Student and Academic Life

Register Today for 2nd Annual 5-Minute Fast Track Competition

Last years judges and winners of the 5-Minute Fast Track Competition.
Winners of the 2018 5-Minute Fast Track Research Competition (left to right, front row) Natalie Hawes, Alyssa Mertka and Christopher Kositzke.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 5, 2019) — Short and sweet wins the research competition — well in this case anyway. The registration window for the University of Kentucky Office of Undergraduate Research's second annual 5-Minute Fast Track Competition is now open. 

The competition asks undergraduate researchers to present their research in five minutes in front of a panel of judges and a live audience only using one slide, challenging competitors to fine tune their critical communication skills and their ability to communicate their undergraduate research effectively to a general audience. 

The competition was born out of a need to provide undergraduate students with an opportunity to hone their research communication skills in a fun and exciting way, explained Evie Russell, assistant director of the Office of Undergraduate Research.

"The skills developed while preparing for this competition will aid students in future job interviews, networking at conferences and even with conversations with family members and friends," Russell said. "Forcing participants to balance complexity and depth with clarity and concision will benefit our undergraduate students as they move toward professional careers." 

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

"A competition such as this one helps students like myself become comfortable with presenting work quickly and concisely to a general audience, making it that much easier to overcome any nerves and talk about what we do and what we've learned in professional and public settings," said Christopher Kositzke, last year's winner of the competition. Kositzke, who is currently in graduate school at Cambridge University, credits his research preparedness, in part, to the Office of Undergraduate Research and to the competition.

"This interdisciplinary approach has and will ease my transition between academic fields, as I shift from a degree in biology to a master's in epidemiology," he said.

The competition will comprise two preliminary rounds — one Tuesday, Oct. 15, and the other Wednesday, Oct. 16. Students will be judged on communication, comprehension, content and engagement. The top five students from each preliminary round will advance to the final round Wednesday, Oct. 23. All rounds will take place in the William T. Young Library Auditorium and are open and free 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 Friday, Oct. 4. There are only 40 student spots available, registration is on a first-come, first-served basis. 

Registration will require a topic summary, presentation title and faculty mentorship information. To apply for the competition, click here. For more details, click here

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion two years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. The Chronicle of Higher Education judged us a “Great College to Work for,”  and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for three straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.