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3 Minute Grad Project

A page within Graduate Education

Slide image for Student presenting Student presenting
Slide image for Student presenting Student presenting
Slide image for 3MGP Judges 3MGP Judges
Slide image for Event competitors Event competitors

Competing Programs

Clinical Exercise Physiology
Physical Therapy

Event information

Three Minute Grad Project challenges graduate students to present their grad project in a way that engages a general audience, with strict adherence to the three-minute time limit. Graduate students interested in competing may attend our Info Session online (view the 2024 workshop recording) to assist in preparing for the event.

Any UWL graduate student may apply to compete.  All students will compete in person at the in-person event on campus. UWL students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members will be invited to attend the competition and participate by submitting a vote for the People's Choice Award.

A panel of community judges will evaluate the presentations for content, engagement and communication. The judges will select the top three place-winners.

Follow this link to view a video created with images from the 2024 event.

Competition rules
  • UWL graduate students from any of our graduate programs may register to compete. Students enrolled in UWL graduate credits at any time during the academic year of the competition are considered eligible (summer, fall, spring). 
  • Students must register to compete. Space is limited; competitors will be selected on the basis of year in the program, the number of registrants from the program, and when the application was received. Graduate Program Directors may be asked to help select which students are invited to compete. 
  • Students may present any graduate paper, project, thesis, or dissertation, even if the project is not completed at the time of competition.
  • A single static PowerPoint slide is permitted. No slide transitions, animations, or ‘movement’ of any description are allowed. The slide is to be presented from the beginning of the competitor's speech.
  • No additional electronic media (e.g. sound and video) is permitted.
  • No additional props (e.g. costumes, musical instruments, laboratory equipment) are permitted.
  • Presentations are limited to three minutes maximum. Exceeding the three-minute maximum will result in disqualification.
  • Timing will start when presenter begins speaking or makes a movement to indicate presentation has begun.
  • The decision of the judging panel is final.
Judges and judging criteria

2024 Judges

Allison Ziegelman - Executive Director of Development, UWL Alumni and Friends Foundation

Arick Sabin - Infectious Disease Specialist and Microbiologist, Gundersen Health System

Natalie Solverson - Senior Manager, Business Intelligence and Analysis, Nesnah Ventures

Patrick Kelly - Natural Resources Region Team Supervisor, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

Judging Criteria

Each competitor will be assessed on the judging criteria listed below.  Each criterion is equally weighted and has an emphasis on how well you engage a general audience.

Comprehension and Content

  • Did the presentation provide an understanding for a general audience of the background and significance of the topic being addressed?
  • Did the presentation clearly describe the key results or findings of the project, including conclusions and/or possible outcomes?
  • Did the presentation follow a clear and logical sequence?
  • Did the speaker avoid 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 some parts seem either drawn out or too rushed?

Engagement and Communication

  • Did the speech make the audience want to know more?
  • Was the presenter careful not to either trivialize or overstate the importance of the topic?
  • Did the presenter convey enthusiasm for their project?
  • Did the presentation feel spontaneous and engaging?
  • Did the presenter capture and maintain audience attention?
  • Did the speaker have sufficient stage presence, eye contact, and vocal range; maintain a steady pace, and have a confident presentation style?
  • Did the PowerPoint slide enhance the presentation – was it visually engaging, clear, legible, and concise?

1st Place: $500

2nd Place: $350

3rd Place: $250

People's Choice: $300

People's Choice: Following the presentations, the audience will be asked to vote for their favorite presentation. The People's Choice Award may be given to any presenter (including participants receiving awards from the official judge panel). 

Last year's event
Support the 3 Minute Grad Project award fund

Graduate students are often living on very limited funding while in school. This is a unique opportunity for a student to gain extra support for their education while providing the public with a glimpse of the exciting work being done on our campus. Join us in supporting this opportunity for UWL graduate students!

  • Follow this link or click the "Give now" button to connect with the UWL Foundation form.
    • Select "Treasure - Make a gift"
    • Scroll down to Graduate & Extended Learning
    • For Designation select "3 Minute Grad Project"
    • *UWL employees can make a single direct contribution (or monthly donations) from their paychecks.