The format was different but the excitement was the same. In the end, Grant Ely from the College of Nursing won Washington State University’s Three Minute Thesis (3MT) which took place on March 24.

In its seventh year at WSU, 3MT is a competition for doctoral students. Each student gets only three minutes to give a compelling oration about their research, which is rated by a panel of judges.

Due to COVID-related safety precautions, 3MT did not take place in person, which it normally does, but rather was streamed on Northwest Public Broadcasting, broadening the number of people able to view the competition.

While the judging panel’s scores were all close, ultimately, it was Ely who won with his presentation about a lack of adequate nursing care and the extensive research gap in how to supply more work-ready nurses.

Provost and Executive Vice President Elizabeth Chilton, who also participated as one of the judges, said that while all the topics were relevant to some of the world’s most pressing problems, Ely’s research stood out.

“It was particularly timely to hear about building preparedness training for nurses finding ways to prevent burnout and attrition for these important front-line workers,” she said. “It was inspiring to see all the finalists take such important and complex research topics and distill them into a compelling, short, and clear presentation.”

One judge said it was a “very important topic, especially with a current pandemic” while another said the delivery included a strong finish: “I thought you brought the audience back around to an important topic.”

As winner of the event, Ely receives a travel grant for $3,000 to be applied to a research conference of his choice.

“It was an honor to be selected and feel WSU’s support for considering new ways to prepare student nurses for their future service on healthcare’s front lines,” Ely said. “I am also grateful to the leaders and faculty in the College of Nursing who continue to mentor me on this journey.”

Femi Peter Alege, a doctoral student in WSU’s Biological Systems Engineering program, won second place and a $1,500 travel grant. Rob Spence, a doctor of nursing practice student in WSU Vancouver’s Family Nurse Practitioner Program, took home third place and a $500 travel grant.