Grad students have three minutes to present their theses

These graduate students have completed their theses or projects over the last year or more. Their next assignment is to whittle that down to three minutes.

Ten UW-La Crosse graduate students will take that challenge in the university’s second annual Three-Minute Thesis (3MT) competition at 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 7, in 1400 Centennial Hall.

“The event highlights the diversity of our graduate programs and the excellence of our students,” says Meredith Thomsen, UWL’s Graduate Studies Director. Presenters will represent seven graduate programs at UWL. The event is free and open to all.

Thomsen says the 3MT helps students hone their verbal and visual communication skills. “They must distill the essential elements of their project into a short, clear presentation,” she explains. “It’s harder than you might think.” The students can enhance their presentations with one PowerPoint slide.

Four off-campus representatives will judge the competition that focuses on the quality of the communication, including clear content and audience engagement.

Students participating, their graduate programs and titles are:

  • Nick Faulds, adapted physical education, “Perceptions of Universally Designed Adventure Programming”
  • Yuxin Liu, software engineering, “A Web-Based Application for Sales Prediction”
  • Shelby Fitzgerald, school psychology, “Mental Health Screening and Academic Outcomes in Middle School”
  • Kristy Pearson, public health in community health education, “Getting Back to Nature: An Inspirational Challenge”
  • Michael Schiller, physical therapy, “Patellafemoral and Patellar Tendon Stress During Forward and Backward Lunging”
  • Anna Hilger, microbiology, “Effects of Oil Contamination on the Microbial Community Structure and Function in the La Crosse River Marsh”
  • Celia DeVitis, physical education, “Social Networking to Increase Physical Activity Levels in Young Adults”
  • Kendal Ursin, school psychology, “Trust as a Protective Factor Against Teacher Burnout in Schools”
  • Samantha Petitte, therapeutic recreation, “A Horse is More Than a Horse (Of Course)”
  • Jordan Recker, microbiology, “Evaluation of Copper Alloy Surfaces for Inactivation of the Tulane Virus and Human Noroviruses”

Judges from the community include:

  • Mike Desmond, senior development director of the Boys and Girl’s Clubs of La Crosse
  • Karrie Jackelen, deputy district director for Rep. Ron Kind
  • Paraic Kenny, director of the Kabara Cancer Research Initiative at Gundersen Health System
  • Taylor Wilmoth, development specialist with the UWL Foundation

The student winning the competition will receive $500, first runner-up will earn $300, second runner-up takes home $100, and the people’s choice recipient receives $300.

The idea for the now worldwide popular competition was born at the University of Queensland in 2008. It came about when the state of Queensland was suffering severe drought. To conserve water, residents were encouraged to time their showers, with many using a three-minute egg timer fixed to the wall in their bathroom. The dean of the university’s graduate school put two and two together and the competition was born. Since 2011, the competition’s popularity has increased and 3MT events are now in more than 350 universities in 58 countries.


If you go—

What: Three-Minute Thesis (3MT)

Who: UWL graduate students

When: 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 7

Where: 1400 Centennial Hall, UW-La Crosse          

Admission: Free