Ten UCF students pursuing their doctoral degrees will have three minutes to present their research to a panel of judges for a chance at a cash prize.

Cash up for Grabs for Best Student Elevator Speech About Research

By: Zenaida Gonzalez Kotala on

Imagine earning cash for delivering an epic elevator pitch about your research. No need to imagine. Come check out UCF’s first 3MT Competition.

Ten UCF students pursuing their doctoral degrees in educationphysicscriminal justicecomputer science, and other disciplines will have three minutes to present their research to a panel of judges. The best will have a chance to walk away with a $1,000 first place prize or $750 for second place and $500 for third place.

The public is invited to watch and vote for their favorite presentation, giving another competitor a shot at the $250 People’s Choice Award.

The competition runs from 3:00 pm-4: 30 pm on Wednesday, March 27, at the Live Oak Room on the main campus.

Not only will students have to condense their research presentation into three minutes, but they also have to make it accessible to the general public. The judges, none of whom have a deep background in any of the topics at play, will select the winners based on how effectively they communicate their thesis.

UCF physics doctorate candidate John Beetar ’15 ’17MS is both excited and nervous. This isn’t his first presentation, but at conferences he usually has more time and a captive audience of physicists. His talk is focused on controlling electron motion with ultrafast lasers.

“I personally enjoy sharing research with others,” says Beetar, who plans to work for industry after he completes his studies. “But it can sometimes be difficult to make all the relevant information quickly and easily digestible.”

Organizers believe the competition gives students another opportunity to refine skills that they’ll need to be successful.

“This is a great way to help our students learn to share their work with a general audience,” says John Weishampel, senior associate dean of the Office of Graduate Research. “Research helps solve many of society’s problems. Many of our scholars are conducting incredible research, but you have to know how to communicate it. This friendly competition encourages our students to get beyond the jargon.”

A panel of judges will select winners based on the following criteria:

  • Communication style: Was the thesis topic and its significance communicated in language appropriate to an intelligent but non-specialist audience?
  • Comprehension: Did the presentation help the audience understand the research?
  • Engagement: Did the presentation make the audience want to know more?

3MT started at the University of Queensland in Australia in 2008 and has since spread to 600 universities in 65 countries around the world.

The College of Graduate Studies and the Blackstone Launchpad are co-hosting the event. Videos of all presentations will be posted on the College of Graduate website after the event. So, come by and cheer on the brave students and have your say on who should get the People’s Choice Award.

Learn more about the competition at graduate.ucf.edu/3mt.

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