Doctoral Student Earns People's Choice Award at Three Minute Thesis Competition | Kent State University

Doctoral Student Earns People's Choice Award at Three Minute Thesis Competition

2017’s “People’s Choice” award winner at the Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition was William Kelvin, a part-time instructor in the School of Communication Studies who is working toward his Ph.D. in Communication and Information. This was Kelvin's third time at 3MT, and his topic was the Shen Yun Chinese dance company and its complex media and public relations machine.

“It’s the perfect example of a social movement that has really professionalized itself,” says Kelvin.

In his presentation, he focused on being both audience-centered and meeting the judges expectations.

“You have to walk a line to do both,” he says. “I really tried to keep it personal and in narrative form. I think people liked the topic because it was more human interest and not esoteric or science-based.”

Kelvin, too, found 3MT a valuable experience.

“Going through the process has made me more knowledgeable about what a research project is supposed to look like. It’s challenging to learn how to write ‘tight’ to get to the core narrative, and to talk to lay people - to give them enough information to understand the context without taking too much time to do it. Both of those things were very rewarding.”

(This content first appeared on the Division of Graduate Studies' blog FLASH FORWARD: Stories and Resources for Tomorrow’s Graduate Students.)

More about the 3MT

3MT was developed at the University of Queensland and is now offered at over 170 universities. The exercise develops academic, presentation, and research communication skills and supports the development of graduate students' capacity to effectively explain their research in three minutes in a language appropriate to an intelligent, but non-specialist audience. 3MT is not an exercise in trivializing or 'dumbing-down' research but forces competitors to consolidate their ideas and crystalize their research discoveries. 

The trademarked name of this event is Three Minute Thesis, but students are able to present research they are conducting for a thesis, dissertation, terminal project, or any other research project they are engaged in. Students may present on research that is in progress. All currently enrolled graduate students are eligible to participate and compete for cash prizes. Students are given just three minutes and one powerpoint slide that they can use to discuss their research in an engaging and concise manner.