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Three Minute Thesis at Nevada

Journalism Student Presenter

A Graduate Student Competition

Join us for the final competition rounds to learn about the exciting research impacts our graduate students are making.


Thursday, April 23, 2015

6:15 p.m.: Refreshments and a performance by the Nightingale String Quartet

7 p.m.: Competition Finals


Mathewson-IGT Knowledge Center, Wells Fargo Auditorium, Room 124


Graduate students will have three minutes to present their research with one presentation slide to a panel of judges.

Our finalists will be grouped by degree level:

  • Doctoral
  • Master's
  • Professional Projects


Metered parking is available in the lot north of the Whalen parking complex.

No Cost

Admission to the event is free.

2015 Finalists

Doctoral Students
  • Matt Gruner, Ph.D., Cell and Molecular Biology
    Who's in Charge, the Belly or the Brain?
  • Jesse Mayer, Ph.D., Biochemistry
    Desert Diesel: Engineering Opuntia as a Low-Input Biofuel Crop
  • Augustus Merwin, Ph.D., Materials Science and Engineering
    What is the Purple Stuff?
  • Jessica Rafferty, Ph.D., Education
    Profoundly Gifted Students’ Perceptions of Virtual Classrooms: A Phenomenological Case Study
  • Jaclyn Stephens, Ph.D., Psychology
    Can We Enhance Everyday Cognition Using Memory Training and Non-Invasive Neurostimulation?
  • Pamela Young, Ph.D., Education
    Family Stress and Early Intervention for Families with Infants and Toddlers Who are Medically Fragile
Master's Students
  • Keith Heidecorn, M.S., Hydrology
    Progress Towards Understanding Mercury (Hg) in the Atmosphere
  • Tara Langus, M.S., Biology
    Maternal Microbes and Pathogenic Vulnerability: Effects of Plant Chemistry and Egg Microbes on the Immune Response of a Specialist Caterpillar
  • Laura Rocke, M.A., History
    Reinterment at the African Burial Ground: A 21st Century Reclamation of Agency
Professional Project Students
  • Patricia Bobek
    Cross the Line: A Documentary About What It's Like to be a Teenager Across Different Cultures
  • Christopher Dugan
    Analysis and Cost of Frequent ED Users in Washoe County
  • Morgan Nazemian
    Compassion in Action: Design and Implementation of an 11th Hour Program
  • Miranda Smith
    Compassion Fatigue Curriculum Infusion: A Three-Part Workshop for Social Work Students

The top three contestants from groups A1, B1, A2, B2, and the top six contestants from group C were awarded $300 and will compete in the final round.

Liberal Arts/Education/Business

  • Group A1: Doctoral Dissertation Students
  • Group B1: Master's Thesis Students

Monday, Mar 2, 2015 at 6 p.m. in the Graduate Student Lounge, JCSU 301

Sciences/Engineering/Mathematics/Health Sciences

  • Group A2: Doctoral Dissertation Students
  • Group B2: Master's Thesis Students

Tuesday, Mar 3, 2015 at 6 p.m. in the Graduate Student Lounge, JCSU 301

Professional Project (Business/EdD/Journalism/MSN/DNP, etc.)

  • Group C: Professional Project Students

Wednesday, Mar 4, 2015 at 6 p.m. in the Graduate Student Lounge, JCSU 301

In the final round you'll compete against the six finalists at your degree level:

  • Group A — Doctoral Students
  • Group B — Master's Students
  • Group C — Professional Projects Students

Thursday, Apr 23, 2015 at 7 p.m. in the Wells Fargo Auditorium (MIKC)

Winners from each group of the final round will be awarded as follows:
First Place: $600
Second Place: $400
Third Place: $300


  1. A single static PowerPoint slide is permitted.
  2. Include your presentation title and your full name on the slide.
  3. No slide transitions, animations or on-screen movement of any description are allowed.
  4. The slide is to be presented from the beginning of the oration.
  5. No additional electronic media (e.g. sound and video files) are permitted.
  6. No additional props (e.g. costumes, musical instruments, laboratory equipment) are permitted.
  7. Presentations are limited to three minutes maximum; competitors exceeding three minutes are disqualified.
  8. Presentations are to be spoken word (e.g. no poems, raps or songs).
  9. Presentations are to commence from the stage.
  10. Presentations are considered to have commenced when a presenter starts their presentation through either movement or speech.
  11. The decision of the adjudicating panel is final.


  1. Abstracts are limited to 250 words.


  1. Students must be graduate students to enter the competition.
  2. While advancement to candidacy is not required, students must have made significant progress towards completion of their dissertation, thesis, or professional project in order to enter the competition.
  3. Winners will be announced approximately one week after the competition.
  4. You will be asked to sign a photo-video release at the event to allow the University of Nevada, Reno to use your likeness in photos/videos of the competition.
  5. The deadline for competition registration is Thursday, Feb 26, 11:59 p.m.

Comprehension & Content

  • Did the presentation provide an understanding of the background to the research question being addressed and its significance?
  • Did the presentation clearly describe the key results of the research including conclusions and outcomes?
  • Did the presentation follow a clear and logical sequence?
  • Was the thesis topic, key results and research significance and outcomes communicated in language appropriate to a non-specialist audience?
  • Did the speaker avoid scientific jargon, explain terminology and provide adequate background information to illustrate points?
  • Did the presenter spend adequate time on each element of their presentation - or did they elaborate for too long on one aspect or was the presentation rushed?

Engagement & Communication

  • Did the oration make the audience want to know more?
  • Was the presenter careful not to trivialize or generalize their research?
  • Did the presenter convey enthusiasm for their research?
  • Did the presenter capture and maintain their audience's attention?
  • Did the speaker have sufficient stage presence, eye contact and vocal range; maintain a steady pace, and have a confident stance?
  • Did the PowerPoint slide enhance the presentation - was it clear, legible, and concise?

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