Graduate Student Adelle Price Wins Statewide Three-Minute Talk Competition Presenting on High Impact Research

April 19, 2022
The 3MT helped CU Denver Graduate Student Adelle Price improve public speaking skills and build confidence in her growing expertise.

CU Denver graduate student Adelle Price won the fourth annual Colorado Statewide Three-Minute Talk (3MT) competition held virtually on April 8. The competition, sponsored and hosted by the Colorado Council of Graduate Schools, included participants from six universities throughout Colorado. 3MT competitions are designed to showcase graduate students’ ability to present, in just three minutes, with one standing slide, their research to an audience with unrelated expertise.

3MT competitions were launched at the University of Queensland, Australia, in 2008. The event has since spread worldwide.

“It’s really important that researchers learn to communicate complex ideas to anyone they come across,” says Price, currently seeking a Master in Statistics under the mentorship of Dr. Audrey Hendricks  “In order for researchers to move their research forward, they have to be able to translate what they have found to a general population, especially people in positions to make decisions around policy or approving grants. They don’t want to know the technicalities; they want to understand the ideas and implications.”

“Research drives progress, and graduate students are essential forces in this effort,” says Graduate School Senior Associate Dean Inge Wefes, Ph.D. “This year, six students from different Colorado universities participated in the statewide competition and shared work that will impact communities far beyond Colorado. We are grateful to all of them!”

Price attributes her winning performance to consistent, rigorous practice. “The first time I presented in front of professionals and field experts, I was extremely nervous and the talk did not go well,” she says. “A big motivator to participating in the 3MT was my desire to improve my public speaking skills and confidence in my own growing expertise. I did a lot of rehearsal around body language, tone, and rhythm of presenting the speech, recording myself and watching it back to ensure I was conveying my message in an effective way.” She also chose to stand during her presentation, even though it was on Zoom, to make it as real as possible.

Her presentation focused on research conducted in Professor Hendrick’s lab that involved building a mathematical model that takes genetic data and estimates its ancestry proportions. “They are able to estimate out of a given data set the proportions of African ancestry, European ancestry, East Asian ancestry, Indigenous American ancestry, and Southeast Asian ancestry,” Price says. “Essentially, it’s an algorithm they built that can make those estimations precisely. Research results can be used in studying disease, investigating how genes and disease interact, and whether or not there are genetic influences on certain diseases.”

Price plans to graduate in fall 2022, hopes to work in biotechnology, and is considering pursuing a doctorate in epidemiology. She believes her experience competing in the 3MT competitions will serve her well. “I want to encourage other students to participate,” she says. “I really grew from learning how to compile complex ideas and communicate them in a way that people can follow in a short amount of time. It’s fairly common in the real world that we’re going to have to give the ‘elevator pitch.’ It’s an important skill, and I’ve come away from it with something quite valuable.”