Millennium Café Pitch Competition

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Details of the Competition

Graduate Students will pitch their research in 2 minutes or less in a virtual setting!

Sponsored by PPG Industries, the Millennium Café Pitch Competition is an opportunity to pitch your research in TWO minutes or less using no more than four supporting slides.  Graduate students will briefly convey their research to a curious and technically diverse audience in hopes of taking home CASH PRIZES and developing new COLLABORATIONS.

Evaluation Criteria

Big Picture – Did the researcher give a compelling reason why their work is important?
Structure & Clarity – Did the presenter create the message in a logical and well-supported fashion?
Use of technology – Did the presenter know how to screen share, how to use laser pointer if needed, were there the right amount of visuals, did they use a variety of images and graphics, background visuals, etc…
Passion – Was it presented with energy, enthusiasm, good body language, etc.?
Pace – Was the presenter prepared to start the pitch as soon as the start was signaled, and did the presenter stay within the allotted time?

Winners of this Competition

Top 5 pitches will present live on June 9th at the Millennium Café where we will use live audience voting to determin the order of the top 5 prizes.

Two free trainings were available to everyone

Virtual trainings:

Tuesday, May 12, 2020 - 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.

"Everybody Needs a (Virtual) Elevator Pitch"
Andy Gustafson, PhD, Smeal College of Business

The amount of information that surrounds everybody, every day, is the highest it has ever been in the world’s history.   Skilled scientists and engineers must be equipped with not only technical expertise, but also with communication skills that can get others interested in their areas of research.  This could mean the difference between success or failure in launching a new business, gaining a grant, or garnering support from the community at large regarding why your work matters.

Thursday, May 14, 2020 - 1:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.

"Effective Presentation Skills for (Virtual) Elevator Pitches"
- Marcy B. Milhomme, PhD, Communication Arts and Sciences

Potential employers, curious community members, and discerning grant agencies all have in common a desire to be engaged and enlightened by scientists who can create a better future. When scientists deliver messages, their technical skills and expertise are greatly compounded by the clear and robust delivery of experiences, stories, and qualifications. In this session, focused on the delivery of an elevator pitch, we will explore how concise, conversational, and dynamic communication can set an individual apart. Participants will have an opportunity to match their technical expertise to meaningful nonverbal strategies that will enhance their messages, build confidence, and communicate a lasting impact.