Say it in 3 Minutes


On May 8, a total of 12 graduate students from Portland State University, University of Oregon, Oregon Health & Science University, and Oregon State University competed in the 2015 Statewide ChampionshipThree Minute Thesis Competition.” They represented the 1st, 2nd, and People’s Choice winners from their respective institutions.

The Three-Minute Thesis
The Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) is an academic competition developed in 2008 by the University of Queensland, Australia, for master’s and doctoral students. It has since spread to 200 universities in 18 countries. Students participating in the competition develop academic, presentation, and research communication skills by consolidating their research and presenting it to a non-specialist audience in just three minutes and one static slide. That is only 180 seconds!


PSU students competing in statewide competition. (Left to right) Taylor Sharpe, Yu-Shan Wang and Adrienne Godschalx

PSU campus competition
Each university held a campus competition prior to the statewide event. Ten PSU students presented in our preliminary round competition in April, and eight advanced to PSU’s May 8 final round competition.

  • 1st Place: Taylor Sharpe, mechanical engineering student of Professor Evan Thomas presented on “Shining a light on E coli: finding fluorescent fiends.” Taylor’s presentation.
  • 2nd Place: Yu-Shan Wang, electrical and computer engineering student of Professor Rob Daasch, presented on “Designing manufacturable integrated circuits fast and cheap.” Yu-Shan’s presentation.


    Adrienne Godschalx, PSU winner of People’s Choice Award (left) and Margaret Everett, Dean of Graduate Studies at PSU (right)

  • People’s Choice: Adrienne Godschalx, biology student of Professor Daniel Ballhorn, presented on “One plant, many mutualists.” Adrienne’s presentation.

Winners received campus cash awards and went on to compete in the State Championship for additional cash awards.

audience 3mt

Audience at Statewide Competition

Statewide competition
The statewide competition was fierce. The audience filled the room at the Collaborative Life Sciences Building (CLSB). All student presenters were articulate and engaging.


Yu-Shan Wang, People’s Choice winner at Statewide Competition (left) and her advisor Professor Rob Daasch (right)

The first and second place awards went to students from OHSU and OSU respectively, but it was Yu-Shan Wang from PSU that won the People’s Choice Award at the Statewide Competition.

For details on rules and judging criteria, please visit:

Three-Minute Thesis Competition for faculty?
During the reception, some of us commented on how challenging we would have found it to present our dissertation work in just three minutes. That gave Margaret Everett, Dean of Graduate Studies at PSU, the idea to hold a competition for PSU faculty to present original dissertation work in three minutes to student judges. Worth considering?

More than three minutes
I want to congratulate all of our students who participated in the campus and statewide competition. A thank you as well to Margaret Everett, her staff, our faculty and to the graduate deans, faculty and staffs at OHSU, OSU and UO for all they did to make this happen. I hope more PSU faculty and students will participate in future competitions.

Let us not forget that behind each three-minute presentation were countless hours of work. There are hundreds of more stories of student success than time to highlight in a three-minute thesis competition. I wish to acknowledge the scholarly work and pursuits of thousands of PSU graduate students supported by the opportunities provided by our dedicated faculty.


One thought on “Say it in 3 Minutes

  1. Reblogged this on Science Martini and commented:
    The 3 Minute Thesis Competition was a wonderful way to practice distilling down my research to the underlying story. Now I describe my research in conversation with anyone with greater ease because of this opportunity. I recommend participating in next year’s competition. Go Vikings!


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