Empower Your Pitch! – A Doctoral Research Communication Competition

Empower Your Pitch! is a doctoral research communication competition open to all doctoral students at JHU.

The competition, a modified version of the 3 Minute Thesis, empowers presenters to communicate the value of their research at any stage of development and across all disciplines – including STEM, Humanities, Education, and Social Sciences – to diverse audiences in a maximum time frame of three minutes.

Participants may craft presentations that include varied elements, including traditional presentations, music, poetry, rap, electronic media, and props! The goal of these strategies is to capture the audience’s attention, convey the essence of their research, and explain its relevance to their listeners through their unique perspective.

Unleash the Power of Communication!

Why participate?

Effective communication of research is an essential skill that helps students and researchers to make an impact in society. It allows for leadership and innovation, facilitates decision making, and has far reaching societal implications.

In today’s rapidly changing workplace, where remote work and digital technologies are becoming increasingly prevalent, effective communication skills are essential for success. These skills align with the changing 21st century workplace and help students become multidimensional, compelling communicators.

According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), career readiness is a foundation from which to demonstrate requisite core competencies that broadly prepare the college educated for success in the workplace and lifelong career management.

NACE determined that those competencies include Career Development, Critical Thinking/Problem Solving, Digital Technology, Global/Intercultural Fluency, Leadership, Professionalism/Work Ethic, and very importantly, the art and skill of Communication.

The ability to communicate effectively is crucial in any industry, and it is essential to have it as a core competency to be successful in the workplace.



Empower Pitch is open to all currently enrolled doctoral students in the Johns Hopkins community at any stage of their graduate school careers. Participants from the 2022 Empower your Pitch! competition are eligible to participate again.

Competition Components

Empower Your Pitch includes a  three-round competition

Round 1

• A panel of coaches in the first round will offer feedback to participants to refine their pitch for the next round.

• There is no possibility of elimination in round one.

• To enable participation from diverse groups in remote locations, Round 1 will take place virtually.

Round 2

• Round two will involve the selection of 12 competition finalists who compete in a third and final round.

• To enable participation from diverse groups in remote locations, Round 2 will take place virtually.

Round 3

• In a third and final round a diverse panel of judges with expertise in research communication will select three winners, with one winner chosen by the audience.

• Finalists will compete live and in-person at The Imagine Center on Homewood campus.

Additional components

• All winners will receive awards of excellence and cash prizes.

• Empower Your Pitch offers participants the opportunity to complete three training sessions that develop research communication skills.

• These sessions are recommended but not required. All students are encouraged to participate in the training series regardless of their participation in the Empower Your Pitch! Competition.

and Guidelines

• Participants may incorporate presentation aids into their pitches, including audio and/or visual media, equipment/supplies, and props. Aids must follow standard safety protocols.

• Participants may incorporate diverse strategies to communicate their pitches, including spoken word presentations, poems, music, or rap.

• Pitches may not exceed a time frame of three minutes.

• Pitches begin when presenters begin to speak, interact with props/equipment, or otherwise utilize spoken or physical movements to convey their message and conclude at or before the 3-minute mark.

• The decisions of the judge panels in rounds 2 and 3 are final.


Dates & Deadlines

Activity Date/Time (EST) Location
Information Session & Dialogue Mon. Feb. 6
12 – 1 p.m.
View Link
Competition Registration Deadline Wed. Mar. 15
11:59 p.m.
Registration Form
Round One Wed. Mar. 29
3 p.m.
Virtual (Zoom)
Round Two Wed. Apr. 19
3 p.m.
Virtual (Zoom)
Round Three/Finale Wed. May 2
3 p.m.
Imagine Center (Homewood Campus)

The final round of Empower Your Pitch will occur in-person at the Imagine Center. Finalists needing accommodations for participation in-person should reach out to Danielle Gabriel, Associate Director of PHutures at for more information.



Planning and preparation is the first step towards creating a successful research communication pitch! This requires not only having an idea of what you want to present, but also knowing how to present it in a way that will be most effective.


Workshop Date/Time (EST) Location
Speaking in Draft: A Workshop on Co-Creative Process Friday, February 24 at 12pm ET Imagine Center
Crafting A Pitch 101 Thursday, March 2 | 1 pm ET Zoom Link
Making Your Message Stick Wed. Mar. 8, 12 noon ET Imagine Center, Register here

Empower Your

• Award for Overall Excellence in Research Communication ($1000)

• Award for Outstanding Public Engagement through Research Communication ($1000)

• Award for Outstanding Creativity in Research Communication ($1000)

• The Community Choice Award for Excellence in Research Communication (determined by the grand finale audience) ($500)


2023 Details

Details Coming Soon!

DEI Statement. At Empower Your Pitch!, we are committed to creating a safe and inclusive competition environment that welcomes and respects all doctoral students from diverse backgrounds and experiences. Our competition is designed to empower students from all disciplines and fields, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, religion, ability, and cultural background. We believe that diversity of thought and experience leads to creative, innovative and impactful research, and we strive to foster an atmosphere that celebrates this diversity. We are dedicated to promoting equity and reducing barriers to participation and will work to ensure that all participants have equal opportunities to showcase their research and succeed in the competition.