As we gather to explore the pressing issues reshaping our world, the McDonnell Academy invites you to be an active participant in our thought-provoking events and competitions.

Shaping our perspectives

Join the Forces Reshaping the World Photo Contest and capture the essence of transformation. Your visual storytelling can convey the profound impact of global challenges and solutions.

The McDonnell Academy invites photo submissions on the theme of “Forces Reshaping the World” from any of the Academy’s partner universities, including Washington University in St. Louis. Showcase your unique perspective and contribute to the visual narrative that reflects the profound changes shaping our global reality.

A panel of judges will determine the winners and will recognize outstanding interpretations with a generous first place award of $800 and a second place award of $400. Finalists’ photos will be displayed on,, and the winners will be announced live during the closing gala on October 7, 2023 at the St. Louis Gateway Arch.

The photo contest submission deadline has been extended to October 1, 2023. Learn more about eligibility and guidelines below.
Po Cheng Lin_3MT 2018

Unleashing your research prowess

Our Three-Minute Thesis (3MT®) Competition is specially designed to feature the thematic work of graduate students, at WashU and at McDonnell International Scholars Academy partner institutions.

The 3MT® event challenges graduate students to articulate their complex research clearly and concisely to non-specialist audiences in three minutes or less. Adapted for the Symposium, 3MT® presentations will be focused around one of the thematic areas: the environment, social innovation, global health, and digital transformation.

Students selected as finalists from partner institutions will be awarded up to $2,000 (USD) to cover travel costs to attend and present live at the symposium. Winners in each theme selected by the panel of judges, during the in-person competition, will receive a prize of $2000; winners chosen by the audience (People’s Choice) will receive a prize of $1000.

Submission deadline has passed.

3MT® Competition

  • Four 1st Place: $2000
  • Four People’s Choice: $1000

Prizes are subject to U.S. tax withholding.

Submission deadline has passed.

Photo Contest

  • Four 1st Place Winners: $800
  • Four Runner-Up Winners: $400

Prizes are subject to U.S. tax withholding.

Submission deadline: October 1, 2023

Your research prowess

Adapted for the Symposium, 3MT® presentations will be focused around one of the thematic areas: the environment, social innovation, global health, and digital transformation.

The in-person competition for finalists will take place on Friday, October 6, 2023, and winners will be announced Saturday, October 7, 2023 during the symposium gala.

The submission deadline has passed.

Eligibility Requirements
  • Active graduate student (PhD and master’s degree) at WashU or a McDonnell International Scholars Academy partner institution enrolled in a full-time graduate degree program at the time of entry into the competition and at the time of the symposium.
  • Able to deliver a 3MT® presentation focused on one of the four thematic areas.
Entering the Competition & Selection Process
  • Eligible students use the online entry form to submit a 3-minute video with one static PowerPoint slide explaining their research on a topic related to one of the four core themes of the symposium. 
  • Submissions must meet all rules and presentation requirements. Failure to meet the specified guidelines will result in disqualification.
  • Following the close of the submission period, all entries will be evaluated for eligibility. Virtual heats will take place to determine finalists (4 finalists per theme across all partner institutions). Panels of judges for each round of the competition assess contestants using the official 3MT® judging criteria.  
  • Before submitting an entry, contestants are expected to review the competition handbook for full information on eligibility, entry submission requirements, competition rules, judging criteria, and selection timeline.

Additional resources for students interested in the McDonnell Academy Global Research Symposium 3MT® Competition may be added. Please check back regularly for updates.

3MT Entry Form

The submission deadline has passed.

Shaping our perspectives

Your photographs can shed light on the social, environmental, cultural, and technological forces that are reshaping our societies and shaping the future. Let your lens capture the moments that evoke emotions, challenge perceptions, and ignite conversations.

The submission deadline is October 1, 2023.

Eligibility Requirements

This photo competition is open to any current graduate or undergraduate student, faculty, or staff member at a McDonnell International Scholars Academy partner institution, including Washington University in St. Louis.

Submission Guidelines

All submissions must include the following:

  • Name, contact email, and affiliation (partner university).
  • Photo title, a brief description (maximum 100 words) of what the photo depicts, and the location where it was taken. In the description, please tell us what story, moment, or concept the photo captures and how it relates to the theme.
  • Photos must be in digital form (JPG, TIF, or PNG formats only) with a resolution of at least 1 megapixel in size. File size no larger than 25 MB.
  • There is a limit of up to 3 photo submissions per participant. Each entry must be submitted separately using the online form.
  • A panel of judges will assess photos both on their artistic merit as well as content relevance to the theme.
  • All participants must have obtained permission to photograph any human subjects or art work in the submitted images. By submitting photos, you grant permission to the McDonnell Academy to publish them online or in brochures with proper credit.
Photo Entry Submission

The submission deadline extended October 1, 2023


Angie Rahaman
Communications and Alumni Relations Coordinator
McDonnell International Scholars Academy
Washington University in St. Louis

As the competition schedule develops, updates will be posted.  Please check back regularly for the most current information.

Scholar Highlight

Three-Minute Thesis in Beijing

Watch McDonnell Scholar Po-Cheng Lin delivering the winning presentation at the 3MT competition during the McDonnell Academy 7th International Symposium in Beijing.

About 3MT®

UQ’s internationally recognized Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) research competition was developed in 2008 and showcases the unique research conducted by PhD and professional degree students. Persuasively presenting their research topics before a live, non-specialist audience in less than three minutes using a single static PowerPoint slide, participation in the competition strengthens students’ academic and presentation skills while promoting cross-disciplinary understanding. Finalists selected after virtual recorded heats will present live and in-person at the symposium on October 6, 2023, to compete for cash prizes.