Mines students compete in Three Minute Thesis

Twenty-four Colorado School of Mines graduate students participated in Three Minute Thesis (3MT®), an exciting event that challenges students to present their research in a clear, concise manner to a non-specialist audience, on April 5 for a chance to win a $1,000 grand prize.

3MT helps students learn how to effectively communicate their research. Competitors are only allowed a single slide to help their presentation and cannot use any additional props, visuals or resources.

“The competition cultivates students’ academic, presentation and research communication skills,” said Veronica Waller, operations manager in the Office of Graduate Studies. “We hope that this gives students a fresh and new opportunity to think about communicating their research to a wide audience.”

This was the first 3MT competition at Mines and was initiated by Graduate Dean Wendy Zhou with support from Interim Provost Tom Boyd.

Competitors submitted a three-minute video in the first round, 12 students moved on to give a live presentation in the second round and only seven finalists were selected to compete in the third round for their chance to win the grand prize. Halley Keevil, a PhD candidate from the Department of Geology and Geological Engineering, won the $1,000 grand prize; Stephen Semmens, a PhD candidate from the same department, came in second place, winning $500; and John Rea, a PhD candidate in materials science from the Department of Physics, won the $250 People’s Choice award. The other finalists were Meaghan Guyader, civil and environmental engineering; Lauren Sepp, mechanical engineering; Nathan Johnson, mechanical engineering; and Levente Sipeki, mechanical engineering.

Mines President Paul Johnson, Vice President of Research and Technology Transfer Stefanie Tompkins and the other judges scored the seven finalists based on comprehension, content, engagement and communication. Criteria included:

  • Did the speaker clearly understand their topic and make the audience understand something as well?

  • Did the presentation clearly describe key results including conclusions and outcomes?

  • Did the presenter engage and connect with the audience?

  • Did the presenter capture and maintain their audience’s attention?

“The competition helps students communicate the value and output of their research in a concise and approachable way to general public, which has become one of the critical skills for all researchers,” said Ye Li, the scholarly communications and instruction librarian at Arthur Lakes Library. “Featuring their presentations will help Mines to highlight research stories on campus and how we relate to our community and beyond.”

The 3MT event at Mines was cosponsored by the Office of Graduate Studies, Graduate Student Government and Arthur Lakes Library.


Joe DelNero, Digital Media and Communications Manager, Communications and Marketing | 303-273-3326 | jdelnero@mines.edu
Mark Ramirez, Managing Editor, Communications and Marketing | 303-273-3088 | ramirez@mines.edu

About Mines
Colorado School of Mines is a public research university focused on science and engineering, where students and faculty together address the great challenges society faces today - particularly those related to the Earth, energy and the environment.