Watch graduate students describe their research in just three minutes

Colorado State University graduate student Kayla Nuss competes in the Vice President for Research's Three Minute Challenge

Thirty-five Colorado State University graduate students have taken 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 in November. They will have only three minutes to discuss their scholarly projects in front of a panel of five judges.

Inspired by an international competition called the Three Minute Thesis, CSU’s Three Minute Challenge tasks competitors with explaining their research clearly and concisely, with the use of only one static PowerPoint slide.

The fifth annual competition, open to the public, will be held Monday, Feb. 10, 1-4 p.m. in the Longs Peak Room of Lory Student Center. Presenters represent seven colleges and 18 disciplines, including animal science, atmospheric sciences, chemistry, communication studies, food science and human nutrition, physics and microbiology.

“This event highlights our outstanding graduate students from across the University and it helps train our next generation scientists in the importance of concise and effective communication skills,” said Alan Rudolph, vice president for research. “The Three Minute Challenge serves as a platform to better communicate our science to broad audiences, a critical need in today’s society. It is also a unique opportunity for the campus community to fully experience the broad range of innovation and discovery that is driven by our graduate research programs at Colorado State every day.”

Winners become VPR fellows

Out of the 35 competitors, one will win the People’s Choice Award and 12 to 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 through workshops, mentorship, engagement opportunities and leadership over the 2020-21 academic year.

The initiative was created to support 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 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. “The Three Minute Challenge and the VPR Fellowship have both become established programs of the institution. This is a real testament to the incredible research and scholarship our students perform during their graduate studies at CSU.”

The judging panel will consist of University administration and faculty members:  Shannon Archibeque-Engle, assistant vice president for strategic initiatives and assessment in the Office of the Vice President for Diversity; Alexandra Bernasek, senior associate dean for the College of Liberal Arts and professor of economics; Martin Carcasson, professor of communications studies and director of the CSU Center for Public Deliberation; Steve Dandanau, associate provost and executive director of the Reinvention Collaborative; and Mary Stromberger, dean of the Graduate School.