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WDDE: Pitch contest teaches UD science students the value of brevity

WDDE: Pitch contest teaches UD science students the value of brevity

Student researchers competed last week at the University of Delaware’s first elevator pitch contest. Participants had a short amount of time to explain why their scientific research matters.

Ninety seconds, said Josh LeMonte, a third year PhD student at UD. That’s all you get.

“If you decide that your presentation deserves more than 90 seconds, I will remind that it doesn’t,” LeMonte said.

LeMonte organized the university’s first-ever Pitch:90 competition. He brought the idea to UD after hearing about a similar competition at Rice University, and enlisted a communications coach to help students organize their presentations.

Forty students, mostly graduate students from UD’s science departments, lined up in the atrium in one of UD’s labs to deliver their lighting pitches to a panel of judges, consisting of alumni, faculty, local scientists and even a high school senior. Water quality and transportation were among the most popular topics.

The Delaware Environmental Institute (DENIN) sponsored the event. It director, Don Sparks, says that the ability for their students to communicate science to the public is becoming more vital.