WAGS Third Annual Regional Grand Slam Competition



WAGS Third Annual Regional Grand Slam (research/scholarship in 3 min) Competition


Loews Ventana Canyon Resort
Tucson, Arizona

March 6, 2019


This year, WAGS will be holding our 3rd-annual Grand Slam (research/scholarship in 3 min) competition. We invite you to register your university’s 3MT (or similar 3-miunute grand slam type competition) winner to compete in this regional competition at no charge. Our Grand Slam participants will be competing for cash prizes, bragging rights in the west, and an opportunity to compete in a national competition.


Only graduate students from institutions who are members of WAGS may register for this regional competition. To become a member: http://www.uwlax.edu/conted/wags/membership/

Competitors must have won their university’s most recent 3MT or Grad Slam-like competition. If the first place winner is not able to attend WAGS, the school may enter their second place winner, or the next highest winner available. This Grand Slam (research/scholarship in 3 min) competition is open to both Master’s and doctoral graduate students who are currently enrolled in a graduate/professional program in any discipline.


Please notify us of your university’s plan to submit a nominee by December 1, 2018 by emailing jcoonrod@unm.edu with the subject line Grand Slam Entry. We will request information about the competitor later in January, 2019.

Competition Schedule:

The competition schedule will depend on the number of schools participating. We will update the competition schedule in January, 2019.


The finalists will be awarded cash prizes in the following amounts:

  • First Prize: $500
  • Second Prize: $250
  • People’s choice: $250

WAGS Competition Rules & Regulations:

The WAGS competition will be a registered competition with the Three Minute Thesis Organization.   Participants may be winners of local 3MT competitions or ones similar in structure and purpose to the Three Minute Thesis. The WAGS competition will follow the competition rules and judging criteria as laid out by 3MT, with a few additional clarifications as stated below.  


If more than 12 students, or so, are registered to compete, all WAGS Slammers will participate in a preliminary round on Tuesday, March 5th at 4:30 pm; those receiving the highest scores will be selected to move forward to compete in the championship round. If not, we will hold one round of competition to determine the winners at 10:30 am on Wednesday, March 6th. The Grand Slam (research/scholarship in 3 min) winners will be announced onsite once judging is complete.

PowerPoint/Presentation Requirements:

  • All contestants must prepare 1 PowerPoint slide using the standard slide format that is provided (please keep the 16:9 aspect ratio). Failure to do so will result in the slide not being accepted. No slide transitions, animations or 'movement' of any description are allowed. The slide is to be presented from the beginning of the oration.
  • No additional props (e.g. costumes, laboratory equipment) are permitted.
  • Presentations are limited to 3 minutes maximum, and competitors exceeding 3 minutes are disqualified.
  • Presentations are to be spoken word (e.g. no poems, raps, or songs).
  • Presentations are to commence from the stage.
  • Presentations are considered to have commenced when a presenter starts their presentation through either movement or speech.
  • The scoring and decision of the adjudicating panel is final.
  • Any images, photos, graphics, graphs, or illustrations included on your slide must include a credit for the original source of the image, photo, etc. if they were not solely created by the presenter.
  • Keep all images and text within the black border of the PowerPoint slides, as images or text outside of this area will be cut off.
  • Slammers should dress in business casual or business professional attire.

Judging Criteria:

Per 3MT guidelines, the participants are evaluated on 4 different categories: comprehension, content, engagement, and communication.

1.) Comprehension (0-5 points)

  • Were the topic, key results, research significance, and outcomes communicated in language appropriate to a non-specialist audience?  
  • Did the speaker avoid scientific jargon, explain terminology, and provide adequate background information to illustrate points?
  • Did the speaker clearly understand their topic and make the audience understand something about it, too?

2.) Content (0-5 points)

  • Did the presentation provide some background about the research question being addressed and its significance?
  • Did the presentation clearly describe the key results of the research, including conclusions and outcomes?
  • Did the presentation follow a clear and logical sequence?
  • Did the presenter spend adequate time on each element of their presentation – or did they elaborate for too long on one aspect or was the presentation rushed?

3.) Engagement (0-5 points)

  • Did the presenter give the audience of sense of who they are, what they study, why they study it, and how --- in relatable terminology?
  • Did the presenter engage and connect with the audience?
  • Did the orator and presentation make the audience want to know more?
  • Was the presenter careful not to trivialize or generalize their research?
  • Did the presenter convey enthusiasm for their research?  

4.) Communication (0-5 points)

  • Did the presenter capture and maintain their audience’s attention?
  • Did the speaker have sufficient stage presence, eye contact, and vocal range?
  • Did s/he maintain a steady pace, and have a confident stance?
  • Did the PowerPoint slide enhance the presentation – was it clear, legible, and concise?
  • Was the research or scholarship conveyed in an understandable way?

Judging Rubric

We look forward to all of our students competing in our 3rd-Annual WAGS Regional Grand Slam (research/scholarship in 3 min) in Tucson! Please contact us at jcoonrod@unm.edu with any questions about this event. Thank you!