance: Competition and Market Structure in the Digital Music Aggregation Industry

People's choice: Jere Noel - Animal Science, MS - Utilizing Electromyography to Identify Causes of Fatigue in Pigs

Watch the full 2016 final competition below.

View the full 2019 final competition

Sponsorship: The Kansas State University Three Minute Thesis Competition is sponsored by the Graduate School and the Office of the Vice President for Research.

Questions about the Kansas State University Graduate School’s 3MT? competition may be directed to Megan Miller, Student Success Coordinator, mmmiller@ksu.edu or 785-532-6191.