Congratulations to the winners of MIT's first-ever 3MT and Research Slam!

Graduate Student Category: 3 Minute Thesis

Winner & Audience Choice: Lindsey Backman, Department of Chemistry

Runner-up: Cadence Payne, Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics

Postdoctoral Scholar Category: Research Slam

Winner: Mate Bezdek, Department of Chemistry

Runner-up: Hari Vijayamohanan, Department of Chemistry

Audience Choice: Kelsey Miller, Department of Biology

Interested in learning about cool research at MIT from excellent science communicators?

Monday, March 29 | 5:00-6:30 pm EST | Virtual | Register

Come attend MIT’s first Research Slam Showcase to learn about a range of topics from why poop smells bad to designing satellites the size of your hand to study our great oceans! The showcase will feature MIT graduate students & scholars explaining their research and its importance in 3 minutes or less, with judging by an expert panel of judges and by YOU, the audience, to determine the winner.

The 90-minute program will include live viewing of videos from the participants, evaluation & feedback from judges, audience voting, and declaration of winners. Attendees can join in the fun by voting for the audience-choice awards, asking questions to participants, and leaving comments. Come join us for a celebration of innovative research and science communication at MIT!


The Slam Showcase is free and open to everybody and anybody, so please share with your friends & family.


Registration Link: Zoom Webinar


Panel of Judges

The event will be hosted by Diana Chien, Director of the MIT School of Engineering Communication Lab

Scheduled Talks

Speaker Affiliation Title
Category:    Graduate Student (3MT)
Lindsey Backman Chemistry Why does poop smell bad? Investigating skatole production by mammalian gut bacteria
Maria Zagorulya Biology Finding immune balance
Heng Yang Mechanical Engineering Certifiable perception: towards safe and trustworthy autonomy
Cadence Payne Aeronautics & Astronautics Probing the oceans with bread loaf-sized spacecraft
Joy Zeng Chemical Engineering Using electrons and catalysts to sustainably perform difficult chemical reactions
Category:    Postdoc (Research Slam)
Julia Froese Koch Institute Improving CAR T-cell therapy for pancreatic cancer
Mate Bezdek Chemistry Designing a methane sensor
Kelsey Miller Biology Avenging our immune system
Hari Vijayamohanan Chemistry Launching bacteria droplet tug-of-wars


Prizes for Participants

Category Winner Runner-up Audience Choice
Graduate Student (3MT) $600 $300 $300
Postdoctoral Scholar $600 $300 $300


Information for participants

Looking to build your science communication skills?

Excited to compete for hundreds of dollars in cash prizes?

Participate in MIT's first ever Research Slam and Three Minute Thesis (3MTTM) competition!

If you have a friend who is particularly good at science communication, spread the word!

Perks of participating

  • Hundreds of dollars in prizes! Winner gets $600. Runner-up gets $300. Audience-choice award of $300
  • We have workshops to hone your science communication skills
  • A platform to showcase your research to the entire MIT community and the broader public
  • Add a video description of research to your portfolio
  • Winners of the 3MTTM category are eligible to progress to regional and other higher level 3MTTM competitions

Competition Description

Participants must submit a pre-recorded 3 minute talk with a single slide, describing their research to a scientifically curious non-expert audience. The videos must conform to the format of Three Minute Thesis (3MTTM). Here is a link to guidelines on the video format. The only modification to 3MT rules that our Slam makes is that particpants can choose to have their slide visible adjacent to the video of them speaking for however long they like during the talk. 

The competition has two categories: 3MTTM and Research Slam. These categories just differ in their eligibility criteria of participation. The same rubric will be used to judge both categories. Depending on the number of entries, there might be an initial screening of videos. The top 4-5 videos in each category will be presented during the final showcase event.

The tentative date for the virtual final showcase is March 29, 2021 from 5-7 PM Eastern Time (Moved from the original date of March 8, 2021). Videos of finalists will be showcased and evaluated by a panel of judges and the audience. The judges will be from diverse backgrounds including academia, science communication, and science policy. The event will be widely advertised and audience will include both the MIT community and the general public. 


  • All MIT PhD candidates and postdoctoral researchers are eligible
  • Participation in the 3MTTM category will be restricted to PhD candidates currently enrolled at MIT, who have passed their qualifying exams and not finished defending their thesis
  • Postdoctoral scholars are eligible to participate in the Research Slam category

Timeline for participants

  1. Take a look at the rules and description to get an idea of what the competition looks like
  2. Fill out this Google form indicating your intent to participate. This is not binding and just to help us with logistics
  3. The Resources page has links to help you prepare for the event
  4. Refer to our workshop recordings to further aid your preparation
  5. Once you are done preparing your talk, use this Google form to turn in your submissions. (Deadline: March 15, 2021 @ 11:00 PM Eastern Time)

Please don't hesitate to contact Simon Rosu (srosu@mit.edu) if you have any questions

You are highly encouraged to utilize the MIT Comm LabsCAPD, and the MIT Writing and Communication Center to aid your preparation.