ASU students place first, third at Indigenous 3MT competition

Three winners of the Indigenous 3MT competition

Winners of the Indigenous 3MT competition: Doreen Bird (third place), Chelsie Parayko (second place), Rachell Tenorio (first place).


Students from the Pueblo graduate cohort program at Arizona State University’s School of Social Transformation recently placed first and third at the Indigenous 3MT (Three Minute Thesis) competition held at the University of Manitoba.

The University of Manitoba’s Ongomiizwin Research and the University of Winnipeg co-hosted the Pueblo cohort for a field-based course in Winnipeg, Canada, and the culminating event was the Indigenous 3MT. The competition was held at the University of Winnipeg and co-sponsored by its Office of Indigenous Affairs on March 7. Approximately 20 master's degree and doctoral students shared their research. Students from the University of Manitoba, the University of Winnipeg, and Arizona State University participated in the competition.

As the name of the event implies, students were given three minutes to explain their theses to a panel of judges. In addition to the time constraint, participants had to follow a restrictive list of rules:

• A single static PowerPoint slide is permitted (no slide transitions, animations or “movement” of any kind, the slide is to be presented from the beginning of the presentation). The slide must have minimum 0.5" margins for key information.

• No additional electronic media (e.g., sound and video files) are permitted.

• No additional props (e.g., costumes, musical instruments, laboratory equipment) are permitted.

• Presentations are limited to three minutes maximum and challengers exceeding three minutes are disqualified.

• Presentations are to be spoken word (e.g., no poems, raps, or songs).

• Presentations are considered to have commenced when a presenter starts their presentation through movement or speech.

• For any images, photos, or diagrams used on the slide, if not created by the presenter, the presenter must have explicit written permission to use the image and the source must be credited.

School of Social Transformation student Rachell Tenorio placed first with her thesis, “Deconstructing trauma.”

“The 3MT competition was challenging but the importance of relaying my dissertation to a general audience was my goal,” Tenorio said. “I wanted everyone, from all backgrounds, to be able to understand my dissertation. So, with that in mind, and watching examples of YouTube videos online, I was able to practice and time myself to provide an effective and winning presentation.”

Rachell Tenorio presenting her thesis.

Rachell Tenorio presents her thesis for the 3MT competition, translating her work for a general audience in a tight timeframe.

Doreen Bird, also from the School of Social Transformation, placed third with her dissertation titled, “Pueblo research methodologies.”

“It was a great experience participating in the Indigenous 3MT,” Bird said. She continued, “It gave us a chance to streamline the way we talk about our dissertation research and connect with an audience and judges we had never met before.”

The University of Queensland developed the 3MT research communication competition in 2008 to celebrate the exciting research of PhD students around the world, while challenging those students to present their research in a compelling way to a general audience, within the constraint of three minutes. Today, more than 200 universities host 3MT competitions.

“The Pueblo cohort’s participation in the Indigenous 3MT competition represents an incredible and pivotal moment in both how we as indigenous peoples are doing research and how we talk about that research,” said Elizabeth Sumida Huaman, who leads the Pueblo graduate cohort program at ASU.

“The past generations for indigenous peoples have been marked by exploitative research targeting our communities for something of particular interest to others and for their profit — our natural resources, our cultural practices and spirituality, our very physical being. Our students represent momentum that seeks to unravel this pattern. The 3MT offered us a rare opportunity to see this movement at work.”

Learn more: The School of Social Transformation’s Pueblo graduate cohort program.

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