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SBU Three Minute Thesis Virtual Competition 2020

SBU 3MT logo

Stony  Brook celebrates our students' exciting PhD research with the  Three Minute Thesis competition. This year, students will record their videos for judging, and we will celebrate our winners with an online recognition & award ceremony on  Friday, May 1, 2020.

Sponsors: SBU Alumni Association, Graduate Student Organization, Graduate School, and the Career Center. 
3MT is a model developed by the University of Queensland.

Three Minute Thesis, or 3MT® for short, is a spoken word thesis competition. 3MT is an opportunity for SBU graduate students to present their dissertation research findings to a general audience in THREE MINUTES with only one PowerPoint slide. The goal is for students to engage all their communication skills to make their research vivid and engaging while emphasizing its key point without technical terminology or field-specific jargon. 

Estefania Vergara from Economics presentsGraduate students who compete will receive specialized coaching.  Speakers will work with coaches from the nationally recognized  Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science. While 3MT is a competition, SBU emphasizes the professional development derived from a cohort approach where students participate in small group coaching that encourages peer feedback and support.  

Prizes will be awarded.   The SBU Alumni Association kindly sponsors prizes for the best talks. 

  SBU 3MT 2020 AWARDS:  

Congratulations for our winners for best talks! 

1st Place: Sonali Gera, Physics & Astronomy 

2nd Place & People's Choice: Xiaoqing Zhang, Heath & Rehabilitation Sciences

3rd Place: Keffy Kehrli, Genetics


SBU 3MT 2020 AGENDA:  

Thursday, April 23 - Sunday, April 26 Round One Virtual Judging  
Tuesday, April 28 - Thursday, April 30 Round Two  and People's Choice Virtual Judging
Friday, May 1, 1:00pm-2:00pm Live Award Announcement Ceremony

Agenda subject to change.


First Name Last Name Graduate Program Advisor(s)
Aniska Chikhalya Molecular Genetics and Microbiology Patrick Hearing
Mallesham Dasari Computer Science Samir Das
Yifan Fang Physics and Astronomy Harold Metcalf
Sonali Gera Physics and Astronomy Eden Figueroa
Jinyoung Jin Cultural Analysis and Theory Izabela Kalinowska-Blackwood
Kelli Johnson Cognitive Science Christian Luhmann
Keffy Kehrli Genetics Joshua Rest
Heeyoung Kwon Computer Science Niranjan Balasubramanian
Brandon Marshall Political Science Stanley Feldman
Shachee Mishra Computer Science Michalis Polychronakis
Samia Mohammed Molecular and Cellular Biology Yusuf Hannun
Yiyao Tian Materials Science and Engineering Anatoly Frenkel
Brett Vaughn Chemistry Eszter Boros
Lei Wang Materials Science and Engineering Javier Concepcion
Xiaoqing Zhang Health and Rehabilitation Sciences Sharon Ray


Judging: The talks will be evaluated by a panel of judges from a range of backgrounds and disciplines for how well the speaker engages a general audience of non-specialists and can convey the excitement and innovation of their research without jargon or distortion.  See the full judging criteria.

Prizes:  Prizes will be awarded for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place, plus a People's Choice award selected by the audience. Students must stay for the luncheon announcement to receive their award.  Prizes are generously sponsored by the SBU Alumni Association.

1st: $1000
2nd: $700
3rd: $500
People's Choice: $300


Eligibility: Competitors must be SBU graduate students who have advanced to candidacy (G5 or equivalent), and their research must be at a stage where findings, preliminary conclusions, and broader impact can be discussed. Students may be in any disciplinary field. Those in the Fine Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences are particularly encouraged to participate.  Students must affirm that their graduate advisor supports presentation of their research during speaker sign up.

  All speakers must commit to participating in the 3 training sessions .*

Presentation Guidelines: Talks will be three minutes long and may include only one powerpoint slide. Speakers should craft a talk that distills the heart of their research for a general audience who may not be specialists, in the style of a  TED talk. Speakers will receive individualized coaching on their presentation from experts at the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science. See the official rules for more information.

Competitor Selection:  Organizers aim to accommodate as many eligible students as want to compete, but competitor slots nevertheless are limited.  Competitor selection, if necessary, will take into account coaching date availability, disciplinary and demographic balance. 


Contact Kathleen Flint Ehm, Director for Graduate and Postdoctoral Professional Development, kathleen.ehm at or 631-632-7531.