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U of I, Idaho State, Boise State Students to Compete in Statewide 3MT Competition

February 01, 2022

BOISE, Idaho — Feb. 1, 2022 — It’s tough to distill an 80,000-word thesis into a three-minute presentation. But graduate students from around the Gem State are slated to do just that during a virtual competition.

The fourth statewide Three-Minute Thesis Competition (3MT) will be livestreamed 3-5 p.m. Mountain time (2-4 p.m. Pacific time) Tuesday, Feb. 15.

The University of Idaho is hosting the competition from Trailhead in Boise. Attendance is limited and the public is invited to join online to watch and vote for their favorite presentation. Media representatives are welcome to attend in person.

Twelve graduate students from U of I, Boise State University and Idaho State University will each present their research to a non-specialized audience in three minutes or less with the help of one single photo or slide.

“Research is critical in Idaho as we aim to answer important scientific questions and generate new knowledge,” said Jerry McMurtry, dean of U of I’s College of Graduate Studies. “Thanks to this competition, we have an opportunity to showcase the work our graduate students are doing under the guidance of our faculty in a very accessible way, and demonstrate how our discoveries power innovation, impact our practices and create opportunities across our state, nation and world.” 

The 3MT competition is designed to cultivate graduate students’ academic, presentation and research communication skills and increases students’ ability to explain their research to a non-specialist audience.

“A hallmark of the 3MT competition is that graduate students distill their often-complex scholarship and present it in a way that can be understood and utilized by a general audience — industry professionals and academics alike,” said Scott Lowe, acting dean of the Boise State Graduate College. “It is essential that the outstanding scholarship that our graduate students produce impacts real-world policies and practices and improves peoples’ lives. The 3MT is a first step in enabling our graduate scholars to think in this way, and to give them the skill sets that they need to do so.”

Established in 2008 by the University of Queensland, 3MT events are now held at more than 900 universities in over 85 countries. Competitors are allowed one PowerPoint slide, but no other resources or props.

“As the world’s societies, technologies and economies become increasingly complex, so does the need for advancing one’s skills and knowledge at the graduate level,” said Adam Bradford, dean of the Idaho State Graduate School. “The easy-to-understand presentations at the 3MT highlight the advanced research being undertaken by our graduate students and demonstrate the pressing need for graduate education in the modern world.”

After community members vote for their favorite presentation, the winner will be awarded the People’s Choice Award. A panel of judges will vote for first, second and third places. The top participant from each university will also get the opportunity to attend the Western Association of Graduate Schools 3MT competition in March.

Maribel Alfaro, first place winner of 2020’s competition and a U of I graduate student in environmental sciences, said participating in the 3MT is really rewarding and a good learning experience for graduate students. She recommends those interested join online to support the students.

“You can learn a lot about new topics that grad students are researching in the state,” she said. “Some topics are amazing, and you’ll be surprised at how engaging the presentations are.”

Learn more and find the link to the live stream.

Media Contact

Maria Ortega
Marketing and Communications, U of I Boise

About the University of Idaho

The University of Idaho, home of the Vandals, is Idaho’s land-grant, national research university. From its residential campus in Moscow, U of I serves the state of Idaho through educational centers in Boise, Coeur d’Alene and Idaho Falls, nine research and Extension centers, plus Extension offices in 42 counties. Home to nearly 11,000 students statewide, U of I is a leader in student-centered learning and excels at interdisciplinary research, service to businesses and communities, and in advancing diversity, citizenship and global outreach. U of I competes in the Big Sky and Western Athletic conferences. Learn more at


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