A Powerpoint slide announcing the first place winner and a small video of a woman laughing

On April 19, the Caltech Library and Graduate Studies Office hosted the 2021 Three Minute Thesis Final Event and it was an exciting competition with twelve talented finalists. The event was kicked off by University Librarian Kara Whatley and led by master of ceremonies Brian Brophy. The finalists then had three minutes to deliver a presentation on their research for the chance to win the grand prize. After a visit from previous people’s choice winners Utkarsh Mital and Michael Wong, the winners were announced. Congratulations to the star of the evening Mia de los Reyes (Astrophysics), who won BOTH the $3000 first prize and the $500 people’s choice award for her presentation, “A (Galactic) Archaeological Dig.” The $2000 second prize went to Anand Muthusamy (Chemistry) for his presentation “Biosensors for Addictive Drugs” and the $1000 third prize went to Shane Shahrestani (Medical Engineering) for this presentation on the “Eddy Current Damping Stroke Sensor.” Thank you to all who participated and attended!

A rendering of atoms and the text "3 Minutes" leads via arrow to the text "$3000." Smaller text reads: "oin our 2021 Three Minute Thesis Competition! Share your research for a chance at the grand prize."
Originally conceived by the University of Queensland
, the Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) competition challenges Caltech graduate students to explain their research in an engaging and clear three-minute talk intended for a non-specialist audience. Jointly sponsored by the Caltech Library and the Graduate Studies Office, the final event for 3MT 2021 will take place online on Monday, April 19, 2021 at 5:00 pm (Pacific) as part of the campus Earth Week celebration. Given Caltech's prominence in science and engineering communities, we feel it's important to give Caltech graduate students the opportunity to practice communicating their science in ways that will resonate and inspire. Register to attend the 3MT 2021 Final Event here. Sign up to enter the competition below.

With the cooperation and co-sponsorship of ACS Publishing, EBSCO, Elsevier, Science of Synthesis/Thieme Chemistry, and Wiley, there will be four prizes awarded: $3,000 for first place, $2,000 for second place, $1,000 for third place, and $500 for the audience favorite chosen by attendees. We are pleased to partner with Caltech Theater and Public Programming for the virtual final event on April 19, 2021. Judges include faculty and administrators from across Caltech, and the entries will be screened by a panel of librarians and campus communicators. Initial submissions (audio/video or audio only) must be received by March 23, 2021 at 5:00 pm (Pacific). Finalists will be notified by April 7, 2021. 

Caltech Library hosted Three Minute Thesis competitions in 2016 and 2018. Videos of the presentations are available on Vimeo.

General Competition Rules:

  • Caltech 3MT is open to all Caltech graduate students in good standing who are G2 and above. 
  • 3MT presentations must communicate original research to a non-specialist audience in a clear and engaging way. 
  • Presentations should be spoken work (e.g. no poems, raps, or songs) with no additional props or additional electronic media (e.g. sound and video files).

Initial Submission Rules:

  • To enter the competition, graduate students must submit a three-minute audio or video file of their presentation. 
  • Entries must be received by 5 pm PDT on March 23, 2021.
  • All entries will be reviewed by a panel of Caltech administrators and faculty, and finalists will be invited to give their presentations at a live Zoom event on April 19, 2021 at 5 pm PDT. 

Final Presentation Rules:

  • Final presentations should include one PowerPoint slide as a background. Presenters may refer to this background during their presentation, but the background slide must remain static during the presentation.
  • Final presentations are limited to three minutes.
  • Presenter must be visible during the final presentation.

Please note: competitors *will not* be judged on video/ recording quality or editing capabilities. Judging will focus on the presentation and the ability to communicate research to a non-specialist audience.  Final presentations will be judged on the presentation, the ability to communicate research to a non-specialist audience, and 3MT PowerPoint slide. 

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