UNT students challenged to present years of research in just three minutes

What: The University of North Texas' first 3MT®, or Three Minute Thesis, competition. Nine UNT doctoral students will each have three minutes to summarize their research methods and results of their dissertations, and discuss the significance of the results. First place, runner up and people's choice winners will receive cash prizes.

When: 2-4 p.m. Nov. 21 (Saturday)

Where: Room 255 of UNT's Eagle Student Services Center, 1147 Union Circle

Cost: Free

Contact: Daniela Balderas in UNT's Toulouse Graduate School at 940-565-2088 or Daniela.Balderas@unt.edu.

DENTON (UNT), Texas – Many University of North Texas doctoral students write dissertations that are 100 pages or longer. But on Nov. 21 (Saturday), nine students from the College of Arts and Sciences, College of Education and College of Engineering will each have three minutes to explain his or her research in the hope of winning cash prizes, during the Toulouse Graduate School's first Three Minute Thesis, or 3MT®, competition.

The free event will begin at 2 p.m. in Room 255 of UNT's Eagle Student Services Center, 1147 Union Circle.

In addition to giving a three-minute oration, each student may use one PowerPoint slide to effectively explain the research methodology, major findings and relevance of the research to a general audience.

"This is an excellent opportunity for students to learn how to present research without using technical language," said Joseph Oppong, associate dean of research and professional development for the Toulouse Graduate School. "Three Minute Thesis is not dumbing down the research, but is challenging students to consolidate their discoveries and present them with credibility."

Md Salah Uddin will receive his doctoral degree in mechanical and energy engineering in May. He will summarize his research on a molecular modeling tool that can be used to discover new rubber materials for automobiles.

He said he entered 3MT® "to share with the community what would be the long-term impact of my research with non-scientific language," adding that he usually uses lots of animation to explain the physical phenomena.

"With just one PowerPoint slide with no animation allowed, I have to take the role of an actor to substitute for animation," he said.

Heidi Cephus, a doctoral candidate in the Department of English, will discuss how Shakespeare's plays provided a direct response to those who criticized Shakespeare's theater and its "corporeal nature" for corrupting judgment.

"I think it is important for people in academia to be able to discuss their research in a straight-forward fashion," she said.

The judges at UNT's competition will grade the students based on comprehension and content of their presentation and their engagement with the audience and stage presence. The first place winner will receive $1,000, with the runner up receiving $750. The audience will choose the people's choice winner, who will receive $500, and the first and second place winners will also be eligible for this award.

The student receiving first place will represent UNT at the 3MT® competition at the annual conference of the Southern Council of Graduate Schools, which is scheduled for February in Charlotte, North Carolina. Universities from 15 states in addition to Texas are council members. The conference's 3MT® competition will consist of four preliminary rounds before the final round.

The first 3MT® competition was held at the University of Queensland in 2008. The competitions are now held at more than 200 universities around the world, including nearly 40 universities in the U.S.

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