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Three Minute Thesis competition puts spotlight on student research

About 60 NDSU graduate students will present their research and vie for prize money in the annual Three Minute Thesis competition, scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 21. The competition is set for 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in NDSU’s Memorial Union. The presentations are open to the public.

This is the fourth time the NDSUCollege of Graduate and Interdisciplinary Studies will host the event. Students were nominated by the faculty leadership in their majors to participate.

“We know that the ability to communicate clearly and effectively is part of what makes our graduates successful,” said Brandy Randall, associate dean of the College of Graduate and Interdisciplinary Studies. “The Three Minute Thesis competition is a fun and exciting way to practice this skill.”

The competition encourages students to bring their groundbreaking work out of the classroom or laboratory to share with the public. There will be two preliminary rounds starting at 10 a.m. and 11 a.m., followed by the Graduate Student Showcase, scheduled for 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. in the Memorial Union Ballroom. The championship round is set to begin at 2 p.m.

The competition features graduate students from a variety of disciplines explaining the goals and value of their research in terms relevant to government officials, media, future employers and funding organization representatives. A typical 80,000-word thesis would take about nine hours to present; the competitors are given just three minutes. 

Preliminary round winners will receive $250 cash prizes, and the overall competition winner will be awarded a $1,000 grand prize. The winner also will advance to the Western Association of Graduate Schools regional competition in Tucson, Arizona.

Australia's University of Queensland developed the first Three Minute Thesis competition in 2008, and the concept has spread to institutions around the world. More than 600 universities in more than 65 countries now hold competitions.

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