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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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A&M holds thesis competition for second year

Eight Texas A&M graduate students have been selected to test their communication skills in this year’s 3-Minute Thesis Competition finals.
The competition was developed to challenge graduate students to give a compelling presentation on their thesis in just three minutes and this year marks A&M’s second year to hold the competition, said Joelle Muenich, graduate student specialist in the Office of Graduate and Professional Atudies.
Muenich said typically an 80,000-word thesis would take a student hours to present, but due to the requirements of the competition, students must communicate effectively in a succinct manner. Muenich said participants are challenged to present their research in simple terms while excluding all the technical language.
“This challenge encourages students to articulate the impact of their research in a way non-specialists can understand, and allows graduate research to be more accessible to the general population,” Muenich said.
Scott Mattison, biomedical engineering graduate student participating in the competition’s doctoral-level category, said he has been given positive feedback from the judges so far. Mattison said he’s looking forward to the challenge of relating his topic to an audience that may not know much about his topic since he is used to giving talks to an audience in his field.
Brittany Bounds, history graduate student participating in the competition’s doctoral-level category, said she is a competitive person by nature and the opportunity to challenge herself on another level drew her to the 3-Minute Thesis Competition. Bounds said the experience of putting together a short speech for the judges has been nerve-wracking.
“It’s amazing how fast three minutes goes,” Bounds said. “I get nervous several days in advance and keep thinking that I won’t remember the next transition in my speech, but once I start talking, the experience of teaching kicks in and everything goes well.”
Bounds said the exercise is great experience for graduate students because it could become useful in a real world scenario.
“One day, we’ll be at a conference in an elevator with the top scholar in our field, and we need to be able to articulate our research very quickly,” Bounds said. “Do it right, and it could land you a conference invite, a door to a publication or even a job.”
Students in both the masters-level category and the doctoral-level category will receive prize money, but only the winner in the doctoral-level category will advance to the regional competition in March 2015 in New Orleans, Muenich said. The winner for the doctoral-level category will receive $1,000 and the winner for the masters-level category will receive $750.
The 3-Minute Thesis Competition finals will take place at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday in MSC 2300C.

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