Penn 3MT

Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) is a competition for doctoral and research students to develop and showcase their research communication skills through brief, 3-minute presentations. 

2020-2021 Penn 3MT Competition

Penn 3MT is a university-sponsored competitive speaking competition designed to showcase graduate student research in three-minute talks to a general audience. This is a terrific opportunity for graduate students engaged in substantive original research to develop communication skills and share their work with faculty, students, and staff from across the University.

  • Submissions Accepted: February 9 – March 15. Deadline extended to March 18!
  • Research Communications Workshops February 15-March 5.
  • Finalists will be announced: March 19
  • The top finalists will advance to the final round of competition, which will take place between March 22-30, 2021 online.

In addition to bragging rights, prizes will be awarded to the top three winners and an audience choice winner.

To enter, students must submit a video of their three-minute talk to Penn 3MT (details below). From those submissions, finalists will be chosen to compete in the campuswide online competition. Colleagues and friends of the competitors are warmly invited to attend and vote for the audience choice winner!

2021 3MT Winners
First Place
Christiana Kallon Kelly
The Innovation Generation: Students, Teachers, and Technology for National Development in Sierra Leone
Graduate School of Education

Presenter: Christiana Kallon Kelly, PhD Candidate, Division of Literacy, Culture, and International Education
Title: The Innovation Generation: Students, Teachers, and Technology for National Development in Sierra Leone
School: Graduate School of Education
Website: https://pdri.upenn.edu/bio/christiana-kallon-kelly/

Second Place
Nicky Bell
Better Help for the Rust Belt
School of Arts & Sciences

Presenter: Nicky Bell, PhD Candidate, Political Science
Title: Better Help for the Rust Belt
School: School of Arts & Sciences
Website: https://web.sas.upenn.edu/belln/

Third Place
Gnana Saurya Vankayalapati
Nanocellulose fibers as reinforcement to improve strength and toughness of structural materials
School of Engineering & Applied Sciences

Presenter: Gnana Saurya Vankayalapati, PhD Student, Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics
Title: Nanocellulose fibers as reinforcement to improve strength and toughness of structural materials
School: School of Engineering & Applied Sciences
Website: https://www.linkedin.com/in/gnanasaurya/

Third Place
Sarah Carson
The New Girls' Club: Political Party Culture and the Women Changing the Face of U.S. Politics
School of Arts & Sciences

Presenter: Sarah Carson, PhD Student, Anthropology
Title: The New Girls' Club: Political Party Culture and the Women Changing the Face of U.S. Politics
School: School of Arts & Sciences
Website: https://anthropology.sas.upenn.edu/people/sarah-carson

Audience Choice
Peixin Mo
Hollywood is threatened by the rise of the Chinese film industry. Should Hollywood blame itself?
School of Arts & Sciences, Wharton

Presenter: Peixin Mo, Master of Arts, International/Global Studies
Title: Hollywood is threatened by the rise of the Chinese film industry. Should Hollywood blame itself?
School: School of Arts & Sciences, Wharton
Website: https://www.linkedin.com/in/peixinmo/

2021 Presentations
Better Help for the Rust Belt

Presenter: Nicky Bell, PhD Candidate, Political Science
Title: Better Help for the Rust Belt
School: School of Arts & Sciences
Website: https://web.sas.upenn.edu/belln/

Electrifying Chemistry: Nanostructured Catalysts for Electrons to Fuels

Presenter: Daniel Rosen, PhD Candidate, Materials Science and Engineering
Title: Electrifying Chemistry: Nanostructured Catalysts for Electrons to Fuels
School: School of Engineering & Applied Sciences
Website: https://web.sas.upenn.edu/cbmurray/wiki/daniel-rosen/

Filtering Water One Molecule At A Time

Presenter: Jothi Priyanka Thiruraman, PhD Candidate, Electrical Engineering
Title: Filtering Water One Molecule At A Time
School: School of Engineering & Applied Sciences
Website: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jpthiruraman/

Hollywood is threatened by the rise of the Chinese film industry. Should Hollywood blame itself?

Presenter: Peixin Mo, Master of Arts, International/Global Studies
Title: Hollywood is threatened by the rise of the Chinese film industry. Should Hollywood blame itself?
School: School of Arts & Sciences
Website: https://www.linkedin.com/in/peixinmo/

Immigrant Volunteering & Integration

Presenter: A. Stefanie Ruiz Sportmann, PhD Student, Social Welfare
Title: Immigrant Volunteering & Integration
School: Social Policy & Practice
Website: https://www.sp2.upenn.edu/people/view/anne-stefanie-ruiz-sportmann/

Mexican Experimental Short Filmmaking: Helio (2018)

Presenter: Dustin Dill, PhD Candidate, Hispanic & Portuguese Studies
Title: Mexican Experimental Short Filmmaking: Helio (2018) 
School: School of Arts & Sciences
Website: https://www.linkedin.com/in/dustin-dill-3623181b4/
Video with Spanish subtitles: https://vimeo.com/527019959/a85ec13658

Nanocellulose fibers as reinforcement to improve strength and toughness of structural materials

Presenter: Gnana Saurya Vankayalapati, PhD Student, Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics
Title: Nanocellulose fibers as reinforcement to improve strength and toughness of structural materials
School: School of Engineering & Applied Sciences
Website: https://www.linkedin.com/in/gnanasaurya/

Temporal markers identify impact of public health emergencies

Presenter: Karan Wanchoo, Master's Student, Electrical Engineering
Title: Temporal markers identify impact of public health emergencies
School: School of Engineering & Applied Sciences
Website: https://www.linkedin.com/in/karan-wanchoo-21b94240/

The Innovation Generation: Students, Teachers, and Technology for National Development in Sierra Leone

Presenter: Christiana Kallon Kelly, PhD Candidate, Division of Literacy, Culture, and International Education
Title: The Innovation Generation: Students, Teachers, and Technology for National Development in Sierra Leone
School: Graduate School of Education
Website: https://pdri.upenn.edu/bio/christiana-kallon-kelly/

The New Girls' Club: Political Party Culture and the Women Changing the Face of U.S. Politics

Presenter: Sarah Carson, PhD Student, Anthropology
Title: The New Girls' Club: Political Party Culture and the Women Changing the Face of U.S. Politics
School: School of Arts & Sciences
Website: https://anthropology.sas.upenn.edu/people/sarah-carson

Watching Proteins In Ultrafast Motion

Presenter: Arusha Acharyya, PhD Candidate, Physical Chemisty
Title: Watching Proteins In Ultrafast Motion
School: School of Arts & Sciences
Website: https://www.linkedin.com/in/arusha-acharyya-6584b83b/

Why Should I Enter Penn 3MT?

The 3MT competition will teach you how to communicate effectively to specialists and non-specialists alike, preparing you to present your research at scholarly conferences and to take part in both academic and professional job markets.

  • Professional Development: Penn 3MT is a great opportunity for graduate students to practice sharing original research to general audiences. Participants have the opportunity to attend workshops and receive group and one-on-one coaching to develop oratorical skills, dynamic deliveries, and compelling content when presenting their academic research.
  • Networking: 3MT participants will have an opportunity to meet and engage with new faculty, staff, and students from across the University.
  • Impact: Participants have the opportunity to make the importance and relevance of their research visible to a non-specialist audience. Participants will can elect to have their presentation shared online, promoting both your own work and the value of graduate student research to a much wider audience.
  • Prizes: Everyone who submits a video will receive a Moleskin notebook and a water bottle from GAPSA! Please fill out the interest form below if you plan on submitting a video so we can collect your contact information. Judges will select a first, second, and third-place winner. There will also be an audience choice winner. Those four finalists will receive monetary prizes of at least $200.
Who Can Participate?

All graduate students enrolled in a full-time Masters or doctoral program at Penn who are engaged in substantive original research projects. Entries from all disciplines are welcome and encouraged.

Alumni who were awarded their degrees during 2020 are eligible to submit a video on their research completed while at Penn. 

In cases of presentation of a collaborative research project, the presenter’s contribution to the project must be salient and clearly specified.

If you are unsure of your eligibility or would like more information about 3MT, please contact gradcenter@upenn.edu.

How 3MT works

To enter, you must submit a three-minute video of your presentation by 11:59 p.m. (Eastern Time) on Monday, March 15, 2021. Deadline extended to Thursday, March 18, 2021!

Please complete the Penn 3MT Interest Form if you are interested in participating. Be sure to read through the Rules and Guidelines also before submitting your videos!

Competition Process

  • Students may submit their slide and video anytime between February 9 - March 10, 2021 for feedback from panelists. Box login required.
     Upload Video for Feedback
  • Research Communications Workshops offered by Penn Libraries and the Graduate Student Center will occur between February 15 - March 5, 2021. See our Events page for details.
  • Student videos submitted by the deadline of March 18 at 11:59 p.m., EST are reviewed by a panel of faculty and staff for compliance with the eligibility requirements. Box login required.
     Upload Video for Submission
  • Finalists are selected for the online competition by March 19, 2021.
  • Videos will be uploaded to our website between March 22 - 30, 2021 for judging.
  • On the basis of these presentations, four winners will be selected, three by the panel of judges and one “people’s choice” by audience members.

Judging and Selection

A panel of non-specialist faculty and staff judges will evaluate student presentations. Presentations will be evaluated based on clarity, comprehension, content, engagement, and communication.

Everyone who submits a video will receive a Moleskin notebook and a water bottle from GAPSA! Please fill out the interest form above if you plan on submitting a video so we can collect your contact information. Judges will select a first, second, and third-place winner. There will also be an audience choice winner. Those four finalists will receive monetary prizes of at least $200.

All decisions of the judging panel are final.

Rules and Guidelines
  • Video submissions 
    • Video should be submitted as an MP4 file if possible. A MOV file is also acceptable.
    • All video files should be named: “Title_of_talk.mp4” or “Title_of_talk.mov”. Please do not include your name or any other identifying information in the name of the video file.
    • At the very beginning of your video, please state your full name, graduate program, and the title of your presentation. The time it takes to do this will not be counted against the three minutes to present your research.
    • You will not be judged on your skills as a videographer, and you do not need to use professional video equipment. As long as the judges can see your slide/image, and the audio is clear and understandable, that is sufficient. You can record yourself in Zoom while sharing your slide and have your video on, for example. You may ask a friend or colleague for help creating your video, or you can get assistance and borrow equipment from the Vitale Digital Media Lab. You can also follow these tips for recording a presentation in Zoom. Here is one demonstrated on a Mac
      Upload Video for Feedback | Upload Video for Submission
  • Visuals: Presenters may use a single image or static PowerPoint slide (no Prezi or other presentation formats) to enhance their presentation
    • Students must create their slides themselves – they cannot ask someone else to design the slides. Use of PowerPoint templates is allowed.
    • Slides can include visual elements (charts, visualizations, photos, clip art, etc.) created by someone other than the student, as long as the slide credits the original creator.
    • Embedded audio, animations, and/or video clips (including but not limited to .gif, .avi, .mp4, .mp3, and .wmv file types) are NOT permitted.
       
  • Length and Timing: Presentations should be a maximum of three (3) minutes in length, commencing from the moment the speaker starts the presentation through movement or speech.
    • The presentation begins at the moment the speaker engages with the audience (if s/he starts with a hand clap, a gesture, or any other such engagement, prior to speaking, the clock begins at that time; if there is no such engagement the clock starts when the student begins speaking).
    • If the speaker continues past three minutes, points will be deducted from the final score, beginning with one point at 3:03, and one point every two additional seconds thereafter.
    • No props of any kind are permitted, and notes cannot be used during the presentation.
3MT Resources and Help Getting Started

Want some help getting started? In need of Inspiration? Check out the resources below!

3MT® Resources

Research Communications Workshops with Penn Libraries and CWiC
All events will be recorded and links provided here and in our YouTube Playlist.

Additional Resources