Introducing the Three Minute Thesis at JMU

 3 Minutes to Inspire

A 100-page thesis would take hours to present. They do it in 3 minutes.

Jie Chen, Laura Ryman, and Sarah McGraff

  Dr. Jie Chen, Graduate Dean, Laura Ryman Director of Graduate Services, and graduate student Sarah McGrath


On January 25th, participating graduate students shared their research in a high impact 3-minute presentation and competed for cash prizes and a chance to participate in the regional competition.  The first place winner was sponsored by The Graduate School to attend the regional competition at the Conference of Southern Graduate Schools in Fayetteville, Arkansas, February 22-25, 2018 (for more information, visit In addition, the audience voted to select the winner of the People's Choice Award, sponsored by the Graduate Student Association!  

The Three Minute Thesis competition, originally developed by The University of Queensland, gives students the opportunity to develop and present their research in a compelling and concise narrative aimed at engaging a general audience. Students are challenged to synthesize the core concepts of their projects and make meaningful connections to real-world issues. The competition celebrates the creativity and scholarship of our graduate students while helping them develop vital academic and communication skills.

At The Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition in January, JMU graduate students presented their scholarship before an audience and panel of judges.  They were allowed one slide, no props, and they had to present their research in a precise and compelling way.  The Graduate School congratulates the winners of our Three-Minute Thesis (3MT) competition:

First Place and People’s Choice Award Winner:

Sarah McGrath “Exploring the Microbiome: Diversity of the Microbial Community of Three Foam Nesting Frogs”
Program: Biology
Advisor: David McLeod

Second Place:

Leanne Browning “Audiologist’s Preferences in Programming Cochlear Implants: A Preliminary Report”
Program: Audiology
Advisors: Yingjiu Nie & Ayasakanta Rout

Third Place:

Danika Pfeiffer “Interprofessional Collaboration Targeting Language and Emergent Literacy”
Program: Communication Sciences and Disorders (Ph.D.)
Advisors: Stacey Pavelko & Carol Dudding

Runners Up:

Jean Fabrice Ndzana “Neuroscience Factors for Adolescent Psychotherapy”
Program: Clinical Mental Health Counseling
Advisor: Lennis Echterling

K. Denise Schulz “Life Enrichment and Healthful Well-being through Senior Adult Singing”
Program: Music Education
Advisor: Jo-Ann van der Vat-Chromy

Jonathan Studio “Competition and Predation: Interactions between American Eels (Anguilla rostrata) and Brook Trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) in Virginia Mountain Streams”
Program: Biology
Advisor: Christine May

Sarah McGrath, winner of the first-place award, was invited to represent JMU at the annual meeting of the Council of Southern Graduate Schools 3MT competition on February 24. All six of these students will receive cash prizes! We are so proud of the accomplishments of our graduate students!

The 3MT competition is a great opportunity to showcase the fine work of our graduate students, and bring positive attention to the graduate education at JMU. We plan to conduct another 3MT competition next year!

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