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Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) Competition 

An 80,000 word thesis would take 9 hours to present. Their time limit...3 minutes. 

This Fall 2017, FAU's Graduate College hosted the University's second annual Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) Competition. This exciting opportunity is open to any active, enrolled FAU graduate student in good academic standing with the University. This competition provides all participants with a unique and invaluable professional development experience and championship winners are awarded graduate student research scholarships and awards up to $2,500, with the possibility to win up to $5,500 to support one's graduate student research.

Congratulations to the 2017 FAU 3MT® Championship Winners!

The University’s second annual 3MT® Championship took place Friday, October 20, at 6:30 p.m. at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute Auditorium, Boca Raton campus. 

What is 3MT®?

The 3MT® competition celebrates the exciting research conducted by graduate students. Developed by The University of Queensland (UQ), the exercise cultivates students’ academic, presentation, and research communication skills. The competition supports their capacity to effectively explain their research in three minutes, in language appropriate to a non-specialist audience.

The first 3MT® competition was held at the University of Queensland in 2008 with 160 students competing. In 2009 and 2010 the 3MT® competition was promoted to other Australian and New Zealand universities and enthusiasm for the concept grew. Since 2011, the popularity of the competition has increased and 3MT® competitions are now held in over 170 universities across more than 18 countries worldwide.

Why Participate?

Skills development for research candidates

The exercise develops academic, presentation and research communication skills, while developing research candidates’ ability to effectively explain their research in language appropriate to a non-specialist audience.

Building a research culture in schools and institutes

3MT® provides a valuable opportunity for research higher degree candidates to come together, get to know one another, and talk about their research. It also provides a supportive environment in which schools and institutes can provide presentation skills training.

Building external relations for the University

3MT® winners may go on to represent FAU at national and international 3MT® competitions, which provides an excellent networking and professional development opportunity. Previous 3MT® finalists have benefited from invitations to a variety of other networking events following their participation in the competition.

2017 FAU 3MT® Three Minute Thesis Championship Winner

Boris Tezak 

"Sea Turtle Sex Ratios in a Changing Climate"

FAU 3MT® Championship Winner and People's Choice Winner and Heat 7 People's Choice Winner.

Doctoral candidate, Integrative Biology
Charles E. Schmidt College of Science 
Advisor: Dr. Jeanette Wyneken



Keith Murphy
"Using Light to Control Meal Size"

FAU 3MT® Championship First Runner-Up and Heat 1 Second Runner‐Up
Doctoral candidate, Integrative Biology 
Charles E. Schmidt College of Science 
Advisor: Dr. Ken Dawson‐Scully & Dr. William Ja

Bryan Conklin
"Designing a Brain‐Computer-Interface that Improves Memory"

FAU 3MT® Championship Second Runner-Up and Heat 7 Second Runner‐Up
Doctoral candidate, Complex Systems and Brian Science
Charles E. Schmidt College of Science  
Advisor: Dr. Steven Bressler 

Emily Stark
"The Nose Knows: Applications in Machine Olfaction"

FAU 3MT® Heat 7 Overall Winner
Doctoral candidate, Experimental Psychology 
Charles E. Schmidt College of Science
Advisor: Dr. Elan Barenholtz 

Cristina Pimenta
"Democracy in China: Paradox or Possibility?"

FAU 3MT® Heat 3 Overall Winner; Heat 3 
People's Choice Winner

Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters 

Julia Roblyer
"Smell‐O-Vision: Using Human Odorant Binding Protein to Measure  Landfill Odors"

FAU 3MT® Heat 2 First Runner‐Up
College of Engineering and Computer Science

Brian McMahon
"Early Warning Systems: Predicting Student Success"

FAU 3MT® Heat 5 First Runner‐Up
College of Education 

Natalie Bermudez 
"Exploring Moral Comfort in Nurses" 

FAU 3MT® Heat 6 First Runner‐Up
Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing 

Marisa Martinez
"Forecasting the Future of Coastal Ecosystems: A Bird's Eye View"

FAU 3MT® Heat 1 First Runner‐Up
Charles E. Schmidt College of Science 

Nicole Reid
"Game Time"

FAU 3MT® Heat 5 Overall Winner
College of Education 

Joseph Niederhauser
"The Secret Lives of Sparrows"

FAU 3MT® Heat 4 First Runner‐Up
Charles E. Schmidt College of Science 

Kirstie Tandberg
"Marine Natural Products as Cancer Therapies: Screening for Survivin Inhibitors"

FAU 3MT® Heat 8 Second Runner‐Up
Charles E. Schmidt College of Science

Nandini Singh
"Transformers of the Sugar Code"

FAU 3MT® Heat 1 Overall Winner; Heat 1 People's Choice Winner
Charles E. Schmidt College of Science

Breanna DeGroot
"Movement and Habitat use of Spotted Eagle Rays throughout Florida"

FAU 3MT® Heat 8 First Runner‐Up (tie)
Charles E. Schmidt College of Science  

Mikhail Guseynov
"The Association Between Positive Mentality and Academic Success"

FAU 3MT® Heat 6 Overall Winner; Heat 6 People's Choice Winner
College of Business 

Rachel Bladow
"Sea Turtle Development in a Changing Climate: Goldilocks Temperatures are Hard to Find"

FAU 3MT® Heat 4 Overall Winner; Heat 4 People's Choice Winner
Charles E. Schmidt College of Science 

Bob Halstead 
"Connecting the Dots in the Circle of Life: A Fish Story"

FAU 3MT® Heat 8 First Runner‐Up (tie)
Charles E. Schmidt College of Science

Nicholas Davenport
"Mind Body 1:  Training the Brain by Training the Body"

FAU 3MT® Heat 5 Second Runner‐Up
College of Education

Rachel Saless  
"Singing Behavior in the Northern Cardinal"

FAU 3MT® Heat 4 Second Runner‐Up
Charles E. Schmidt College of Science

Malissa Sanon 
"Who’s Your Cody?"

FAU 3MT® Heat 5 People's Choice Winner
College of Education

Eric Nieves
"Multiple‐Vehicle Based Underwater Sensing"

FAU 3MT® Heat 2 Overall Winner; Heat 2 People's Choice Winner
College of Engineering and Computer Science 

Felicia Cooper
"Sudden Death due to Pulmonary Embolism Arising from Occult  Ovarian Cancer"

FAU 3MT® Heat 7 First Runner‐Up
Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine

Gabriela Tortoledo
"Marianne from the Tropics: Finding the Feminist Between the Lines"

FAU 3MT® Heat 3 First Runner‐Up
Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters 

Michael Miller
"Diffusion of Mission-Related Investing by University and Foundation Endowments"

FAU 3MT® Heat 6 Second Runner‐Up
College for Design and Social Inquiry

Daniel Creed  
"You Are What You...Read"

FAU 3MT® Heat 3 Second Runner‐Up
Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters 

Brandon McHenry
"Zombie Bacteria: Understanding the Viable but Nonculturable State of Vibrio vulnificus"

FAU 3MT® Heat 8 Overall Winner; Heat 8 People's Choice Winner
Charles E. Schmidt College of Science



  • A single static PowerPoint slide is permitted. No slide transitions, animations or 'movement' of any description are allowed. The slide is to be presented from the beginning of the oration.
  • No additional electronic media (e.g. sound and video files) are permitted.
  • No additional props (e.g. costumes, musical instruments, laboratory equipment) are permitted.
  • Presentations are limited to 3 minutes maximum and competitors exceeding 3 minutes are disqualified.
  • Presentations are to be spoken word (i.e. no poems, raps or songs).
  • Presentations are to commence from the stage.
  • Presentations are considered to have commenced when a presenter starts their presentation through either movement or speech.
  • The decision of the adjudicating panel is final.

FAU's 3MT® Competition with Aaron Shapiro

How to Judge the FAU 3MT® Competition with Aaron Shapiro

Judging Criteria

At both the Heats and Championship, competitors will be judged on the criteria listed below. Judges can download the 3MT® Judging and Coaching Handbook here.

Comprehension and Content

  • Did the presentation provide an understanding of the background to the research question being addressed and its significance?
  • Did the presentation clearly describe the key results of the research including conclusions and outcomes?
  • Did the presentation follow a clear and logical sequence?
  • Was the thesis topic, key results and research significance and outcomes communicated in language appropriate to a non-specialist audience?
  • Did the speaker avoid scientific jargon, explain terminology and provide adequate background information to illustrate points?
  • Did the presenter spend adequate time on each element of their presentation - or did they elaborate for too long on one aspect or was the presentation rushed?

Engagement and Communication

  • Did the oration make the audience want to know more?
  • Was the presenter careful not to trivialize or generalize their research?
  • Did the presenter convey enthusiasm for their research?
  • Did the presenter capture and maintain their audience's attention?
  • Did the speaker have sufficient stage presence, eye contact and vocal range; maintain a steady pace, and have a confident stance?
  • Did the PowerPoint slide enhance the presentation - was it clear, legible, and concise?

Tools for Students

Congratulations 2016 3MT® Championship Winners!

Congratulations to the inaugural 3MT® Championship winner, Mickelene Hoggard, whose research is titled, "Snail Spit to Medicine." Mickelene is a doctoral candidate in chemistry from the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science. 

Download the 3MT® Championship program booklet.

Watch 2016 3MT® Heat Winners

Watch FAU's interview with inaugural 3MT® Champion, Mickelene Hoggard

Watch the 3MT® Championship Red Carpet Interviews


Get Involved


We are seeking coaches! Faculty, staff, and other professionals who would be willing to serve as an individual or group coach and has experience with public speaking and mentoring students. You are welcome to nominate coaches as well. Download the 3MT® Coaching and Judging Handbook.


FAU’s 3MT® event will greatly benefit from your help. Volunteer opportunities are available in a variety of areas, including event day logistics during Preliminary Heats and the Final Competition.


Contact us at 3mt@fau.edu or 561-297-4740. More information on the 3MT® Program can be found on threeminutethesis.org.


Event Details

2017 3MT® Championship

Date: Friday, October 20, 2017

Time: Event begins at 6:30 p.m. - sharp. (Doors open at 6:00 p.m. and red carpet begins, followed by a reception).

Location: Friedberg Auditorium of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, Boca Raton campus

3MT® Preliminary Heats

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. (Science)
2:00 - 4:00 p.m. (Engineering)
6:00 - 8:00 p.m. (Arts and Letters)

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. (Science)
2:00 - 4:00 p.m. (Education)

Thursday, October 5, 2017

10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. (Business, Design and Social Inquiry, and Nursing)
4:00 - 6:00 p.m. (Science and Medicine)

October 3-5 Heats located in Majestic Palm Room, Boca Raton campus.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

4:00 - 6:00 p.m. (Science, Education, Engineering)
Johnson Education Center Auditorium, Harbor Branch Oceanographic campus


Championship Winner*
First Runner-Up
$1,500 People's Choice*
$1,000 Second Runner-Up

Heat Winner
First Runner-Up
People's Choice*
Second Runner-Up

Each audience member gets one vote by paper ballot
Additional scholarships and prizes may become available depending upon sponsorships.

*$1,000 of the $3,500 Championship scholarship will be used to fund travel to the regional 3MT® Competition in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Championship Scholarships  generously sponsored by:

Kelly Family Scholarship Fund (Championship Winner)

Kelley Kronenberg Attorneys at Law; Tom Mersch, ESQ., Partner (First Runner-Up and Second Runner-Up)  

Advanced Pediatrics of Boca; Dr. Patricia Anastasio, M.D., F.A.A.P. (People's Choice)

Workshops and Coaching

Workshop dates are subject to change due to University closure.

Interested in attending workshops and coaching sessions for the 3MT® Competition? See the listing of workshops available below. 

Introduction to the 3MT® Competition

An overview of the 3MT® Competition, including deadlines, rules, judging criteria, and tips on how to succeed. 

August 3, 2017
4:00 - 5:15 p.m.
Room CM 128, Boca Raton campus

August 16, 2017
2:00 - 3:15 p.m.
Room CM 128, Boca Raton campus

August 23, 2017
6:00 - 7:15 p.m.
Room CM 125, Boca Raton campus

RSVP here!

How to Create a 3MT® Static Slide

What should you include on your single static PowerPoint slide? Learn about developing your static slide and more! 

August 30, 2017
3:30 - 5:00 p.m.
Room EE 106, Boca Raton campus

RSVP here!

3MT® Stage Presence Workshops

Preparation. Presentation. Performance. Learn how to draw in an audience with clear communication of complicated ideas, physical presence, and timing. These workshops are not sequential, the same topics will be covered at each session. Presented by Lead with Your Voice.

September 6, 2017
2:00 p.m.
Room CM 130, Boca Raton campus
To be rescheduled due to campus closure.

September 12, 2017
6:00 p.m.
Room CM 128, Boca Raton campus

September 25, 2017
4:00 p.m.
Room CM 130, Boca Raton campus

RSVP here!

3MT® Informal Practice and Feedback

Competitors have the opportunity to present informally and get feedback from a panel of FAU students, faculty, and staff. 

September 20, 2017
4:00 - 7:00 p.m.
Room BU 120, Boca Raton campus

RSVP here!

Additional workshops to be added! Please contact 3mt@fau.edu, or speak with your advisor, if you are interested in individual coaching.



The Three Minute Thesis Competition (3MT®) is an academic research communication competition developed by The University of Queensland (UQ), Australia.

 Last Modified 11/8/17