2017 UCLA Grad Slam

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Robin L. Garrell Grad Slam Logo Michael D. Skiles, GSA President


The Graduate Division and Graduate Student Association are pleased to to be hosting the third annual UCLA Grad Slam.

Grad Slam is a campus-wide competition that showcases and awards the best 3-minute research presentations by graduate students. The competition not only helps foster the important career development skill of articulating graduate research in an understandable and engaging way to those inside and outside the academic community, but it also highlights the excellence, importance and relevance of UCLA graduate students and their research.

Grad Slam will take place this year from April 11 – 25, 2017 with information sessions and prep workshops starting as early as February 22, 2017.  First, second and third place winners in the UCLA competition will receive fellowships in the amounts of $3,000, $2,000 and $1,000 respectively. There will also be an Audience Choice award in the amount of $500. The campus winner will advance to a UC-wide competition that will be held in San Francisco on May 4, 2017.

We are very excited about Grad Slam and hope that if you’re a graduate student you will consider entering the competition!  To register, click on the How Do I Register tab below.

If you are not planning to enter the competition, we invite you to attend one or more of the preliminary, semi-final and final rounds. They are free and open to the entire campus community and general public.

Robin L. Garrell
Vice Provost, Graduate Education
Dean, Graduate Division
Professor of Chemistry

Michael D. Skiles
President, UCLA Graduate Students Association
Graduate Chair, UC Council of Student Body Presidents
Ph.D. Candidate, UCLA Department of Philosophy





Graduate education is the heart of every great university. Graduate students come to UCLA to make creative contributions and research discoveries that advance human knowledge.

Grad Slam is a campus and UC-wide competition that showcases and awards the best 3-minute research talks by graduate students. Think TED Talks on steroids. The competition aims to strengthen graduate students’ presentation and networking skills, as well as their ability to distill down and articulate their research concisely and effectively to a non-specialist audience.

Grad Slam is comprised of preliminary and semi-final rounds, culminating in a final competition and reception on April 25, 2017 that will be broadcast live via an Internet feed.  There will also be information sessions, public speaking workshops and small group coaching sessions provided to students to help them prepare for the competition.


– Graduate Division – Robin L. Garrell, Dean, Graduate Division & Vice Provost, Graduate Education
– UCLA Student Fee Advisory Committee
– California NanoSystems Institute (CNSI)
– StartUp UCLA

Open the Grad Slam Outreach Flyer

2016 Grad Slam

2015 Grad Slam

Am I Eligible?
  • The competition is open to all currently registered and enrolled UCLA Master’s and doctoral graduate students.
  • Students must be registered and enrolled during Winter Quarter 2017 and be in good academic standing in order to participate in the Grad Slam and to be eligible to receive any prize.
  • Students on an official leave of absence, paying a filing fee, or with lapsed status in Winter 2017 are not eligible to compete.
  • Presentations must be on research. Projects, business plans and Applied Policy Projects (APP) are not eligible.
  • Students are only allowed to enter the competition individually. Joint presentations with other students are not permitted.
  • Students must meet the guiding principles of the Office of Intellectual Property and Industry Sponsored Research.
  • Students who competed in previous Grad Slams are eligible to enter the 2017 competition if they DID NOT win a 1st, 2nd, 3rd or Audience Choice prize.
Why Should I Enter Grad Slam?

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT: Grad Slam will strengthen your presentation skills, as well as your ability to distill down and articulate your research concisely and effectively to a non-specialist audience.

NETWORKING: Grad Slam provides an opportunity for you to directly meet and engage with valued UCLA associates (faculty, donors, alumni and elected officials).

MARKETING OPPORTUNITY: Grad Slam showcases the excellence, importance and relevance of your research!


Gary Li

“Grad Slam forced me to leave my comfort zone of giving jargon-loaded conference talks, and challenged me to present my research in a way that 99% percent of a general audience would understand.”

Gary Li, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, Traveling to Mars with Immortal Plasma Rockets

Ccourtney Young

“Attending the Grad Slam prep workshops allowed me to present to an audience outside my field and get feedback from outside disciplines to know if my presentation was understandable. It was also helpful to hear how other people prepared and did their practice presentations. Overall Grad Slam was a blast and has been very helpful- I have used the layman metaphors I created for many other situations where I have to present to people outside my field. It was an honor to win 3rd place and audience choice award!”

Courtney Young, Molecular Biology, An end to Duchenne: Gene Editing for Muscular Dystrophy

How Do I Register for Grad Slam?

Interested in competing in the 2017 UCLA Grad Slam? Register here.

The Grad Slam registration deadline has been EXTENDED to Monday, March 13, 2017, 11:59 pm PST.

Late entries beyond this date will be considered on a space available basis.

Need a little inspiration? Watch these videos of the 2016 finalists:

Philip Bulterys, Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics – Disarming Deadly Bacteria

Mayank Jog, Bioengineering – Imaging Electric Currents

Gary Li, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering – Traveling to Mars with Immortal Plasma Rockets

Nerve Macaspac, Geography – Insurgent Peace: Local Peacebuilding Among Indigenous Peoples in the Cordillera Region, Philippines

Samantha Mikaiel, Radiological Sciences – Innovative Real-Time Imaging for MRI-Guided Interventions

Erica Onugha, English – When Forced Labor Leaves No Time to Parent

Alexander Thiele, Mechanical Engineering – Phase Change Materials for Energy-Efficient Buildings

Hsien-Liang (Rose) Tseng, Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences – Is Black Carbon a Culprit of the Severe Drought in the Western United States?

Victoria Tseng, Epidemiology – Cataract Surgery and Mortality in the United States Population

Courtney Young, Molecular Biology – An end to Duchenne: gene editing for muscular dystrophy


Competition Schedule

Grad Slam Schedule: Who’s Competing and When? – UPDATED 4/25/17

Preliminary Rounds

Tuesday, April 11

  • Round A: 9:00 am – 12:00 pm, Charles E. Young Research Library, Room 11360
  • Round B: 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm, Charles E. Young Research Library, Room 11360

Wednesday, April 12

  • Round C: 9:00 am – 12:00 pm, 2033 Young Hall
  • Round D: 2:00 pm – 5:00 pm, 2033 Young Hall


Semi-Final Rounds

Tuesday, April 18

  • Round E: 9:00 am – 12:00 pm, Charles E. Young Research Library, Room 11360
  • Round F: 1:30 pm – 4:30 pm, Charles E. Young Research Library, Room 11360


Final Competition & Grad Bar Reception

Tuesday, April 25
5:00 pm – 7:30 pm, UCLA California Nanosystems Institute (CNSI)

Final Competition & Celebratory Reception Invitation | RSVP here | Webcast

University of California Grad Slam

Thursday, May 4

LinkedIn, San Francisco, CA
10:30 am – 1:30 pm

The UCLA campus winner will travel to San Francisco to compete in the UC Grad Slam competition. Attendance is by invitation only but will be broadcast live via video stream. There will also be an online People’s Choice vote! So, please tune in.

Map & Directions

Grad Slam Venues Map

Driving Directions to UCLA
Locate UCLA by zip code (90095) or by street address (405 Hilgard Avenue). Call 310-825-4321 for recorded directions. UCLA’s main campus is bounded by Sunset Boulevard. on the north and Le Conte Avenue. on the south; the east border is Hilgard Avenue and the west border is Gayley Avenue.

Visitor parking at UCLA | Public Transit | Metro Trip Planner

Presentation Guidelines & Rules

UCLA’s Grad Slam challenges graduate students to present a compelling presentation of their research in just 3 minutes using language appropriate for a non-specialist audience.

  • Presentations must be on research. Projects, business plans and Applied Policy Projects (APP) are not eligible.
  • In cases of collaborative research, the presenter’s contribution to the project must be salient and clearly specified.
  • We strongly encourage Humanities and Social Sciences students to enter the competition.

Expected Participation

  1. Cancellations are strongly discouraged.
  2. On the day of your scheduled presentation, plan to arrive at the venue 10-15 minutes before the event start time to allow for check-in.
  3. Presentations during each round will be in alphabetical order by last name.
  4. You must be present for the full duration of your scheduled round.

Presentations/Slides – GUIDELINES & LIMITATIONS

  1. Presenters are limited to a maximum of three (3)PowerPoint slides. No other formats (Prezi, PDFs, etc.) are acceptable.
  2. Slides are optional. If you choose NOT to use slides, please inform the organizers in writing in advance of your designated presentation so we can make a note of it.
  3. Please include a plain white fourth slide that includes 1) your presentation title, 2) your name, and 3) your area of study. We will import this information on to a standard Grad Slam cover slide for you and put at the front of your presentation.
  4. Use the 4:3 aspect ratio slide size for your presentation.
  5. No animations are allowed. This includes on-click animations that make information or images appear or disappear on a slide at your command or in a timed sequence. However, if there is an animation contained within an embedded video it may be used. Embedded audio and/or video clips will be allowed (clips may contain GIF animation).
  6. All work on the slides must be original to the student and cannot be generated by a professional.
  7. All presentations will be pre-loaded on the laptop on the day of the competition. You will be required to upload your PowerPoint presentations to a designated site the day prior to your scheduled competition. Specific upload instructions will be sent to each student presenter.
  8. Props are allowed, but need to be cleared by the Grad Slam program director, require minimal set-up and not produce a mess. Please email gdevents@grad.ucla.edu if you plan to use props.
  9. The room will be set-up with a laptop, projector, remote slide advancer, laser pointer and lavalier microphone. There may or may not be a podium in the room, depending on the venue. However, use of the podium is strongly discouraged.

Additional Tips

  • Grad Slam is about effective COMMUNICATION– engaging your audience in one or two aspects of your research that excite you, that tell the best story to people outside of your field.
  • Think about what sets your research apart from what has already been done already. What makes your work unique and valuable to your field?
  • Think about commonplace references you can make to relate to your audience and draw them into your subject. Humor is often a good tool, as are rhetorical questions.
  • The images you use on your slides should complement or illustrate what you are communicating verbally. Make sure they are relevant to your message.
  • Do not fill your slides with data, charts, or graphs that require a lot of explanation.
  • Do not fill your slides with so much content that the audience will be spending time trying to it all figure out what, rather than listening to what you are saying.
  • Stay away from acronyms unless they are well-known or you can quickly explain them. Same with jargon and complex terms. You will need to briefly define them.
  • Practice, practice, practice so you know all of your content by heart.
  • Slow down and relax. Don’t speak too fast. Clarity and being comfortable with your content is key.
  • Practice presenting in front of your roommate, friends or family members — people are are not greatly familiar with your topic/research. They are great sounding boards.
  • Have fun with this! Your work is valuable and YOU are the expert. You have a lot to teach the rest of us and we’re here to listen.


The audience may be comprised of graduate students, faculty, staff, campus leadership, alumni, donors, friends and family of the presenters, and members of the general public. We encourage all the students participating in the Grad Slam competition to invite colleagues, mentors, friends and family to your competition round.

An official photographer and/or videographer may also be present at some of the preliminary and semi-final rounds and at the final competition. As stated in the competition registration, any videotape footage, photographs, film and/or audio recordings will be used for UCLA archival and marketing purposes. No commercial use of the recordings are intended or will be authorized.

Members of the media may also be present and covering the competition.

The final competition on April 25 will be broadcast live online.


Judging panels for the preliminary and semi-final rounds will be comprised of faculty, academic deans, administrative staff, alumni, postdoctoral scholars,donors and elected officials. The judges will be selected to ensure disciplinary diversity and every effort will be made to avoid conflicts of interest.

See our 2017 Grad Slam Judges

Presenters will be judged on the clarity and delivery, and their ability to provide context and engage with a non-specialist audience helping others understand and appreciate their research.

Each judge will award up to 35 points based on the following criteria:

  1. Clarity
  2. Organization
  3. Delivery
  4. Visuals
  5. Appropriateness
  6. Intellectual Significance
  7. Engagement

Judging Scorecard

Timing of each presentation will commence from the moment the student begins the presentation. The presentation begins at the moment the student engages with the audience. Thus if s/he starts with a hand clap, a gesture, an audio or video clip or any other such engagement, prior to speaking, the clock begins at that time. If there is no such alternative engagement, the clock starts when the student begins speaking.

Should the presentation go longer than 3 minutes, points will be deducted from the final score, beginning with a 1 point deduction at 3:03, and 1 point being taken off for every 2 seconds the speaker continues after that:

3:03 – 3:04 1 point
3:05 – 3:06 2 points
3:07 – 3:08 3 points
3:09 – 3:10 4 points
3:11 – 3:15 5 points
Speakers will be cut off at 3:30 (15 point deduction)

Judges will not be allowed to ask any questions of the presenters following their presentation.


First, second and third prizes will be awarded during the final competition, as well as an Audience Choice award. If the Audience Choice awardee is the same as the first, second or third place winner, both awards will go to that person.

All Presenters

  1. Grad Slam swag

All Finalists

  1. Grad Slam Finalist certificate
  2. $50 Gift card to UCLA Store

1st Prize

  1. $3,000 stipend
  2. Dinner with Vice Provost & Dean Robin Garrell and other VIP leadership on April 28, 2017
  3. Paid, round-trip travel expenses to compete in the UC-wide Grad Slam competition on May 4, 2017 in San Francisco, California
  4. Opportunity to present at LA Nerd Night

2nd Prize

  1. $2,000 stipend
  2. Dinner with Vice Provost & Dean Robin Garrell and other VIP leadership on April 28, 2017
  3. Opportunity to present at LA Nerd Night

3rd Prize

  1. $1,000 stipend
  2. Dinner with Vice Provost & Dean Robin Garrell and other VIP leadership on April 28, 2017
  3. Opportunity to present at LA Nerd Night

Audience Choice Award

  1. $500 stipend
  2. Dinner with Vice Provost & Dean Robin Garrell and other VIP leadership on April 28, 2017
  3. Opportunity to present at LA Nerd Night

Students must be registered and enrolled during Winter Quarter 2017 and be in good academic standing in order to participate in the Grad Slam and to be eligible to receive any prize.

The prize money is a stipend and is considered income. It will be taxed and a student’s financial aid eligibility may be adjusted, as a result.

How Do I Prepare? Workshops & Resources

The Graduate Division is very pleased to provide the following prep workshops for Grad Slam entrants.

Grad Slam Workshops

Grad Slam 101Grad Slam 101:  How to Get Started
Tuesday, March 14:  9:30 am – 11:30 am
Charles E. Young Research Library, Room 11360

What’s next? Not quite sure where to start? Join us at our Grad Slam brainstorming session to:

-Choose or refine your presentation topic
-Start outlining your ideas
-Take a close look at the guidelines and rules
-Brainstorm with past Grad Slam finalists and fellow 2017 Grad Slammers

Peer Facilitators: 2015 & 2016 Grad Slammers
Gary Li, Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering (1st Place, 2016)
Philip Bulterys, Microbiology, Immunology, and Molecular Genetics (2nd Place, 2016)
Samantha Mikaiel, Radiological Sciences (Finalist, 2016)
Oscar Campos, Molecular Biology (Finalist, 2015)

Grad Slam Facilitators:
Sonya Gavin, Director of Operations & External Relations – Graduate Division
Latricia Rogers, Events Administrative Specialist – Graduate Division

Design Principles For Visual PresentationsDesign Principles For Visual Presentations
Wednesday, March 15: 11:30 am – 1:30 pm
Royce Hall, Room 314

The content of any presentation is critical, however, if you want your audience to understand, retain, and recall your message, powerful and complimentary visual aids will help you achieve those goals. This interactive workshop will introduce the audience to universal design principles that can be applied when creating visual presentations using any platform, such as PowerPoint, Prezi, and Haiku Deck. In preparation for the 2017 Grad Slam competition, the audience will practice applying these principles within the context of the PowerPoint rules and examples from previous finalists will be shared.

Megan EigenbrodMegan Eigenbrod, MS
Training and Career Development Coordinator, UCLA Campus Human Resources

Megan Eigenbrod is the Training and Career Development Coordinator for UCLA Campus Human Resources. Megan fosters the professional development of UCLA administrative staff by providing training in leadership development, communication skills, and presentation design and delivery. Megan received her Master’s in Counseling and a Graduate Certificate in Career Counseling from California State University Northridge. She has presented at several conferences including the Strengths in Educational Leadership Conference hosted by the Gallup Organization.

Basic Presentation Skills: How to Resonate with Your AudienceBasic Presentation Skills: How to Resonate with Your Audience
Wednesday, March 15: 2:30 pm- 4:30 pm
UCLA Career Center, Room 200

Thursday, March 16: 2:30 pm – 4:30 pm
UCLA Career Center, Room 200

This workshop will help you articulate your information and content in a manner that is well received by a “non-specialist” audience increasing retention. By the conclusion of the workshop you will improve your understanding of how adults prefer to take-in, process, and synthesize new knowledge allowing your presentation to resonate with a disparate audience. You will learn your own primary, secondary, and tertiary preferences for taking-in new information, thereby mitigating subjectivity in your delivery, ensuring your presentation is relevant to an audience outside your career field. These workshops are open to all UCLA graduate students.

Reg RandlesReginald (Reg) Randles, MOL, SHRM-PC
Lead Senior Organizational Development Specialist, UCLA Health Human Resources CORE

Reginald designs and develops workshops for skill improvement and facilitates talent and leadership development courses. He is a Myers-Briggs Personality Type Indicator (MBTI®) Certified Practitioner, a qualified DiSC® Classic facilitator and the UCLA Health Sciences appointee to the University of California, Office of the President Talent Management Consortium. A published author, a seasoned keynote speaker and a Society of Human Resources Certified Professional, Reginald holds a Master of Arts degree in Organizational Leadership from Chapman University, an Executive Certificate in Public and Non-Profit Leadership from Chapman University, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Professional Communication from California State University, Los Angeles.


Small Group Coaching Sessions
Grad Slam Small Group Coaching Sessions
Participating students must come prepared with a draft of their presentations. These small group sessions will give students the opportunity to present before the group and receive feedback both from the coach and Grad Slam peers who will also be in attendance. These sessions are for Grad Slam participants only.

Monday, April 3: 9:30 am – 11:30 am
1215 Murphy Hall
Coach: Liz Galvin Lew

Wednesday, April 5: 9:30 am – 11:30 am
1215 Murphy Hall
Coach: Reginald (Reg) Randles

Thursday, April 6: 9:30 am – 11:30 am
1215 Murphy Hall
Coach: Stewart L. Moses

Liz Galvin LewLiz Galvin Lew
Lecturer/ESLPE Coordinator, UCLA Writing Programs

Liz Galvin is a lecturer in Writing Programs, where she teaches English as a Second Language and composition. In this capacity, she coaches international graduate students from all over campus on giving clear, engaging presentations of their research. She also works with native speakers on presentation skills in her writing for business and social policy class. Liz received her Ph. D. from UCLA’s Graduate School of Education and Information Studies.

Reg RandlesReginald (Reg) Randles, MOL, SHRM-PC
Lead Senior Organizational Development Specialist, UCLA Health Human Resources CORE

(For bio, see above)


Stewart L. MosesStewart L. Moses
Former Director of Space Science and Exploration at Northrup Grumman Corporation
BS ’79 MS ’81 Ph.D. ’86

Dr. Moses earned his PhD at UCLA in Physics in 1986, specializing in the area of space plasma physics. He is the retired Director of Space Science and Exploration at Northrop Grumman Corporation and has worked as a research space scientist, systems engineer, and program manager. Dr. Moses has been involved with such programs as Voyager, the James Webb Space Telescope, and the lunar probe LCROSS. He has made numerous presentations at scientific conferences, NASA events, and other venues, and has years of experience coaching and mentoring junior technical staff.

Online Resources

How to Talk Like TED by Carmine Gallo, article by Guy Kawasaki
Giving an Academic Talk by Jonathan Shewchuk, Associate Professor in Computer Science, University of California at Berkeley
Don’t Be Such a Scientist by Randy Olson
The And, But, and Therefore of Storytelling by Randy Olson
Giving Oral Presentations from English Communication for Scientists by Jean-luc Doumont (ed.), Nature (2010)
Presentation Zen by Garr Reynolds
10 tips on how to make slides that communicate your idea, from TED’s in-house expert by Aaron Weyenberg

Top Ten Tips for Writing and Delivering Very Brief Speeches by Bill Cole, Founder and CEO of William B. Cole Consultants
TED Talks (up to 6 minutes in length): Brief talks on “ideas worth spreading.”
PhD Comics Two-Minute Thesis: PhD Comics challenged graduate students to explain their work in two minutes – the best have been turned into videos!
3 Minute Thesis Competition Winners: Winning presentations from a multi-university thesis competition in Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, and the South Pacific.

Recommended Reading

Narrative Impact: Social and Cognitive Foundations, edited by Melanie C. Green, et al. (Lawrence Erlbaum Associates © 2002)
The Story Factor, by Annette Simmons (Perseus Publishing © 2001)
Tell Me a Story: Narrative and Intelligence, by Roger Schank (Northwestern University Press © 1990)
Wired for Story, by Lisa Cron (Ten Speed Press © 2012)

Language & Culture
Metaphors We Live By, by George Lakoff and Mark Johnson (University of Chicago Press © 1980)
The Way We Talk Now, by Geoffrey Nunberg (Houghton Mifflin Company © 2001)
In Other Words: A Plea for Plain Speaking in Foundations, by Tony Proscio (Edna McConnel Clark Foundation © 2000)
When Words Fail, by Tony Proscio (Edna McConnel Clark Foundation © 2005)
Compassion Fatigue, by Susan Moeller (Routledge © 1999)
Tales of a New America, by Robert Reich (Times Books © 1987)

The Sense of Style: The Thinking Persons Guide to Writing in the 21st Century, by Steven Pinker (Penguin Books © 2015)
On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction, by William Zinsser (30 Anv. Rep Ed. © 2006)
Telling True Stories, Edited by Mark Kramer and Wendy Call (Plume © 2007)
Storycraft: The Complete Guide to Writing Narrative Non-Fiction, by Jack Hart (University of Chicago Press © 2012)

Competition Results – Updated 4/26/17

Congratulations to the winners of the 2017 UCLA Grad Slam !

1st place ($3,000) – Leslie Rith-Najarian, Psychology – Making Mental Health Treatment More Engaging and Accessible

2nd place ($2,000) – Teresa Nguyen, Psychology – Marriage: Why Do Some Last While Others Fail?

3rd place($1,000) – Alexandra Polasko, Civil and Environmental Engineering – A Hero for Water: Finding and Growing Bacteria to Clean our Water

Audience Choice ($500) – Taylor Corcoran, Anderson School of Management – HIV vs Hypertension: Optimizing Drug Approvals

2017 Grad Slam Winners Group Shot
(left to right) Alexandra Polasko, Taylor Corcoran, Leslie Rith-Najarian, Teresa Nguyen.
2017 University of California Grad Slam Championship – Updated 5/8/17

University of California Grad Slam Championship

We are proud to announce that the 2017 UC Grad Slam Champion is this year’s UCLA Grad Slam Winner, Leslie Rith-Najarian.

Leslie Rith-Najarian
Leslie Rith-Najarian, UCLA and UC Grad Slam champion, 2017

Leslie’s research presentation on Making Mental Health More Engaging and Accessible, claimed the top prize in the UC wide competition that was held on Thursday, May 4th at the LinkedIn headquarters in San Francisco, California. Leslie is a Fourth Year Clinical Psychology doctoral student who puts her research into practice by enjoying rock climbing in her spare time to keep her mental health on point.

2017 UC Grad Slam Winner Leslie Rith-Najarian receiving her award from UC President Napolitanos

The system wide competition featured the first place winners from each of UC’s 10 campuses who delivered their 3-minute research talks. The event was hosted by UC President Janet Napolitano, who awarded Leslie with $6,000 in prize money and handed Vice Provost & Dean Robin Garrell the UC Grad Slam trophy plaque, which will reside in UCLA Graduate Division for the next 12 months. Second Place was awarded to John Felts, UC Santa Cruz, Third Place to Geoff Hollett, UC San Diego and the People’s Choice Award went to Leah Foltz, UC Santa Barbara. Watch the presentations of the awards here.

The Graduate Division and Grad Slam Team would like to extend our gratitude to all who supported and participated in the success of this year’s Grad Slam.

Read about the 2017 UC Grad Slam competition

2017 UC Grad Slam Presentations | 2016 UC Grad Slam Presentations

Photo & Video Galleries

2017 UCLA Final Competition Photo Gallery

2017 UCLA Final Competition Presentations – Videos

  • Taylor Corcoran, Anderson School of Management – Cancer vs. the Common Cold: Optimizing Drug Approvals
  • David Gonzalez, Atmospheric and Oceanic Science – Air Pollution, Free Radicals and Health
  • Hil Hsu, Epidemiology – Anal Cancer: Let’s Talk A’Butt It
  • Cindy Lee, Education – English Learners and Oral Language Anxiety: An Approach using LEGO® StoryStarter
  • Erin Leonard, Earth, Planetary, and Space Sciences – Enceladus: Hot or Cold?
  • Nicholas Matiasz, Bioengineering – Building the Brain of a Robot Scientist
  • Carla Neuss, Theater, Film and Television – This is Your Brain on Medieval Theatre:  Applying Cognitive Science to the Study of Performance
  • Teresa Nguyen, Psychology – Marriage: Why Do Some Last While Others Fail?
  • Alexandra Polasko, Civil and Environmental Engineering – A Hero for Water: Detecting Beneficial Bacteria to Clean Pollutants
  • Robyn Price, Archaeology – An Archeology of Scent: Unearthing the Human Experience
  • Leslie Rith-Najarian, Psychology – Making Mental Health More Engaging and Accessible
  • Gary Yeung, Electrical Engineering – Making Electronic Personal Assistants Listen to Children

2016 Photos and Video Presentations


Publicity & Social Media
Sponsors and Campus Partners

Thank you to our Sponsors

UCLA Student Fees Advisory Committee

California NanoSystems Institute (CNSI)

Startup UCLA

The Graduate Division is also grateful for the participation and outreach assistance of our campus partners:

  • Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor/Provost
  • Graduate Student Resource Center
  • Career Center
  • Academic Deans
  • UCLA Development
  • UCLA Foundation
  • Women & Philanthropy at UCLA
  • Gold Shield
  • Faculty Women’s Club
  • UCLA College Communications
  • Office of Residential Life – Graduate and Family Housing
  • Office of Media Relations
  • Alumni Affairs
  • Government & Community Relations
  • Dashew Center
  • Graduate and Family Housing
  • Residential Life
  • Charles E. Young Research Library
  • Chemistry & Biochemistry
Contact Us!

gdevents@grad.ucla.edu – please include “Grad Slam” in the subject line


Meet the Grad Slam Team

Sonya GavinSonya Gavin, Director of Operations & External Relations

“My favorite thing about Grad Slam is the opportunity to meet all the Grad Slammers and watch and work with them as they create outstanding presentations about their incredible research!  I also love seeing them supporting each other and getting to know fellow grad students outside of their disciplines.”

Latricia RogersLatricia Rogers, Events & Engagement Administrative Specialist

“I love Grad Slam because it’s great professional development for graduate students. And I get to hear about all the great research they’re doing here on campus.”

Jacqueline SueroJacqueline Suero,Operations Administrative Specialist

“It is quite rewarding to be involved in putting together Grad Slam this year. It is a truly empowering and inspiring experience to be able to provide a powerful platform where we can witness brilliant minds articulate and showcase their amazing research into a 3-minute TED talk style presentation.”

Brent ShowermanBrent Showerman, Operations Administrative Specialist

“What I like best about Grad Slam is seeing how much the students grow as presenters throughout the competition.”

Kevin TranKevin Tran, Operations & External Relations Assistant

Currently studying Business Economics and Entrepreneurship, Kevin is a third-year UCLA undergraduate student who is “really excited to hear all about the research that the Grad Slammers have in store!”

Sophia BautistaSophia Bautista, Operations & External Relations Assistant

“My favorite part of Grad Slam is listening to all the innovative research the students are engaging in. Each student is extremely passionate about their work and within three short minutes I am able to gain insight on how their research is positively impacting our world.”