Lakers to participate in three-minute thesis competition

Amelia Eck

A student’s thesis paper, dissertation, or final research project takes an insurmountable amount of work, time and energy to complete. It is, perhaps, the most important part of a college student’s final grade, which is why Grand Valley State University’s graduate school is offering a competition this year for students to win money for their hard work.

The catch to the competition? Students must convert their work from a lengthy, in-depth research paper into a three-minute presentation in a competition aptly named “Three Minute Thesis” (3MT).

“Students must deliver the presentation by making a pitch,” said Jennifer Palm, office coordinator for GVSU’s graduate school. “Each student has an independent research project condensed into three minutes using no other audio or visual aids besides one PowerPoint slide.”

The Three Minute Thesis competition originated in Australia at the University of Queensland in 2008. Since then, the competition has gained a lot of attention, with over 200 universities in 18 countries taking part.

This year will be GVSU’s first year taking part in the competition, and Palm is looking forward to the event.

“Based on the submissions we have received so far, the event will include students from a variety of graduate programs at GVSU,” Palm said. “Since each student is only allowed three minutes, the event will be fast-paced and fun for the audience.”

Jeffrey Potteiger, dean of the graduate school, is excited to get GVSU students to share their work in a creative way.

“Our office has gathered a committee of graduate students, graduate faculty, and staff representatives who have helped to organize the Three Minute Thesis competition,” he said.

Potteiger said he is glad that GVSU will finally be represented at the Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools (MAGS) annual conference that takes place with the winners from affiliated universities who have hosted their own 3MT competition.

“This year will be the first year that GVSU will send a student to represent us,” Potteiger said.

Potteiger said that the 3MT showcases students’ strong presentation and public speaking skills, skills that he stresses are essential to graduate education.

“This is exciting because we are hoping that students across a wide array of disciplines will participate,” Potteiger said.

There are prizes for the top three competitors. The third place winner will receive $100, the second place winner will receive $200 and the overall winner will receive $500. The graduate student association (GSA) will provide funding for the student representing GVSU to attend the MAGS conference in Chicago in April.

“This is a new opportunity for graduate students to showcase their research, which is always exciting, and the event will allow the campus community to learn more about the great things our graduate students are doing,” Palm said.

The competition will be held on Feb. 18 in the Charles W. Loosemore Auditorium on GVSU’s Pew Campus at 3 p.m. The deadline to apply has been extended to Jan. 25.

For more information or to register, visit the graduate school website at