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Three Minute Thesis at Nevada

A Graduate Student Competition

Journalism Student Presenter

1 scholar.
1 slide.
1 panel of judges.
And 3 minutes to give it all they've got.

Thank you to all of our participants in this year’s competition and to everyone who attended the presentations. We are so proud of our graduate students and the research impacts they are making for the world.

Congratulations to our 2015 Winners!

Doctoral Students

1st Place: Jesse Mayer, Ph.D., Biochemistry
Desert Diesel: Engineering Opuntia as a Low-Input Biofuel Crop

2nd Place: Jaclyn Stephens, Ph.D., Psychology
Can We Enhance Everyday Cognition Using Memory Training and Non-Invasive Neurostimulation?

3rd Place: Jessica Rafferty, Ph.D., Education
Profoundly Gifted Students’ Perceptions of Virtual Classrooms: A Phenomenological Case Study

Master's Students

1st Place: Laura Rocke, M.A., History
Reinterment at the African Burial Ground: A 21st Century Reclamation of Agency

2nd Place: Keith Heidecorn, M.S., Hydrologic Sciences
Progress Towards Understanding Mercury (Hg) in the Atmosphere

3rd Place: 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

Professional Project Students

1st Place: Christopher Dugan, Master of Public Health
Analysis and Cost of Frequent ED Users in Washoe County

2nd Place: Morgan Nazemian, Master of Social Work
Compassion in Action: Design and Implementation of an 11th Hour Program

3rd Place: Miranda Smith, Master of Social Work
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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