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exCITE Talks

excite talks

exCITE Talks recognizes the role that co-curricular learning experiences plays in students' academic and professional development. This year's exCITE Talks will be held online on Wednesday, September 29 at 4PM. Apply now. 

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 Wednesday, September 1 at 5PM
  • Accepted contestants will receive an invitation to participate by Friday, September 3
  • All accepted contestants must attend or watch the recording of the online Elevator Pitch Workshop on Wednesday, September 8 at 12PM
  • For the preliminary round of the competition, contestants must record and submit their presentation by Friday, September 17 at 4PM
  • The final round of the competition will be streamed online on Wednesday, September 29 at 4PM


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 2020 - 2021 academic year (August 19, 2020 - August 23, 2021).

To qualify as an intensive experience for the exCITE Talks competition, the co-curricular activity must have been at least 40 hours in duration. For travel programs, the duration of the trip counts toward this requirement as well as any pre- or post-trip meetings or requirements.

Contestants must have been enrolled at the University of Houston Main Campus in the spring of 2021 and be enrolled for the fall of 2021.

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, research assistantships, and service learning that relate to your academic program or goals. 


The CITE Advisory Board or CITE office staff will review all applications for the exCITE Talks competition. Students whose applications best articulate the significance of their experience will be invited to participate in the Preliminary Round of the competition.

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.  
  2. Can I compete if I worked on a project with a research team? Yes, you must present on your individual role in the project. 
  3. How do I submit my presentation for the preliminary round of the competition? Please see the instructions here