Three minutes to win it: Vice President for Research hosts ‘Three Minute Challenge’

Student competes in three minute challenge

Kayla Nuss competes in the Vice President for Research Three Minute Challenge in 2018. 

Forty graduate students are taking on the mission of presenting their research in three minutes or less as they compete in the Vice President for Research Graduate Fellowship Three Minute Challenge.

The competitors were chosen as top communicators from the Graduate Student Showcase, held in November. They will have just three minutes to discuss their scholarly projects for a panel of six judges. Inspired by an international competition called the Three Minute Thesis, Colorado State University’s Three Minute Challenge tasks competitors with explaining their research clearly and concisely, with the use of only one static PowerPoint slide.

The fourth annual competition, open to the public, will be held Monday, Feb. 11 from 1-4 p.m. in the Lory Student Center Grey Rock Room. Presentations will represent six colleges and 19 disciplines, including psychology, chemistry, computer science, biomedical science, biology, pest management, anthropology and more.

“This event highlights our outstanding graduate students while helping train our newest scientists in the importance of concise and effective communication skills,” said Alan Rudolph, vice president for research. “These skills will serve them very well, regardless of how they will use their science in their profession of choice.’

Winners become VPR fellows

Out of the 40 competitors, 12-15 will be invited to become the next VPR Fellowship cohort. Fellows will be eligible for up to $4,000 in scholarship and travel support, as well as opportunities for professional development workshops, mentorship, engagement opportunities and leadership over the 2019-20 academic year.

The initiative was created by the Office of the Vice President for Research in support of excellence in graduate research and scholarly works and to promote cross-college and cross-department collaborations.

“When we held the first Three Minute Challenge in 2016, we had no idea how wildly successful the VPR Fellows program would become,” said Ellen Fisher, assistant vice president for strategic initiatives in the Office of the Vice President for Research. “It is a real testament to the incredible research and scholarship our students perform during their graduate studies at CSU. The Three Minute Challenge provides a unique opportunity for all of us to fully experience the broad range of innovation and discovery that occurs every day on our campus.”

The judging panel will consist of university administration and faculty: Sue James, professor of mechanical engineering; Marilee Long, professor of journalism and media communication; Jeff McCubbin, dean of the College of Health and Human Sciences; Mary Stromberger, vice provost for graduate affairs and dean of the Graduate School; Wade Troxell, mayor of Fort Collins and associate professor of mechanical engineering; and Sue VandeWoude, associate dean for research for the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.