3 Minute Grad Project

3 Minute Grad Project competition advertisement
Event information expanding section

Three Minute Grad Project is a live, online event that challenges graduate students to share their passion for their grad project. Competitors must clearly present their ideas in a way that engages a general audience, with strict adherence to the three-minute time limit. This year's event will have the added challenge of requiring presentation in a virtual environment. Presenters are provided with an Information & Preparation Workshop to assist in preparing for the event.

Any UWL graduate student may apply to compete. UWL students, faculty, staff, and community members will be invited to watch this live competition and participate by submitting a vote for the People's Choice Award.

A panel of community judges will evaluate the virtual presentations for content, engagement and communication, and make determinations for the Winner, 1st runner-up, and 2nd runner-up awards. 

The 2020 event can be viewed here.

Competition rules expanding section
  • UWL graduate students from any of our graduate programs (on-campus, blended, or online) may apply to compete. This year's virtual format will make competition in the event more accessible for students who do not reside in the local community.
  • Students must complete an application to apply. Space is limited; competitors will be selected on the basis of year in the program, the number of applicants 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, or thesis, 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 oration.
  • No additional electronic media (e.g. sound and video) is permitted.
  • No additional props (e.g. costumes, musical instruments, laboratory equipment) are permitted.
  • Students will present in a virtual format. The presenter, slide, and timer will be viewable simultaneously during each presentation. 
  • Presentations are limited to three minutes maximum. Exceeding the three-minute maximum will result in disqualification.
  • Presentations are to be spoken word (e.g. no poems, raps, or songs).
  • Timing will start when presenter begins speaking or makes a movement to indicate presentation has begun.
  • It is the presenter's responsibility to ensure a dependable internet connection and an absence of distractions during the presentation.
  • The decision of the judging panel is final.
Judging criteria expanding section

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 oration 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 (virtual) 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?
Prizes expanding section

Winner: $500

1st Runner Up: $300

2nd Runner Up: $200

People's Choice: $300

People's Choice: Following the presentations, the virtual audience will be asked to vote online for their favorite presentation.  The People's Choice Award may be given to any presenter (including participants receiving awards from the official judge panel). People's Choice votes must be received within 15 minutes of the end of the live, online competition. 

2021 Awardees

Winner - Shayla Michel - Biology
1st Runner Up - Rebecca Edel - Therapeutic Recreation
2nd Runner Up - Nicole Bednarz - Physical Therapy
People's Choice - Carly Wilson - Clinical Exercise Physiology

Support the 3 Minute Grad Project award fund expanding section

Graduate students are often living on very limited funding while in school. This is a unique opportunity for a student to earn extra money 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 "Graduate Studies."
    • You can set "Designation" as anything, but use the Notes field to indicate that you are making a donation to the "3 Minute Thesis Grad Project award fund."
    • *UWL employees can make a single direct contribution (or monthly donations) from their paychecks.