This event is only in-person

2016 winners

First place - Andrew Brereton, Seeing is believing: mapping a protein folding transition

Second place - Elizabeth M. Collar, 3rd Carpal Bone Fractures: Can We Prevent Racehorse Breakdowns?

People's choice - Yunteng He, Solving Protein Structures Without Crystals

The OSU Graduate School is excited to host again this year the Scholars’ Insights 3MT competition. A Three Minute Thesis (3MT) research competition, developed by The University of Queensland, challenges graduate students to give a compelling, three-minute presentation about their thesis, or project topic. Scholars' Insights develops academic, presentation, and research communication skills. It supports the development of graduate students' capacity to explain their research in language appropriate to a non-specialist audience.

When: Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Where: Learning Innovation Center 228 (LInC)

Registration is closed.

Participants will have three minutes to present, using no more than one static slide. A committee consisting of two graduate students, a professional communications specialist, a community member and a representative from the Graduate School select the top three presentations. Judges evaluate presentations for comprehension, engagement, and communication.

First, second and people's choice will be awarded $1,000, $500, and $500, respectively. These three individuals will also compete in the 3MT State Championships the following week held here at Oregon State University on May 21, where the top winners from Oregon State University, Portland State University, University of Oregon and Oregon Health & Science University compete for top state honors and more award prizes.

The event will be videotaped, and the winning presentations shared via YouTube and on the web to showcase OSU’s graduate student accomplishments. In addition to communicating the impact of the student's research, the local and statewide events provide a valuable opportunity for networking and professional development. The event will be followed by a reception for participants and the community while awaiting the judges’ determination of the three best presentations.

Colorful lights


  • Participation is open to any enrolled graduate student who is nearing the completion of their degree. Any scholarly work conducted for a thesis, dissertation or final project is acceptable for presentation. Graduates are not eligible.
  • A single static PowerPoint slide is permitted. No slide transitions, animations or 'movement' of any kind allowed. The slide is shown from the beginning of the oration.
  • No additional electronic media (e.g. sound and video files) are permitted.
  • No additional props (e.g. costumes, musical instruments, laboratory equipment) are permitted.
  • Presentations are limited to 3 minutes maximum and competitors exceeding 3 minutes are disqualified.
  • Presentations are to be spoken word (e.g. no poems, raps or songs).
  • Presentations are to commence from the stage.
  • Presentations are considered to have commenced when a presenter starts their presentation by advancing from the title slide to the presentation slide.
  • The decision of the adjudicating panel is final.

Judging Criteria

At every level of the competition, each competitor will be assessed on the three judging criteria listed below.  Please note that each criterion is equally weighted and has an emphasis on audience.


  • 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?


  • 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 the enthusiasm for their research?
  • Did the presenter capture and maintain their audience's attention?


  • 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 speaker have sufficient stage presence, eye contact and vocal range; maintain a steady pace, and have a confident stance?
  • 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?
  • Did the PowerPoint slide enhance the presentation - was it clear, legible, and concise?


  • Cynthia Sagers, Vice President for Research, OSU
  • Francisco Guerrero-Bolano, PhD Graduate Student, OSU
  • Christine Kelly Associate Dean of Academic and Student Affairs, College of Engineering, OSU
  • Amy Jauron, Economic Development Officer, City of Corvallis
  • Sarah Gelser, State Senator, Oregon

Participate in Scholars' Insights

Presentations will be limited to the first 40 complete registrations received.  Information presenters will be asked for at registration is:

  • Full name
  • Email
  • Phone number
  • College
  • Program and Degree
  • Major Professor
  • Slide Title (limited to 10 words or less)
  • PowerPoint Slide (required to be complete at time of registration for submission to be accepted, please follow these guidelines)

Resources for Presenters

Below you will find information to help you prepare for this competition.  Please pay special attention to the rules and the timeline and important dates sections as these are critical to your continued qualification in the competition.  Please remember that you will be presenting to a non-specialist audience, not at a technical conference.  With that in mind, please submit a title of up to 10 words.  Be creative and think outside the technical box.

The Three Minute Format

2015 Winners

First Place: Francisco Guerrero-Bolano, Sustainable Forest Management, PhD

“Reconstructing Watershed History From a Sedimentary Hard-Drive"
Major Professor: Dr. Jeff Hatten

Second Place: Jennifer Warner, Civil Engineering, MS

“Out of Sight, Out of Mind…Right-Hook Crash Solutions”
Major Professor: Dr. David Hurwitz

People's Choice: Jenna Schardt, Materials Science, MS

“Tiny Tree Batteries: Sodium Ion Batteries with Nanocellulose”
Major Professor: Dr. John Simonsen