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Virtual Three Minute Thesis: See ground-breaking graduate research on display

On a good day, public speaking can prompt nerves in the most eloquent of speakers. However, being asked to present one’s graduate scholarship in plain language and in three minutes or less? That takes the challenge to a whole new level.

The Three Minute Thesis (3MT) is a global competition that calls for graduate students to present their scholarship in just three minutes and with one slide. The Boise State 3MT competition will be a live webinar held at 10 a.m. to noon. on Tuesday, Feb. 2. This event celebrates the exciting research taking place at Boise State and highlights graduate students who are working to find solutions to real-world challenges. The campus community is invited and encouraged to attend the competition.

Participants will contend for a first place award of $750, a second place award of $500, and third place award of $250, as determined by a panel of judges from the Boise community. Students are also eligible to win an $250 audience choice award based on audience votes.

Leading up to the final competition, graduate students took part in workshops and coaching sessions to cultivate their academic, presentation, and research communication skills. The initial field of 30 participants narrowed during two highly competitive preliminary rounds, with the top 16 finalists moving on to the final competition. Information on the graduate student finalists can be found on the Three Minute Thesis website, as well as the competition order for next week’s final event.

“2021 has brought forth one of the best groups of graduate students to participate in the 3MT,” said Wayne Cochrane, graduate student success coordinator and advisor to 3MT competitors.

“It has truly been an honor to work with them as they progress through the competition; each student has shown not only the amazing work they are doing at Boise State, but also the drive and determination to build skills and constantly improve. I am so excited for our finals event and can’t wait for the community to learn more about our outstanding graduate students,” said Cochrane.

This year’s competitors offer presentations spanning academic disciplines from creative writing to biomolecular sciences, anthropology to geophysics, and much more. While competitors are challenged to present a condensed “elevator pitch” of their research, their topics are anything but small. Mehdi Bandali, 3MT finalist and doctoral student in the Electrical and Computer Engineering program, describes his scholarship in three powerful words, “Let’s revolutionize healthcare!”

The competition not only allows students a professional development opportunity, but it also offers a platform to share their graduate scholarship with a broader audience.

“It is vital that our graduate students are able to communicate their scholarship to a broad audience,” said dean of the Graduate College,Tammi Vacha-Haase. “I am so impressed by these graduate students, not only in their delivery of the information, but also the clear impact their research and creative activities have on our state, national, and around the world.”

“I decided to participate in the 3MT competition to gain experience presenting my research in a way that provokes thought and interest among an academic and nonacademic audience,” said Rachel Jeffries, finalist and criminal justice master’s student.

The Three Minute Thesis promises an exciting display of graduate scholarship and an event that showcases the high-level scholars in Boise State’s graduate community. Winners of the final competition will earn a berth to the statewide 3MT competition, where they will compete with students from University of Idaho and Idaho State University for additional cash prizes and state bragging rights.

Attend this year’s virtual competition and support graduate scholarship at Boise State! Those interested in attending can access the zoom webinar link at