Three Minute Thesis (3MT) Competition 2020


In three minutes you can listen to a song, watch a TedTalk, or over-analyze a text message, but can you effectively communicate your thesis or dissertation in an engaging way to a non-specialist audience? We think you can! Graduate Division is proud to announce its  Three Minute Thesis (3MT) Competition on Saturday, April 25, 2020. We hope you can join us for this exciting event.



When: Saturday, April 25, 2020

9:15 AM Event Check-in
10:00 AM Welcome and Overview
10:15 AM - 11:15 AM Concurrent Preliminary Rounds
11:15 AM - 11:45 AM Refreshments & Conversation with Finalists & Participants
11:45 AM - 1:30 PM Final Round

Where: Business Administration Bldg (2404 Maile Way, Honolulu, HI 96822)  at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. Check-in at the registration tables located outside of A101 and A102. Please see event map for details.

Who: Participants who meet eligibility requirements to compete (see below for details on who can participate in the competition).

Guests: Members of the UH community and public are welcome to attend this free event.  Seating is limited.

Parking: For current visitor parking rates and map, please click here.


  • Participants must be currently enrolled as a UH Mānoa master’s or doctoral candidate.
  • Participants must be in good academic standing.
  • Participants must be able to report on results from their completed (or nearly completed) final data-driven research (e.g., dissertation or thesis).
  • Participants must register between March 9 to April 13, 2020, 11:59 PM HST.


Registration Period: March 9 to April 13, 2020, 11:59 PM HST
To register for the 3MT competition, click the REGISTER HERE button and submit requested information, along with your MS PowerPoint slide.


Helpful Hints:

  • Before beginning the registration process, be sure to review the judging criteria and have your single, static MS PowerPoint slide available.
  • Watch videos of past 3MT winners from UH Mānoa and around the world.
  • Attend a 3MT inspired workshop.
  • Successful participants in the past began focused practice about two weeks in advance of the event date. They also reserved in their calendar two one-hour time periods during the week of the event to practice.
  • Past participants mentioned selecting their professional attire ahead of time helped them feel more confident, comfortable, and prepared.


    First Place Winner:  $2,000 UH Scholarship
    Runner-Up Winner:  $1,000 UH Scholarship
    People’s Choice Winner:  $1,000 UH Scholarship


  • A single static MS PowerPoint slide is permitted (no slide transitions, animations or 'movement' of any description, the slide is to be presented from the beginning of the oration).
  • No additional electronic media (e.g. sound and video files) are permitted.
  • No additional props (e.g. costumes, musical instruments, laboratory equipment) are permitted.
  • Presentations are limited to 3 minutes maximum and competitors exceeding 3 minutes are disqualified.
  • Presentations are to be spoken word (e.g. no poems, raps, or songs).
  • Presentations are to commence from the stage.
  • Presentations are considered to have commenced when a presenter starts their presentation speech through either movement or speech.
  • The decision of the adjudicating panel is final.


A panel of faculty members or business and community leaders will judge globally on criteria A and B using a standard score sheet.

Criteria A: Comprehension & Content

  • Did the presentation provide an understanding of the background and significance to the research question being addressed, while explaining terminology and avoiding jargon?
  • Did the presentation clearly describe the impact and/or results of the research, including conclusions and outcomes?
  • Did the presentation follow a clear and logical sequence?
  • Was the thesis topic, research significance, results/impact and outcomes communicated in language appropriate to a non-specialist audience?
  • Did the presenter spend adequate time on each element of their presentation--or did they elaborate for too long on one aspect or was the presentation rushed?

Criteria B: Engagement & Communication

  • Did the oration make the audience want to know more?
  • Was the presenter careful not to trivialize or generalize their research?
  • Did the presenter convey enthusiasm for their research?
  • Did the presenter capture and maintain their audience's attention?
  • Did the speaker have sufficient stage presence, eye contact, and vocal range; maintain a steady pace, and have a confident stance?
  • Did the PowerPoint slide enhance the presentation--was it clear, legible, and concise?


Two rounds will be held: Concurrent preliminary rounds and a final round. In the preliminary round, participants will compete against other contestants of the same graduate level (e.g., master’s against master’s students and doctoral against doctoral students) assigned to the same room location. All participants in each room will be scored and ranked based on assessment of the above criteria.

The participant with the highest mean score, as determined by the judges present in their room (whose scores have been standardized), will advance to the final round. In the event that two or more participants earn the same mean score, the tie will be broken by considering the judges’ rankings of participants. Two or more participants who do not win their preliminary round outright, but received the highest score of the total remaining preliminary round participants will also advance to the final round (wild card winners).

A total of 10 participants, consisting of both master’s and doctoral candidates, who win their preliminary round or are wild card winners, will compete in the final round. A new set of judges will be present for the final round and will use the same judging criteria and scoring system to determine the overall winners. Additionally, in the final round, the audience will vote on who they thought gave the best 3MT presentation (the People’s Choice award).


3MT 2019 Winners3MT 2019 Winners

  • 2019 First Place Winner - Sabrina Diemert, Doctoral student, Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • 2019 Runner-up Winner - Brooke Friswold, Master’s student, Natural Resources and Environmental Management
  • 2019 People’s Choice Winner - Sabrina Diemert, Doctoral student, Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • 2018 First Place Winner - Florencia Duron Delfin, Master’s student, Communicology
  • 2018 Runner-up Winner - Natalija Glibetic, Master’s student, Molecular Biosciences and Bioengineering
  • 2018 People’s Choice Winner - Florencia Duron Delfin, Master’s student, Communicology
  • 2016 First Place Winner - Samuel Tassi Yunga, Doctoral student, Tropical Medicine
  • 2016 Runner-up Winner - Liang Shi, Doctoral student, Civil Engineering
  • 2016 People’s Choice Winner - Samuel Tassi Yunga, Doctoral student, Tropical Medicine


3MT 2019 Final Round Judges3MT 2019 Final Round Judges


  • Melissa Chang – Independent marketing consultant, specializing in social media
  • Amy Hennessey – Director of Communications at Ulupono Initiative
  • Eliza Larson – Multimedia journalist for KITV4
  • Coralie Matayoshi – Chief Executive Officer, American Red Cross of Hawai‘i, Pacific Islands Region
  • Todd Nacapuy – Chief Information Officer of HEMIC (Hawai‘i Employers’ Mutual Insurance Company)
  • Vassilis Syrmos – Vice President for Research & Innovation, University of Hawai‘i
  • Omar Sultan – Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Sultan Ventures and XLR8UH
  • Michelle Tagorda – University of Hawai‘i Board of Regents


  • Melanie Ide – President and CEO at Bishop Museum
  • Carol Mon Lee – COO of ThinkTech Hawaii
  • Randy Moore - University of Hawai‘i Board of Regents
  • Lee Putnam - University of Hawai‘i Board of Regents
  • Mahealani Richardson – News Anchor at Hawai‘i News Now
  • Shaunagh Robbins – Lifelong advocate of education, women, good government, sustainability, and peace
  • Donald Straney – Vice President of Academic Planning & Policy, University of Hawai‘i
  • Omar Sultan Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Sultan Ventures and XLR8UH
  • Catherine Toth Fox – Journalist, Freelance Writer, Blogger, and Food Editor at Honolulu Magazine


  • Robert Bley-Vroman – Interim Chancellor, University of Hawai‘i at Manoa
  • Candes Mejide Gentry – President of Gentry-Pacific
  • Lorene Hopkins – Board of Directors of the Founder Region Fellowship
  • Steven Levinson – Associate Justice, retired
  • Margaret McFall-Ngai - Director of the Pacific Biosciences Research Center
  • Jeffrey Portnoy - University of Hawai‘i Board of Regents
  • Lee Putnam - University of Hawai‘i Board of Regents