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Coastal Connections: Nicholls

Coastal Connections at Nicholls

Coastal Connections Competition flyer

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Louisiana Sea Grant hosted the Coastal Connections competition at Nicholls State University on Monday, October 29, 2018 in the Wetlands Acadian Cultural Center at Jean Lafitte National Park. The competition, modified from the Three Minute Thesis (3MT™) approach to research communication, was an exercise in developing academic, presentation and research communication skills while supporting the development of students’ capacities to effectively explain their research. Graduate students have three minutes to present a compelling oration on their research topic and its significance using two slides. Coastal Connections focuses on the ability of students to consolidate their ideas and crystalize their research discoveries.

Any currently enrolled graduate student at Nicholls conducting research relevant to coastal issues is eligible to participate in Coastal Connections. Exceptions will be made for undergraduate students currently engaged in coastal research.

How to Apply
To be considered, students need to download, complete and return the following application, including short abstract (no more than 250 words), to Dani DiIullo at [email protected].  Abstracts that demonstrate strong written communication skills will be given favorable weight. They are not intended to be copied from a manuscript, as they should be written for an educated, non-specialist audience.

Applications Timeline

  • Submission Deadline: October 5
  • Notice of Acceptance: October 12
  • Competition: October 29

Coastal Connections Application (Adobe Acrobat fillable form)


  • No more than TWO static slides are permitted (no slide transitions, animations or ‘movement’ of any type).
  • 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 a maximum of 3 minutes. Competitors exceeding 3 minutes will be disqualified.

Judging Criteria
A panel of three independent judges will make the decision on the three travel award prizes. The decision of the judging panel is final. Competitors will be evaluated on:

  • Communication style: Does the communication style draw the audience in?
  • Comprehension: Is the content of your remarks easy to understand? Did the presentation help the audience understand the research? Was the research topic and its significance to coastal issues communicated in language appropriate to an intelligent but non-specialist audience?
  • Engagement: Did the presentation leave the audience with new knowledge and a wish to learn more?

A webinar was held in 2014 to provide instruction on how best to prepare for the competition (formerly known as Coastal Communication Clips). The webinar was led by Dr. Bill Dennison of the University of Maryland and Amy Clipp of New Orleans. View a PDF of the PowerPoint presentation from the webinar and read the blog for a more detailed explanation of the webinar.

Presentation Examples:

Louisiana Sea Grant will offer travel awards of $500 to three students based on effective presentation. These travel awards are for professional meetings to which presentations abstracts have been accepted. These awards are to be used for meetings within a year from the Coastal Connections competition.

2017 Winners

  • Alexa Ballinger, Population characteristics of crayfish in two hydrologically different Louisiana river-floodplain systems
  • Kellyn LaCour-Conant, Long-term Deepwater Horizon impacts on salt marsh plant-invertebrate relationships
  • Megan Nepshinsky, Feeding areas of breeding Royal terns on Isles Dernieres Barrier Islands