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Get free, personalized coaching for your 3MT research pitch

But first, attend the GradProSkills Three Minute Thesis final orientation on February 12
February 4, 2020
By Alexander Hackett and Rachel Andren

Newsha Arezi: “As graduate students, we are trained to focus on collecting data and sometimes we overlook why our research matters.” Newsha Arezi: “As graduate students, we sometimes overlook why our research matters.”

Are you nervous about public speaking? Do you get tongue-tied when trying to explain your research outside of academia?

If so, the GradProSkills Three-Minute Thesis 3MT coaching sessions are right for you. These free workshops are designed to give students the skills and confidence to talk about their research in any setting.

Led by experienced coaches and former 3MT winners, the GradProSkills sessions offer a comprehensive training program that includes a Concordia competition to select regional and national representatives. 2019 winners include:

“The coaches were inspiring and so very encouraging! It really felt like an experience that we all went through together,” Wright says. “It was one of the most useful experiences I have participated in academically — and one of the most supportive.”

Concordian Newsha Arezi, an MSc candidate in biochemistry, won the 2019 national Master’s competition and is returning this year as a coach to foster the next round of strong Concordian competitors.

“I learned a lot from my 3MT experience,” Arezi says. “As graduate students, we are trained to focus on collecting data and sometimes we overlook why our research matters and how it could improve our lives.”

She adds that, when you have to summarize your research in a very short and concise manner, you are forced to take a step back and find the potential applications of your work.

“It’s a great opportunity to practice your presentation skills, and I also learned a lot about the other areas of research at Concordia and the universities that participated in the regional competition.”

This combined experience and expertise, enhanced by the support of dedicated staff at GradProSkills, will provide students with exceptional support whether they are seeking to compete or simply want to boost their public speaking skills.

The 3MT competition

3MT competitions originated at the University of Queensland in Australia in 2008, but have since gone international and spread to more than 200 universities worldwide. Concordia’s 2020 3MT competition will take place on March 27.

As the name implies, 3MT contestants have about 180 seconds to communicate their research to a crowd of non-specialists in as captivating a manner as possible.

“Basically, grad students prepare a three-minute elevator pitch for their thesis, taking really complex projects and summarizing them in a way that’s really engaging,” says Rachel Berger, an associate professor of history in Concordia’s Faculty of Arts and Science. She will be acting as a coach for the participants this year.

“It’s a great way for students to clarify their thoughts and think about what the greater resonance of their work can be outside of their field and why it matters. It’s a huge skill set that students are able to gain in preparing for this competition.”

Delivery, presentation and content all come into play. The 3MTs have categories for both master’s and doctoral students and are open to students from all programs.

“Engineers do not have many opportunities to perform on stage,” Mohammadian Bajgiran says. “The competition taught me that, when participating in the 3MTs, winning is a bonus. It made me think of my research in a way I have never thought of before.”

She is also returning as a GradProSkills ambassador and a guest coach this year to support fellow students. “The coaching sessions are the heart of the fantastic journey toward preparing yourself for the competition.”

Students wanting to take part in the 2020 Three Minute Thesis Competition must attend the
Concordia orientation session on February 12 and a minimum of two individual coaching sessions.



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