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USD Graduate School Hosts 3MT Competition

Photo of Kulatheepan Thanabalasingam. The winner of the competition, Kulatheepan Thanabalasingam, delivers his 3 minute thesis.

VERMILLION, S.D. – The University of South Dakota Graduate School hosted its first 3-Minute Thesis (3MT) Competition earlier this semester. The 3MT is a communication competition where students present a compelling oration on their research thesis and its significance in under three minutes.

The competition challenges students to consolidate and present their ideas and research discoveries to a non-specialist audience. “The 3MT competition helped me learn how to communicate my ideas effectively to a wide community and crystalize my thoughts about my thesis” said Chandra Karki, a chemistry student at USD. “Participating in the 3MT competition helped boost my confidence and helped me articulate my research project, simply, it enhanced my communication skills.”

The students gained valuable skills from participating in the 3MT completion and recommended the competition to their peers. “I would recommend others to participate in the 3MT competition because it is a good platform for them to improve their public speaking and presentation skills,” said Atia Amin, a biology student.

Chemistry student Kulatheepan Thanabalasingam won the competition with his presentation “Make Fuel when the Sun Shines.” He will present his three minute thesis on April 6 at the regional meeting for the Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools (MAGS). Atia Amin placed second and was awarded $250.  

The five students in the final rounds were Atia Amin, Megan Bruns, Chandra Karki, Shahzahan Mia and Kulatheepan Thanabalasingam.


USD's College of Arts & Sciences offers students a top-notch undergraduate liberal arts education in the humanities, social sciences and sciences as well as graduate programs that have earned USD distinction as a research university by the Carnegie Foundation. The college's more than 22,000 alumni include famous journalists, Hollywood screenwriters, novelists, a Nobel Prize winner, South Dakota governors, attorneys, physicians, justices of the state Supreme Court, distinguished university faculty and international humanitarians.


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 202 undergraduate and 84 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, Knudson School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.


Hanna DeLange
USD News