The competition cultivates doctoral students’ academic, presentation, and research communication skills and supports their capacity to effectively explain their research in a language appropriate to a non-specialist audience.
Stephen Formel (Ecology and Evolutionary Biology), Rebecca Moore (Linguistics), Jaelle Scheuerman (Computer Science), Laura Scott (Environmental Health Sciences), Rachel Wise (Neuroscience), and Hayley Woodward (Art History/Latin American Studies) each presented their research in three minutes with one static PowerPoint slide. The audience for the event was comprised of Tulane University staff, faculty, and undergraduate and graduate students, as well as President Michael Fitts and Provost Robin Forman.
Five judges – three from Tulane and two from the broader New Orleans community – selected Rachel Wise as the Grand Prize Winner for her presentation, “Strategies to Enhance Stem Cell Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis (MS)”. Stephen Formel won the People’s Choice award for his presentation, “Bringing Back Marshes with Bacteria”. Both individuals won cash prizes, courtesy of the Graduate Studies Student Association (GSSA).
As 2019’s Grand Prize Winner, Rachel will proceed to a regional competition in March of 2020 where she will represent Tulane at the Council of Southern Graduate Schools’ annual meeting in Birmingham, Alabama. Last year’s Tulane representative, Samantha Kurtz (Bioinnovation), won first place at the regional level.
The first Three Minute Thesis competition was held at the University of Queensland in Australia in 2008 with 160 students competing. Since then, the popularity of the competition has increased dramatically and Three Minute Thesis competitions are now held at over 600 universities in 65 countries.