Oregon State University graduate students university-wide were invited to present and compete in a challenging “3-minute thesis” contest. Students near the completion of their program explained the impact and significance of their work to a non-expert audience. The presenters were only allowed three minutes, and a single static power-point slide without the use of animations, recordings, or props. Participants were judged on communication style, clarity and structure, inspiration and impact. Among the many excellent presentations, Arden Perkins, a second year Biochemistry and Biophysics PhD student in the Dr. Andy Karplus Lab, was chosen as one of the top talks and awarded a $250 cash prize for his presentation, “The Machines of Life.” In his talk, Arden focused on the importance of the study of protein structure, the technique of protein crystallography, and how he used this knowledge to propose a novel drug lead.