3MT Winner Spotlight | Kori Payne

Kori Payne

"I was a little nervous at first to present; however, after a couple of students performed, I felt a sense of belonging and universality in competing with other professionals."

Kori Payne, M.S. Counseling


  • Counseling, Clinical Mental Health (M.S.)
  • Counseling, School Counseling (M.S.)


  • Psychology & Counseling

Kori Payne is a current student in the M.S. in clinical mental health counseling program at Hood College. Payne has a background in general studies and kinesiology. After graduation, she plans on pursuing a Ph.D. in counseling.

This semester, she participated in the 3-Minute Thesis (3MT) Competition and won first prize. We spoke with Payne about her experiences in the graduate school, teaching and what it was like to present her thesis at 3MT.

Could you briefly describe your career and educational background?

My career and educational background consists of an associate’s in general studies and a bachelor’s in kinesiology: occupational therapy. I will be graduating this spring with my master’s in clinical mental health counseling. This coming fall semester, I will be pursuing a Ph.D. in counseling.

What inspired you to get into counseling?

Honestly, I was inspired by my friends and family members who were going through mental health issues and sought support from therapists. I wanted to join the mental health profession to support people with similar experiences.

How did you learn about the 3-Minute Thesis (3MT) Competition?

I learned about 3MT about a year ago from Dean April Boulton. I had been too scared to join at that time, so I pushed myself out of my comfort zone and participated this year.

What was your presentation about?

My presentation was about exploring the importance of cultural accommodations in grief therapy for marginalized communities. Two main ways to accommodate these communities are through cultural awareness and cultural competency.

What was it like to participate in the competition?

I was a little nervous at first; however, after a couple of students performed, I felt a sense of belonging and universality in competing with other professionals.

What did you earn from the 3MT Competition?

As the first place winner, I earned a $600 prize and a chance to compete in the regional competition for 3MT.

Do you have any fun facts or trivia about yourself to share?

I was born on Halloween, so I love spooky decorations and horror movies.

Inspired by Kori’s work in mental health counseling? Ready to #GOFURTHER in your career? Learn more about Hood College’s graduate programs, such as clinical mental health counseling, by clicking here.