Wright State graduate students to test communication skills in new, timed thesis competition

Wright State University graduate students working on their thesis or dissertation face a common challenge — explaining complex and nuanced subject matter in simple and concise terms that novices can understand in a short amount of time.

That is the premise behind the Wright State College of Graduate Programs and Honors Studies’ inaugural Three Minute Thesis/Dissertation competition, or 3MT, which will take place Tuesday, Feb. 21, from 5 to 7 p.m. in the Student Union Endeavour Room.

“How to explain your research ideas simply and in a way that is engaging to your audience is a universal challenge for graduate students,” said Shu Schiller, Ph.D., interim dean of the college. “It can be very hard to do. That’s why this is such a good exercise for these students to engage in.”

The average master’s thesis or doctoral dissertation is tens of thousands of words in length and would take several hours to read aloud. Students participating in the 3MT competition will be allotted three minutes.

“It should be a great opportunity to learn from the best and craft an effective ‘elevator speech,’” said Schiller.

The graduate academic affairs committee evaluated student submissions and selected 11 students to compete in the 3MT. Students will test their ability to efficiently and effectively communicate their thesis or dissertation before a panel of expert judges.

The panel will evaluate and select one first-place, two second-place and three third-place winners. Those in attendance will also have the opportunity to vote for a “People’s Choice Award.”

More information on the 3MT competition is available on the graduate programs’ website.

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