Brianna Kurtz, Education PhD, Mathematics Track presents during the 2019 3MT competition. In 2020 the competition was held online. This week the competition returns to campus.

UCF Students to Compete in Fast-Talking Research Competition

By: Mila Chial on

Ten UCF students pursuing their doctoral degrees in biomedical sciencesengineeringcriminal justiceeducation, and other disciplines are going to try.

The competition will be held at 3 p.m. on Nov. 17, in the Morgridge International Reading Center on UCF’s main campus.

The 10 pre-selected by committee finalists 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 and $750 for runner-up.

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

Not only will students have to condense their research presentation, but they also must make it understandable to a public audience. 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 research.

Chuck Didier ’15, ’19MS, who earned his bachelor’s degree in biomedical sciences, a master’s in nanotechnology and is now pursuing a doctoral candidate in biomedical sciences, has been looking forward to practicing his communication skills at the competition. As a member of UCF’s Nanoscience Technology Center, he is often exposed to students working on a wide variety of research projects and is eager to share his research, though he is nervous as well.

“Sometimes, you can feel very self-conscious when discussing your research with other students,” says Didier. “The more you do it though, the more you can take control and gain confidence in the space you work in.”

His research is centered around finding new ways to tackle the opioid crisis collaboratively to create new, patient-centered approaches using biosensors. “Working with others is where we can make the greatest advances,” Didier says.

The competition is a great opportunity for students to refine the skills they will need to be successful in their careers and share their research with others in a comprehensible way. The experience also facilitates camaraderie among peers and exposes students to a wide range of subjects across disciplines. From education major Boniesta Melani’s presentation on a corpus linguistics study of idiomatic phrases; to electrical engineering major Sreeram Sundaresh’s revolutionary thin films study; to computer science alum Amirfarhad Nilizadeh ’21MS’s work on reliable automated program repair, onlookers will get to witness the cutting-edge of research in just under 180 seconds.

Judges for the Fall 2021 competition include UCF First Lady Melinda Cartwright, Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Andrea Guzman, and Writing and Rhetoric Department Chair Sherry Rankins-Robertson.

The panel 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 is hosting the competition and videos of all presentations will be posted on the Graduate Studies website after the event.

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

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