Student News

Register Today for 4th Annual 5-Minute Fast Track Competition

UK student Courtney Martin presents at the 5-Minute Fast Track Research Competition.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 24, 2021) — Applications are being accepted for the University of Kentucky Office of Undergraduate Research’s fourth annual 5-Minute Fast Track Research Competition. The goal of this competition is to improve students’ abilities to communicate their undergraduate research and creative work effectively to a general, non-specialist audience while creating a compelling story about their scholarship.

Competitors will present their research in five minutes in front of a panel of judges and a live audience using a single, static slide. This challenges students to develop their academic, presentation and research communication skills while also allowing them to showcase their research in a captivating way. 

To be eligible to compete, participants must have sophomore, junior or senior enrollment status and have completed two full terms of faculty-mentored research or creative work in any major. Participants must also be available to participate in the preliminary rounds and the final round.

“Typically, when we engage in research and creative work, we become incredibly focused on the fine details. The 5-Minute Fast Track Competition is a fantastic opportunity for undergraduates to step outside of the comfort zone that they develop in these details and challenge themselves by participating in this oral competition where they turn their focus on telling the impact of their scholarship to a general audience,” said Chad Risko, faculty director of the Office of Undergraduate Research.

“Throughout this competition, I was able to share the unique problems we discovered, the approach we took to investigate them, and the potential solutions to addressing these issues,” said Courtney Martin, last year’s second place winner of the competition.  

Martin also credits the competition with exposing her to new areas of research: “I was able to explore research fields outside of my own, become more informed in the world of research, and learn how others were contributing to making improvements in their respective fields.”

The competition has two preliminary rounds — the first on Oct. 19 and the second on Oct. 20. Students will be judged on communication, comprehension, content and engagement. The top 10 finalists from the preliminary rounds will advance to the final round Oct. 28. The preliminary rounds will take place in the William T. Young Library Auditorium, with the final round taking place in the Gatton Student Center Worsham Cinema. All three rounds of the competition are free and open to the public. 

Students will compete for cash prizes: $750 for first place, $500 for second place and $250 for third place. 

Registration for the competition will close Oct. 5. There are only 40 student spots available and registration is on a first-come, first-served basis. 

Registration requires a topic summary, presentation title and faculty mentor information. To apply to for the competition, click here. For more details, click here.

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.