3 Minutes. 1 Slide. Your Work.

The 2021 Competition

The Big Pitch 2021 happened on Friday, November 19th from 12 – 1 p.m. It was a competitive final with six stellar presentations. Congratulations to our winners and finalists!

  • 1st Place: Rebekah Call, Religion, “Ezer K’negdo: Neither Helpful Nor Sufficient” (PPT Slide)
  • 2nd Place & Audience’s Choice: Tyler Shapland
  • 3rd Place: Rocky Blessey-Bragg, Education, “Preparing Educators for Dimensions of Diversity in Times of Crisis” (PPT Slide)
  • Finalist: David Kallemeyn, Information Systems & Technology, “Privacy & Technology” (PPT Slide)
  • Finalist: Robert Marohn, Information Systems & Technology, “Data Analytic Capability Maturity Model for Small and Medium Enterprises” (PPT Slide)
  • Finalist: Jessica Wong, Business, “Information Technology Business for Social Good” (PPT Slide)

If you missed the event, you can watch it on the Center for Writing & Rhetoric’s YouTube Channel.

Download a copy of the 2021 Program HERE.

The format is simple. Participants have 3 minutes and a single PowerPoint slide to argue for the significance of their research, project, or art. This lends itself to business projects and artist statements as well as research work in the Humanities and Social Sciences. The Big Pitch, CGU’s 3-Minute Thesis Competition, is open to all CGU students at any stage of their academic progress. The 2021 Big Pitch is once again virtual!

With an audience of students, staff, alumni, community members, and faculty, presentations are meant to be concise and accessible—they tell a story, use humor, and highlight the significance of student work instead of only focusing on complex details. Through this unique event, attendees learn about exciting research from across the university, and competitors develop their communication skills and compete for prizes!



Important Information about the 2021 Format

Due to the dynamic nature of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 Big Pitch will be virtual. All initial submissions will be prerecorded videos, but the six finalists will present live virtually during the final event! This format ensures equity in assessment as well as the best access for participation across our student body. We understand that many of our students either do not live in the area or may not participate due to concerns about in-person presentation events.

  • Preliminary round presentations are prerecorded.
  • The six finalists will present synchronously via Zoom for the final event.
  • There will be spaces available on-campus from which finalists can present comfortably.
  • Recording and/or editing quality are not included in the adjudicating criteria.
  • Different judging panels of faculty, staff, and alumni score the preliminary and final rounds.
  • Videos must meet the competition’s criteria with some optional inclusions allowed. See the Big Pitch Information Sheet for more details.

Register to Attend



First Place $1000
Second Place $500
Third Place $250
Audience’s Winner $250
Remaining Finalists $150
All participants will receive event swag!

Important Dates

Finals Friday, November 19, 2021, 12 – 1 p.m.
Preliminary Round Monday, November 8th to Thursday, November 11th, 2021
PowerPoint & Video Submission Deadline Friday, November 5, 2021, by 10 a.m.
Final Participation Deadline Monday, November 1, 2021, at 11:59 p.m.
Guaranteed Participation Deadline Friday, October 22, 2021, at 5 p.m.


Why Should I Participate?

As a student presenter, you develop academic, presentation, and research communication skills that give you a distinct career advantage after graduation. You strengthen your ability to break down complex material and explain research concisely. You improve your presentation skills by having to speak engagingly and clearly to a large audience in a short space of time. Finally, you strengthen your expertise at meeting the demands of a non-specialist audience—a valuable skill in a wide range of professions.

The Big Pitch is also beneficial more broadly by building CGU’s academic and professional culture. In addition to the professional experience presenters receive, the event contributes to the university’s intellectual culture by providing attendees an opportunity to engage in the academic life of the university outside of the confines of their department or usual role. Both internally and externally, for students and the campus community as a whole, the Big Pitch contributes to CGU’s academic mission of creating new knowledge and preparing leaders with the purpose and skills to make the world a better place.

*Students can compete more than once. Participants are allowed to enter over multiple years as long as they are active CGU students.

Ways to Participate

  1. Register to train and compete. Come for the training and then move on to the competition.
  2. Register and jump straight into the competition. Not recommended unless you have experience presenting in similar situations but still an option!
  3. Join the training without competing. Receive all the benefits of learning to talk about your research concisely and effectively by joining us for the training sessions.

More Resources

  1. Learn about the application process to ensure you submit everything correctly!
  2. Make sure you know all the guidelines and judging criteria.
  3. Schedule a 30-minute one-on-one appointment with Dr. Marcus Weakley, Director of the Center for Writing & Rhetoric to discuss any aspects of your pitch development or practice.
  4. Visit our tips and resources page.



1. Big Pitch Information Session (Register HERE)

September 9, 12 p.m. | Facilitated by Marcus Weakley, CWR Director

Learn all about the event from the changes for the virtual format to the rules for participation and criteria the judges use to assess the pitches to the structure of the preliminary and final rounds. We will also discuss all the deadlines, the dates for the series of preparative webinars being offered, and how to take advantage of all the support programs put in place for the event. 

2. Big Pitch Strategy Session (Register HERE)

September 20, 3 p.m. | Facilitated by Marcus Weakley, CWR Director

Preparing a presentation that is limited to one slide and three minutes to a non-specialist audience is a unique challenge; doing that on a complex topic that is meant to be condensed but not dumbed down is even more so! This webinar will address a number of helpful strategies in approaching this rhetorical situation, from the use of narratives or themes to structure key ideas to how to insert real-life examples to how much technical information is appropriate. 

3. CWR Workshop: Basics of Presenting (Register HERE)

October 5, 12 p.m.  | Facilitated by Anisha Ahuja, Writing Consultant 

In this webinar, we will go over the basics of effective public speaking and presentations.  The webinar is a brief overview of several elements of public speaking, including organization and structure or presentations, nonverbal do’s-and-don’ts’s, and tips for preparation.  The material discussed is applicable for both face-to-face and asynchronous presentations.   

4. Tips for Preparing a Big Pitch Presentation (Register HERE)

October 28, 12 p.m. | Facilitated by Marcus Weakley, CWR Director

This webinar provides quick coverage of a range of tips on developing and delivering a successful Big Pitch, Three Minute Thesis, presentation. We will cover structure, essential persuasive elements, PowerPoint slide strategies, and presentation practice and delivery. Also, we will talk about our resources for how to use a phone camera to record a Big Pitch presentation with an embedded PowerPoint slide.