Students pursuing their master’s and/or doctorate degrees spend endless hours researching about a specific topic. Imagine after all the time you have spent reading, writing and studying a topic you are so passionate about, and you are only given 3 minutes to talk about it. Could you do it?

The Graduate School at Illinois State University is hosting its first Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition. Each college will nominate a current master’s or doctoral student to compete.

Michele Shropshire is a graduate student in Mennonite College of Nursing’s Ph.D. program, and will be participating in this competition. Her topic is “Comparing the Effectiveness of Complimentary Interventions on Persistent Pain and Comfort in Elder Residents.”

Shropshire will use one stationary slide with her title and a picture. Then, she will be given a microphone, and will have 3 minutes to describe her research topic and its significance to a general audience.

“When I first heard of this competition, I was intrigued and excited for the opportunity,” said Shropshire. “It is more challenging than I originally expected because of the short time limit. I am very passionate on the topic of elders suffering with persistent pain. The challenge is I have numerous interesting points to share with an audience regarding my research and I had to narrow the content down to 3 minutes.”

This is Shropshire’s first timed presentation. “It is a great exercise because although I have passion for my topic and could discuss it for hours, others may just want the highlights.”

Participants will be competing for three prizes. The first place winner will receive $1,000 and will be entered in the Midwest Association of Graduate Schools competition in April. The second place winner will receive $750, and the People’s choice winner will receive $1,000.

If Shropshire is one of the winners, she plans to spend the money on her research.

“I never imagined the expense associated with a non-interventional study would accumulate as it has with this study,” she said. “I am collecting primary data from elder participants in assisted living. My research sites are dispersed throughout central Illinois and it has required several trips to each site throughout recruitment.”

The 3MT will be held on Thursday, February 23, from 6–9 p.m. at the Normal Theater. There is no cost to attend this event.

“I am excited to be a presenter at the 3MT competition! I feel this experience will assist in building public speaking and articulation of my research.”