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Library Events: 3MT — Three Minute Thesis

3MT — Three Minute Thesis

A row of audience members wearing masks       Four awards on a podium

On April 19, 2022, the Caltech Library and Graduate Studies Office hosted the Three Minute Thesis Final Event and it was an exciting competition with fourteen talented finalists. The event was kicked off by University Librarian Kara Whatley and led by master of ceremonies Brian Brophy. The finalists then had three minutes to deliver a presentation on their research for the chance to win the grand prize. After a visit from last year's winner Mia de los Reyes, the winners were announced. Congratulations to Aida Behmard (PMA), who won the $3000 grand prize for her presentation, “Planets on a Galactic Scale”! The $2000 second prize went to Emily de Jong (EAS) for her presentation “Clouds: Microscale Physics with Global Impacts” and the $1000 third prize went to Skyler Ware (CCE) for her presentation “Sports Drinks for Batteries and Beyond.” The audience also chose Skyler Ware to receive the $500 people’s choice award. Thank you to all who participated and attended! (And thanks to Ling Lim for the photos!) You can watch a video of the event here.

Originally conceived by the University of Queensland, the Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) competition challenges Caltech graduate students to explain their research in an engaging and clear three-minute talk intended for a non-specialist audience. This year’s event is jointly sponsored by the Caltech Library and the Graduate Studies Office. Given Caltech’s prominence in science and engineering communities, we feel it's important to give Caltech graduate students the opportunity to practice communicating their science in ways that will resonate and inspire.

Competition Information

General Rules

  • Caltech 3MT is open to all Caltech graduate students in good standing who are G2 and above.
  • 3MT presentations must communicate original research to a non-specialist audience in a clear and engaging way.
  • Presentations should be spoken work (e.g., no poems, raps, or songs) with no additional props or additional electronic media (e.g., sound and video files).
  • The winner cannot have won first place in a previous 3MT competition.

Initial Submission Process

  • To enter the competition, graduate students must submit a three-minute video file of their presentation. (Please submit a video that shows you speaking to the camera.)
  • Entries must be received by 5pm (Pacific) on March 22, 2022. 
  • All entries will be reviewed by a panel of Caltech administrators and faculty, and finalists will be notified by April 7, 2022.
  • The final event on April 19, 2022 at 5pm (Pacific) will likely be hybrid with presentations given to a pre-registered in-person audience of current Caltech ID holders and streamed live on YouTube.

Final Presentation Rules

  • Final presentations should include one slide as a background. Presenters may refer to this background during their presentation, but the background slide must remain static during the presentation.
  • Final presentations are limited to three minutes.
  • Presenter must be visible during the final presentation.

Please note: competitors will not be judged on video recording quality or editing capabilities. Judging will focus on the presentation and the ability to communicate research to a non-specialist audience. Final presentations will be judged on the presentation and the ability to communicate research to a non-specialist audience.

A woman presents to an audience


We are pleased to partner with Caltech Theater and Public Programming for the event, which is also generously sponsored by:

There will be four prizes awarded:

  • $3,000 for first place (sponsored by EBSCO)
  • $2,000 for second place (sponsored by Elsevier)
  • $1,000 for third place (sponsored by Wiley)
  • $500 for the audience favorite chosen by attendees (sponsored by Springer/Nature)

The entries will be screened by a panel of librarians and campus communicators and the final competition judges are:

  • Doug Rees (CCE)
  • Robyn Javier (EAS)
  • Susanne Hall (HSS, Hixon, and CTLO)
  • Donna Wrublewski (Caltech Library)
  • Darrell Peterson (Assoc. Dean of Graduate Studies)