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exCITE Talks

exCITE Talks recognizes the role that co-curricular learning experiences plays in students' academic and professional development.

Undergraduate students selected for the competition will compete to deliver the best exCITE Talk: a three-minute elevator pitch, accompanied by a single slide. Amazon gift cards (1st prize: $500; 2nd: $250; 3rd $150; People’s Choice: $100) will be awarded to the students who receiving the top scores at the final competition.

exCITE Talks is inspired by the Three-Minute Thesis (3MT®) competition founded by the University of Queensland.


  • Applications are due on Tuesday, September 5th.
  • All accepted contestants must attend or watch the recording of the Elevator Pitch Workshop presented in Teams at noon on Thursday, September 7th.
  • The preliminary round will be in the Elizabeth D. Rockwell Pavilion in the M.D. Anderson Library on Monday, September 11th, between 9:00 AM and 6:00 PM.
    • Competitors will choose 15-minute appointments that fit their schedules.
  • The final round of the competition will be held in the Rockwell Pavilion on Monday, September 18th at 5 PM.


This elevator pitch competition is open to undergraduate students at the University of Houston Main Campus, who participated in an intensive co-curricular experience during the 2022 - 2023 academic year (August 22, 2022 - August 20, 2023).

To qualify as an intensive experience for the exCITE Talks competition, the co-curricular activity must have either been either a course requirement or an optional assignment or, if it was not connected to a course, at least 40 hours in duration. Training sessions and orientations count toward the 40 hour requirement. 

Contestants must have been enrolled at the University of Houston Main Campus during academic year 2022-2023 and be enrolled for the fall of 2023.

All contestants must attend the elevator pitch workshop sponsored by University Career Services.

Winners must be present to receive prizes at the final competition.



An elevator pitch is a short speech that communicates the significance of an experience, idea, or proposal to an audience who is unfamiliar with the speaker and topic.

In the exCITE Talks competition, these elevator pitches must describe the significance and impact of an intensive co-curricular experience. exCITE Talks cannot be more than three minutes in duration and must be accompanied by a single slide.


A co-curricular experience is an outside-of-the-classroom activity that relates to your academic course work. Some examples of co-curricular activities include internships, learning abroad, learning away, undergraduate research, and service learning that relate to your academic program or goals. 


All applications for the exCITE Talks competition will be reviewed to ensure that experiences are co-curricular learning and occurred within the previous academic year and while a student at UH.

All exCITE Talks will be evaluated by a panel of judges, made up up of faculty and staff.

Your presentation must conform to the following rules:

  • A single static PowerPoint slide is required. No slide transitions, animations or "movement" of any description are allowed. 
  • No additional electronic media (e.g. sound and video files) are permitted.
  • No additional props (e.g. costumes, musical instruments, laboratory equipment) are permitted.
  • Presentations are limited to 3 minutes maximum and competitors exceeding 3 minutes are disqualified.
  • Presentations are not to be spoken word (e.g. no poems, raps, or songs).
  • Presentations are considered to have commenced when a presenter starts their presentation through either movement or speech.
  • The decision of the judging panel is final.

A copy of the scoring rubric is available here.


  1. Can I compete in exCITE talks this year if I competed in a previous year? Yes, as long as you are still an undergraduate student at UH. You will need to describe a co-curricular experience from the previous  academic year not the experience you discussed the year before. (You can describe related experiences or new roles you took on in the most recently concluded academic year.)
  2. Can I compete if I worked on a project with a team? Yes, you must present on your individual role in the project. 
  3. I'm not able to attend the Elevator Pitch Workshop. What should I do? We will make a recording of the workshop available to all accepted contestants by 5:00 pm on the day of the workshop. You can also accept the Teams invitation for the workshop and receive the recording as soon as the workshop ends.
  4. Where will the Elevator Pitch Workshop be held? Do I need to prepare anything? The Elevator Pitch Workshop will be held in Teams. The meeting link will be sent to all accepted students. It is never too early to begin thinking about what message you want to convey in your exCITE Talk and how you will convey it through evidence and presentation. If time allows, a small number of students will be able to practice their pitches during the workshop and receive feedback.