“Participating in 3MT was an incredible experience that I feel very honoured to be part of. I decided to participate in 3MT 2023 in order to build my confidence in sharing my research with the general public. A primary component of my master’s thesis is its focus on knowledge sharing, so I thought that 3MT was the perfect place to put my research into practice! Being able to synthesize complicated research into brief and accessible information for lay audiences is a critical skill for researchers to have. I found that 3MT not only helped me develop this ability but also helped me identify the key aspects of my thesis necessary for others to be able to understand the research. These skills continue to be incredibly helpful as I prepare to defend my master’s thesis this year!

I was a first-year master’s student when I participated in 3MT, and at the time, I was quite nervous to be taking part in a UBC-wide competition. However, I found the environment at 3MT to be very supportive! Getting constructive feedback from the judges and making connections with other participants was a very special part of the process for me. For people thinking about participating this year — while 3MT may seem intimidating, it is a great opportunity to practice putting yourself outside of your comfort zone and trying something that will help you develop valuable presentation skills. Being part of 3MT was easily one of the biggest highlights of my year and an experience I will never forget!”
Kiarah O’Kane, Psychology
2023 3MT First Place


I feel honoured to have been a finalist in the 3MT 2022 competition. What started out as a personal challenge for me to branch out of my comfort zone and try something new and meaningful to me, turned out to be more rewarding than I anticipated. I was pleasantly surprised by the support I was given when I created my (very rough) first draft. The feedback and guidance that Conny and Jacqui provided, coupled with some of the constructive critique I received from the judges at each stage, have contributed into making me a better communicator, especially to audiences that do not share my professional background. I also found what a great avenue the 3MT is, to connect with some of the incredible work that takes place at UBC. Overall, it was a great and educational experience that I highly recommend to anyone who is interested in communication of any kind.”
Mopelola Akinlaja, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
2022 3MT Second Place


“My name is Miguel and I was a finalist in the UBC 3-minute thesis competition in 2022. At that moment, I was simultaneously planning my thesis defense. Thus, preparing a short and straight-to-the-point communication about my results has helped to effectively convey the impact of my research in the resulting publications. The experience helped me gain more confidence in science communication and as I look forward to a career in public health, being able to interact with stakeholders from different backgrounds is a must. Besides, communicating in a lay language has become more important for scientists, and it helps us removes barriers to knowledge. For all of you participating this year, I would encourage you to continue practicing your script and lines, even if it does not feel right at the beginning. Also, my non-STEM network was incredibly helpful in providing feedback about what was appealing and pointing out things that were too specific. 

Finally, I certainly feel like this experience will help me in upcoming scholarship competitions, but I cannot say that until I am successful.”
Miguel D. Prieto, Experimental Medicine
2022 3MT Finalist


Participating in the Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition was a transformational and uplifting experience that allowed me to deeply evaluate the purpose and impact of my research. Interacting with other graduate students and hearing about their diverse projects was eye-opening and an excellent opportunity to exchange ideas. I found a lot of projects to be novel, innovative, and very fascinating! The process was largely iterative, with a lot of support from many different people, particularly my supervisors, colleagues, family, and friends. I also received a lot of guidance and support from the Learning Centre (the IT team) at the Faculty of Land and Food Systems, which helped enhance the visuals and aesthetics of my presentation. The 3MT is all about connecting with a lay audience while unpacking complex research ideas; therefore, I sufficiently practiced virtually to solicit feedback from different people. Moreover, the 3MT strengthens UBC’s community partnership and engagement; many people appreciated the students’ role in co-creating solutions to solve global problems. Overall, the support we all received throughout was outstanding, as the virtual format allowed for more people to join in from different places.

I initially decided to participate in the 2021 competition primarily to improve my presentation skills; thus, winning the competition was a cherry on top! Being selected as the winner and representing UBC at the regional level, where I won the People’s Choice award, were all humbling, surreal, and monumental moments that I had never ever imagined possible. Winning the competition has also opened many doors for me; for example, I have been invited to a few interviews to share more about my research and the process of curating a short and compelling presentation. One of the other most memorable things about the 3MT competition is that it provided a unique platform for me to share an African story on a global stage. I was delightfully surprised at how the 3MT generated interest and fostered dialogues among Batswana and others on critical public health issues.

First and foremost, I encourage all graduate students to participate in the 3MT, to sharpen their communication and presentation skills, engage with fellow graduate students and share their research with the public. As for the tips, I would say, tell a story, keep it simple yet powerful, don’t hesitate to reach out for help, and practice, practice, and practice! Most importantly, make sure to have fun, network, and learn.
Tebogo Leepile, Integrated Studies in Land & Food Systems
2021 3MT First Place


I found participating in the 3MT competition fun and inspiring. I loved hearing about all of the different research happening at UBC and I definitely felt a sense of community during the competition, which was lovely while we were all working from home earlier this year. Recording my presentation was a very different experience from presenting live! I bought a ring light, experimented for ages with backgrounds and lighting angles, and learned to edit videos in iMovie, all of which have been useful skills for presenting virtually at conferences this summer. It was nice to be able to just send a link to the event to everyone I know – some of my family even tuned in from England for the UBC final as the time difference worked out! I would definitely encourage anyone thinking of participating to do it. It’s a great way to build communication skills and articulating the motivation for my research was a welcome encouragement to take with me into the last year of my PhD.”
Sarah Morris, Physics
2021 3MT Third Place and People’s Choice


3MT came at the perfect time during my degree. It forced me to critically evaluate my research, not for its content, but for its impact. I had to step back and consider how my work might interact and interest people outside of my academic circle. The process of condensing my thesis down into the core details that could grab and engage my audience wasn’t easy, but it taught me to not just be a better public speaker but a better researcher. Going in front of a general audience and telling them “This is how I spent the last four years of my life, this is how I spent my grant money” is a humbling experience, and one that built a sense of public responsibility for the science I was conducting. As I continue on with my research I keep the process of 3MT in the back of my mind, and continue to look for ways to make my research connect and engage with the public.

If I have any tips for people just beginning with their 3MT presentation, it would be to focus on the impact your work might have on your audience. Connect your research with them as people. Your work may not intersect with their lives today, but consider further down the research pipeline what it may build towards. The “How” of your research is sometimes less engaging than the ‘Why’.”
Taylor Wright, Chemistry
2021 3MT Finalist


“I had always heard about the 3MT but never thought to participate until the final years of my degree. I am so glad I didn’t let this opportunity pass me by, because it will definitely stand out in my memories of grad school for years to come. Preparing for the 3MT made me reflect on my research questions and findings in a way that I hadn’t done before. It forced me to distill the importance of my research, not just to my field but to society as a whole, into a few key points. It pulled me out from only thinking about the faults of my research and what I could have done better, to celebrating the important work I had done and communicating it as such. Participating in the 3MT also reinforced a sense of pride and excitement towards my role in research and knowledge creation. Hearing about all the exciting research that is going on and witnessing the passion that fellow 3MT peers have towards their projects – it was definitely contagious!”
Dennis Riley Louie, Rehabilitation Sciences
2020 3MT Winner


“The 3MT was a unique opportunity for me to challenge myself early on in my career. By beckoning me to tell a comprehensive yet digestible story of my research, it encouraged me to consolidate my understanding of the research and keenly reflect on how to communicate it effectively. Importantly, I learnt about many fascinating research projects conducted by other students during the competition. Following the final competition, I was invited to speak at several events around Vancouver, which culminated with the 2019 summer soiree for prominent UBC donors hosted by UBC President Santa Ono. Because I got the opportunity to learn from conversations with diverse individuals from the audiences, these public events will always be the highlight of my 3MT journey. The 3MT is an experience I would recommend for any students looking to enrich their research experience, engage with diverse audiences, and improve their public speaking skills.”
Juma Orach, Experimental Medicine
2019 3MT Runner Up


3MT easily stands out as one of my most memorable experiences during grad school at UBC. It was a very satisfying feeling to be able to share my work on drinking water treatment for Indigenous communities with the wider UBC and Vancouver community. The chance to explain my research in 3 minutes to a non-specialist audience, while being challenging, was a great learning experience.

What also stands out about the competition is the sea of opportunities it opens. Following the competition, I got invitations, and continue to get invitations to this day, to speak at a myriad of events, the most notable being an invitation from the President’s office to address a gathering of UBC’s most invested donors. The very fancy event, hosted by President Dr. Ono, is easily one of my best UBC memories to date. I will strongly recommend the 3MT competition to all grad students. Just do it!
Rajat Jain, Civil Engineering
2018 3MT First Runner Up


How to tell a compelling story with my research has been something I have sat with throughout my doctoral training. I began my PhD program as a clinician in health care and I remain committed to my research findings impacting future clinical practice. However, this requires crafting a narrative of my research work that is both accessible and comprehensible to a wider audience: something that I have stumbled with previously. Participating in the 3MT has helped me develop this skill. I have learned how to tell a story with my work, how to get to the important elements of my research quickly, and to clearly express its significance and why it matters. This is very important to me as someone whose research work is with patients in health care. I am so grateful for participating in the 3MT. Not only has it allowed me the opportunity to develop a narrative of my work that must be delivered within a short period of time, but it also has offered me the unique experience of practicing delivering this narrative and receiving feedback. This is so rare! My ability to talk about my research has undoubtedly become more clear, efficient- and impactful. I am so grateful to have had this experience.

The entire process of the 3MT is amazing. To come together and share your research work with others involved in different research programs was such a privilege. As I was hoping to offer my audience- making my research easy to understand quickly- I was also offered this from my 3MT cohort peers. There is so much incredible research work being conducted and we often do not have the opportunity to hear from our inter-disciplinary research colleagues. To hear so much passion and engagement with diverse research topics was inspiring.

I can truly say that participating in the 3MT will remain a highlight of my PhD experiences. I also feel lucky to have this short snippet of my research work that I can pull out as needed!
Andrea Johnson, Social Work
2018 3MT Finalist


“I have always been fascinated by how 3MT makes research from all over campus accessible to so many people. As graduate students, presenting mostly at conferences, we seldom get to reach an audience so diverse. I first got inspired by listening to the amazing 3MT talks online, and knew I would regret not participating in one at UBC, during my master’s degree. The process – of preparing and competing – was exciting and rewarding, but not as intimidating as I had imagined. Trying to break down my research into its core message, and then trying to share that message with clarity and enthusiasm, was a valuable exercise. The entire experience was memorable, and I would highly recommend every graduate student to try participating whenever you get a chance.”
Pranav Shrestha, Mechanical Engineering
2018 3MT Finalist


Participating in the 3mt thesis competition was one of the highlights of my master’s degree. I have always been very passionate about my work, but summarizing it in 3 minutes or less for a non-specialist audience was a big challenge. It forced me to be creative and think outside the box to make B-vitamins and dairy cattle fertility interesting for general public in 180 seconds. Initially, I participated to get some public speaking experience outside of conference presentations. But as I started going through different stages of the competition, I met people who were not even aware that dairy cattle research centre existed at UBC and it made me realize the importance of a presentation medium like 3mt thesis competition. I met some amazing graduate students and learned about the incredible research happening on our campus. This competition provided a platform to allow our work to leave the bubble of our respective industries.

The benefits of participating in this competition go way beyond the obvious and I would recommend participating in 3mt thesis to every graduate student. I learnt not only to manage my fear of public speaking but also to articulate my work in a creative manner, a useful skill that I am working on developing further. I got to meet new people and to talk about my research at murc, The University Women’s Club, Tapestry and at a Science Slam. I learnt to take criticism positively and to use it to improve my presentations. And most importantly, I learnt to have fun while presenting!
Manveen Kaur, Applied Animal Biology
3MT 2017 First Place


Participating in 3MT stands out as a meaningful experience during my PhD. It pushed me to explore the broader context of my work and its place in the “real world”. This got me excited about my research and eager to share it. 3MT provided a welcoming environment to practice communication skills and learn from many excellent examples. It was inspiring to meet the other participants, and learn about their research in wide variety of disciplines. The overall enthusiasm and curiosity of both participants and audience members was really uplifting and motivating. I highly recommend 3MT!
Ellen Schelew, Physics
3MT 2017 Finalist and Honourable Mention


The 3MT presentation was a rewarding task that I am glad I partook in. I’ve loved every aspect of my research and have always wanted to share the passion with my friends and family. However, I sometimes felt that the scientific jargon and complexity of my work limited me in sharing such information. This made me feel disconnected and unfulfilled. The 3MT allowed me to tackle this issue and really think about communication. I was able to simplify my research and express its significance to non-experts. The 3MT allowed me to gain a sincere appreciation of the audience and allowed me to think the way my listeners think. From this, I was able to hone my presentation skills and implement them in my teaching and academic career. After all, what good is knowledge if you can’t share it?
Taha Qaiser, Kinesiology 
3MT 2017 Finalist


“Participating in 3MT was one of the most rewarding experiences of all of my graduate studies. I met incredible people, established long-lasting friendships and learnt so much. My first presentation was a disaster and I barely made it through the first round (really, its true). Being in front of an audience motivated me to work really hard on the content and delivery and by the end I was so proud with what I had achieved: namely, overcoming my fear of presenting and turning it into something that I am excited about. Bring on the next presentation!

If you take it seriously, the 3MT will make you into a compelling and confident presenter. It will provide you with the skills you need to synthesise your work and communicate it to a non-specialist audience. This is important because it teaches you to reconceptualise your own work and see it through the eyes of others. By asking yourself ‘why does my research matter and why should anyone care about it?’, you will think of new and creative ways of understanding and communicating your work.

There are so many reasons why YOU should enter 3MT: it is fun, you’ll meet great people, you’ll learn from others and you’ll improve your presentation skills. If you’re lucky, and if you’re really good – you need both – you might just win some prize money and enjoy the excitement and prestige of moving through the rounds to reach the 3MT finals. The further you go, the more exciting things get and the more that is at stake.

It’s fun and it’s terrifying but the latter will make you better, I promise. I went on to win the Western Regional 3MT Championship and competed in the Canadian national and international competitions. Doing so gave my work an incredible amount of coverage, not only on social media but with mainstream media too, and I made some really valuable connections. I was invited to do several local radio interviews and am in the process of making a podcast with a producer all the way from Australia. I now use the video recording of my 3MT as a neat little product to send to the media, potential publishers, future employers and friends and colleagues.

The work of graduate students is often invisible and even the good stuff rarely sees the light of day. 3MT provides a much-needed opportunity for graduate students to get their work out there, to connect with multiple and exciting publics, and to kick-start their careers with an impactful three-minute statement: ‘here is my research and this is why it matters!’ “

Craig Jones, Geography
3MT 2016 First Place and People’s Choice Winner


“I’ve always known that I’m passionate about my research, but 3MT really pushed me to verbalize its significance, trained me to boil everything down to its essence, and reminded me why I love my field in the first place. This may sound counterintuitive, but if you are a grad student doubting the value of your research, then you should definitely sign up for 3MT!

After 3MT, UBC became a lot bigger in my perception. In the past, I had only interacted with my department, my lab, and my residence. After 3MT, I was presented with opportunities to meet donors, Deans of other faculties, the Public Affairs Office, the Global Scholars Network, and even the President of UBC. I not only have a strong sense of belonging to my home department, but have also developed membership and leadership in the larger UBC community. Now I can proudly say that I truly understand the meaning of the punchline “I AM UBC”.

The media presence resulting from 3MT has allowed me to engage in social activism alongside my academic work. I was interviewed on local TV channels, radio programs, and even a podcast in Australia. The nature of impact that I can make through the mass media is very different from that of a journal. If you want to make a difference in the world by being the change that you want to see, you need to have a voice. Thanks to 3MT, my voice is being heard and is making a ripple.”
Zoe Wai-Man Lam, Linguistics
3MT 2015 First Place and People’s Choice Winner


“The 3MT competition is practice for life. It takes skill and practice to articulate your life’s work in 180 seconds, and it is a skill that every graduate student should hone. Every conference and academic meeting, every party and first date, and sometimes even grocery store lines have already served as your 3MT stage: now is your chance to perfect your talk. Like me, most grad students fumble through a ‘short and sweet’ narrative of their research in lay terms, always wondering if they’ve shared too much or too little, and hence become ‘that person’ at a party! 3MT will push you to think about how you frame your research to a lay audience, and will become a test of being both engaging and concise. This is your chance – push your limits, try your luck at the 3MT, and walk away with a thought-provoking ‘elevator pitch’ of your work that will serve you over the tenure of your program.

Since competing in the UBC’s 2015 3MT competition, I have gone on to share my research with community groups including the Tapestry Master Class Series, and the Child and Family Research Institute’s Mini Med School series.”
Kyly Whitfield, Human Nutrition
3MT 2015 Runner-up


“I participated in the 3MT in both 2012 and 2015, and it really helped me to look at my research from an outside point of view. When working on a PhD and communicating primarily with other like-minded researchers, it is so easy to get wrapped up in the details and forget the bigger picture. 3MT helped me to take a step back and learn to communicate the full story of my thesis, which has helped me when networking at conferences, presenting posters, and applying for scholarships. This kind of communication is crucial when meeting and working with researchers from other backgrounds.

I tend to be a bit shy and get very nervous when presenting, so 3MT pushed me out of my comfort zone to get experience presenting in front of different audiences. Because of these benefits alone I would encourage all graduate students to participate in 3MT, but 3MT also yielded other advantages: I received a lot of positive feedback about my research, which inspired me to succeed in my PhD work. 3MT also led to opportunities to meet other students and learn about their incredible research, present at the home of the President of UBC as well as to be a panelist and presenter at other events.”
Samantha Grist, Electrical and Computer Engineering
3MT 2015 Third Place


“I really enjoyed sharing my research with the UBC community, and hearing all the positive responses I got from people about my project. It got me talking to people in my department, and showcased my work and abilities. I was also invited to present at the MURC conference to UBC undergrads, which was lots of fun.

It’s really great to do 3MT as an exercise, because it forces you to break your project down to the basics of your question, and to think about why non-experts should care about the work that you do. I’d recommend that every grad student give it a try, and their supervisors too!”
Miranda Meents, Botany
3MT 2015 Finalist


3MT is an exceptional process to fine tune and learn new skills. We must push ourselves outside of our daily comfort zones in order to expand our experiences and learn to reach out and communicate about the amazing work that we do! Others need to know and the only way they will know is if you get out there and tell them!

By participating in 3MT, you learn to convey research to other disciplines, and to members of the public by delivering something that draws them in, helping them understand the impact and importance of the work.

As a result of my participation, I was able to present my 3MT to the Chair and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Health for Seniors. Conveying the importance of your work in a concise manner is imperative to getting a message across to individuals who have high impact but very little time.
Thea Franke, Interdisciplinary Studies
3MT 2015 Finalist


“The most valuable experience is to learn how to talk about your research in a simple but appealing manner. As graduate students, we may do a good job in technical presentations but not when it comes to an audience who are not specialized in our field. 3MT provides this unique opportunity to improve your communication skills. I was contacted by a British magazine after 3MT and asked for an interview about my research. My work was featured as ‘the next big thing to keep an eye on’.”
Payam Zachkani, Engineering-Mechanical
3MT 2014 Finalist


I found that it is a good idea to participate in 3MT during my first term of Master study as it gave me a chance to think about what I want and how I can accomplish two years’ of learning. I had to consider the kind of research I propose to do, the appeal, and the value of my research. I would recommend 3MT to every graduate student to help practice their communication skills.
Kunqian (Polo) Zhang, Forestry
3MT 2014 Semi-Finalist


“Preparing for and participating in the 3MT competition was an incredible chance to develop my presentation skills and my research ‘pitch’. I had the opportunity to think very carefully about the ‘big picture’ aspect of my research. Through practicing my presentation with people of diverse educational backgrounds, I learned how people received the information I was offering, which terminology was not understood by a broad audience, and which points people found interesting or not. Considering those who review manuscripts or applications for funding are often non-specialized, it gave me a great perspective on how to approach manuscript writing and project proposals. In addition, I now have a 3 minute video about my research that I can send to potential study participants and funding bodies alike. This is an incredible opportunity for self-reflection, learning and growth. You will never have an opportunity like this anywhere else to practice such a honed presentation.”
Erin Macri, Experimental Medicine
3MT 2014 Runner-Up and People’s Choice Winner


“This competition is a MUST for all graduate students at UBC. When I joined the competition, my aim was simple: to win $1000. Throughout the process, what I gained is worth way more than the monetary reward. This competition pushed me out of my comfort zone enabling me to articulate my ideas, enthusiasm and passion to a wide audience. My participation has led to many other opportunities such as presentations at the Multidisciplinary Undergraduate Research Conference, with the alumni of UBC, at a summer barbecue with UBC President Stephen Toope and donors, as well as a special talk in the Pacific Parkinson’s Research Centre’s annual meeting. Feedback from the audience – particularly other students, researchers and patients – really inspired me to confidently pursue my PhD with enthusiasm and optimism. These opportunities not only bolstered my confidence, but they also enabled me to expand my social and professional networks. I strongly encourage every graduate student to participate!!!
“Do. Or do not. There is no try.” (Yoda)
Sun-Nee Tan, Neuroscience
3MT 2013 People’s Choice Winner


“By participating in 3MT, I gained a refreshing dose of research motivation. Writing my 3MT provided the opportunity to stop and clearly articulate what I wanted to contribute to research and why. 3MT is also an opportunity to share your research in a way that captivates everyone in your life, from academic supervisors and peers to your grandparents or the person sitting next to you on the bus.  Through 3MT, I gained a magnitude more confidence in speaking and sharing my research with others.  Each time I presented my 3MT I was more excited and more comfortable presenting it to the audience.”
Natalie Sopinka, Forestry
3MT 2012 Winner


“I am so glad I chose to participate in this event; it’s helped me and my research in more ways than I  could have anticipated.”
Heather Bliss, Linguistics

3MT 2012 Semi-Finalist


“I am a big believer in, and supporter of the 3MT program.  It was a great experience for me, and I think it’s a great addition to academic life at UBC.  The competition provided several benefits: 1) the opportunity to meet grad students from other disciplines and to learn about their fascinating research; 2) the challenge of boiling down my own research project into 3 minutes, which helped clarify my own thinking; and 3) the chance to get great presentation feedback and learn some tips from other presenters. I would do 3MT again in a heartbeat!”
Andrew Pilliar, Law
3MT 2012 Finalist


“3MT was a great experience, and I would absolutely recommend it to anyone who was interested in doing it. It makes you really think about why your work is important, and how to teach other people about it most effectively. It also helps you hone your speaking skills and gives you a better understanding of what works and what doesn’t in a presentation.  However, the #1 thing that blew me away about this competition was not getting better at presenting my own material; it was hearing everyone else’s. The breadth and depth of research going on in our university is just staggering.  As researchers it is all too easy to fall into the trap of getting lost in our own little bubble of specialization, and the 3MT is a great way to hear concise, amazing stories from all sorts of different  fields of study.”
Fergil Mills, Neuroscience

3MT 2012 Runner-up


Watch Ryan Andrew Murphy, 3MT 2011 Finalist, Faculty of Education, talk about his research and his experience in 3MT here: http://youtu.be/CcrmmTn7Lh4