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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
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!
GRAD SLAM SWAG & PRIZE MONEY!
“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
“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
Interested in competing in the 2017 UCLA Grad Slam? Register here.
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
Tuesday, April 11
Wednesday, April 12
Tuesday, April 18
Tuesday, April 25
5:00 pm – 7:30 pm, UCLA California Nanosystems Institute (CNSI)
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.
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.
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/Slides – GUIDELINES & LIMITATIONS
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.
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:
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.
Audience Choice Award
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.
The Graduate Division is very pleased to provide the following prep workshops for Grad Slam entrants.
Grad 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 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 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 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.
Reginald (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.
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 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.
Reginald (Reg) Randles, MOL, SHRM-PC
Lead Senior Organizational Development Specialist, UCLA Health Human Resources CORE
(For bio, see above)
Stewart 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.
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.
2014 University of Western Sidney Three-Minute Thesis Finals
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)
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
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’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.
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.
2017 UCLA Final Competition Presentations – Videos
Grad Students Compete to Make It Simple – UC Office of the President Newsroom
The three-minute pitch: Grad students compete to make their research accessible – UC Office of the President Newsroom
UCLA grad students learn the art of plain-speaking – UCLA Newsroom
Students put expertise into plain English – Los Angeles Times
Grad Slam competition teaches students to TEDify their research – UCLA Newsroom
Why more scientists are needed in the public square – The Conversation
Follow us on our social media channels!
The Graduate Division is also grateful for the participation and outreach assistance of our campus partners:
firstname.lastname@example.org – please include “Grad Slam” in the subject line
Meet the Grad Slam Team
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“What I like best about Grad Slam is seeing how much the students grow as presenters throughout the competition.”
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!”
“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.”