2024 UCLA Grad Slam

Photo Credit: Robert Durell
UCLA medical student Brandon Tsai, winner of the 2023 UC Grad Slam, holds up the trophy, known as “The Slammy,” and his winning check for $7,000 at LinkedIn headquarters in downtown San Francisco on Friday, May 5, 2023.

 

Brandon Tsai, Human Genetics  – Next Generation Covid-19 Vaccines, won 1st Place at the 2023 UCLA Grad Slam Finals on March 14 and the UC-wide competition on May 5.

In March, Tsai delivered a talk about next-generation COVID vaccines as a participant in UCLA’s 2023 Grad Slam competition, and his presentation was a hit. Tsai beat out 57 other competitors to win a $5,000 fellowship and the opportunity to compete against the winners from the other University of California campuses at the UC Grad Slam.

In May, Tsai competed against the winners from the other nine UC campuses and won the title of UC-wide champion. The event was hosted by UC President Michael Drake at the LinkedIn headquarters in San Francisco, and judged by a diverse panel, including a senior from Gateway High School, a UC Regent, and the Executive Director of the Oakland Symphony. The 2023 UC Grad Slam featured a dazzling display of cutting-edge research from California’s brightest young minds. The presentations were nothing short of spectacular, and the competition was intense. From innovative advancements in remote surgical technology to research on generational gene inheritance, safe management of groundwater, and saving the enchanting songbirds of Hawaii, the range of topics covered was simply awe-inspiring. Overall, the event showcased the incredible depth and breadth of research being conducted by California’s next generation of scholars.

Huge congratulations as well to Siddharth Srivastava, Materials Science and Engineering  – Cancer Diagnosis from Saliva Using Lasers (2nd Place in UCLA Grad Slam) and  Ella Petter, Computer Science – Unlocking the Power of Big Data to Improve Cancer Research (3rd Place in UCLA Grad Slam)

 

Registration for 2024 UCLA Grad Slam is closed.

 

 

Overview, Eligibility, and Registration

Overview

Grad Slam is a campus and UC-wide competition that showcases and awards the best 3-minute research presentations by graduate students. Think TED Talks on steroids. The competition aims to strengthen the important career development skill of articulating graduate research concisely and effectively to a non-specialist audience. It also highlights the excellence, importance and relevance of UCLA graduate students and their research.

The 2024 Grad Slam will comprise a preliminary round video submission, followed by in-person semi-final rounds on Tuesday, March 5, 2024, at the UCLA Kerckhoff Grand Salon, and culminates in a final competition and celebratory reception held on Tuesday, April 2, 2024, at the UCLA Meyer and Renee Luskin Conference Center. The final competition will be live-streamed.  Students prepare for their presentations through a series of workshops. See the How Do I Prepare – Workshops tab below for more details.

First, second, and third-place winners in the UCLA competition receive graduate student support awards in the amounts of $5,000, $3,000, and $2,000 respectively, and an Audience Choice of $1,000. The campus winner will advance to a University of California competition that will be held in San Francisco in May 2024 and will compete against the 9 other UC campus winners.

We are very excited about the 2024 UCLA Grad Slam and the prospect of your participation!  Registration opens on January 3, 2024. To register, click on the Register Now button above or the How Do I Register tab below. Even if you are not planning to enter the competition, we still invite you to attend the Grad Slam prep workshops and come watch any of the competition rounds.

 

  2023 Grad Slam |2022 Grad Slam |2021 Grad Slam | 2020 Grad Slam |

2019 Grad Slam | 2018 Grad Slam | 2017 Grad Slam | 2016 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 2024 and be in good academic standing to participate in Grad Slam and be eligible to receive any prize.
  • Students on an official leave of absence, paying a filing fee, or with lapsed status in Winter 2024 are not eligible to compete.
  • Students are only allowed to enter the competition individually. Joint presentations with other students are not permitted.
  • Students must present original research being conducted at UCLA.
  • 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 2024 competition if they DID NOT win 1st, 2nd, or 3rd place. The Audience Choice winner is eligible to participate in Grad Slam again. However, if that person also placed 1st, 2nd, or 3rd, they are not eligible.
Why Should I Enter Grad Slam?

So what’s in it for you?

  1. Money. $50 gift card just for completing the preliminary round, and up to $11,000 if you win the UC-wide finals
  2. Championing your research
  3. Developing effective research organization and communication skills
  4. Feedback from peers and industry professionals
  5. Bragging rights

Who Participated in 2023?

Need a little inspiration? Watch these videos from the 2023 UCLA Grad Slam Finals:

  • Elaine Jessica Castillo Tamargo, Education – Choose Your Own Adventure? Exploring Factors that Complicate Career Choice
  • Alexander Kwako, Education – Reducing Bias in Standardized Tests
  • Moupi Mukhopadhyay, Conservation of Cultural Heritage – Protecting the Kerala Murals: Using Materials Science to Interpret Kerala’s Past
  • Ella Petter, Computer Science – Unlocking the Power of Big Data to Improve Cancer Research
  • Siddharth Srivastava, Materials Science and Engineering – Cancer Diagnosis from Saliva Using Lasers
  • Brandon Tsai, Human Genetics – Next Generation COVID-19 Vaccines
  • Dakotah Tyler, Astronomy and Astrophysics – Characterizing Stellar Effects on the Evolution of Exoplanets
  • Judah Van Zandt, Astronomy and Astrophysics – The Distant Giants Survey: Uncovering the Origins of Earth-Like Planets
  • Jenna Wahbeh, Bioengineering – Redefining the Gold Standard of Degenerative Disc Treatments
  • Yifan Wu, Bioengineering – Understanding Cell’s Language to Cure Disease
How Do I Register for Grad Slam?

Grad Slam Stories

Grad Slam Student StoriesNeed more convincing to enter the competition?
Read the Grad Slam stories of past competitors.

Cindy LeeCindy Lee
Education
English Learners and Oral Language Anxiety: An Approach Using Lego Storystarter

“I’ve always had a fear of public speaking, and get anxious and self-conscious just from standing in front of a room full of people. Despite this, I learned that it’s such an important skill to succeed in graduate school, and in life. When I saw the Grad Slam flyer, I thought to myself, “Hey! This couldn’t be that bad, since it has to be under 3-minutes!” Then I consulted with my academic advisor, who encouraged me to enter the competition. She believed that it would be interesting given that my research centers on children who are less comfortable speaking. One of the greatest things about Grad Slam is that they offered free workshops on presentation skills, visual designs, and small group coaching, which are wonderful resources not only for the competition, but also for future conferences and presentations! It was such a valuable experience and I look forward to bragging about it to my (future-if-any) grandkids.”

Nicholas MatiaszNicholas Matiasz
Bioengineering
Building the Brain of a Robot Scientist

“I study medical informatics because, as an engineer, I value efficiency, and improving efficiency in medicine is sure to reduce suffering. To accelerate scientific discovery, I’m designing software that can help researchers to find all the valid interpretations of their evidence and to design experiments that would be most informative.I competed in Grad Slam because my work is only as good as my ability to communicate it. This competition helps you to distill your message for a general audience and to deliver that message with poise. Change happens when ideas spread, and that always requires a story—even in technical fields like mine. Grad Slam helped me to hone my story.”

Taylor CorcoranTaylor Corcoran
Anderson School of Management
HIV vs Hypertension: Optimizing Drug Approvals

“I chose to participate in Grad Slam after a stressful conference presentation in which I presented an early version of my grad slam research to a small room of professors and students. I was petrified and shaking throughout my entire talk, and I couldn’t wait to finish the presentation. Even though I was passionate about the work I was doing, I wasn’t able to convey it to others because of how nervous I was. I knew that I needed to overcome my fear of public speaking, which is why I chose to compete in Grad Slam — and it worked! By the time I reached the finals, I was actually excited to get on stage.”

Gary YeungGary Yeung
Electrical Engineering
Making Electronic Personal Assistants Listen to Children

“Scientific researchers like myself spend much of their time trying to understand problems. This is accompanied by a disconnect from society. While we might pat ourselves on the back for finding an interesting solution, we often ignore what the solution could imply for humanity. The reality is that science without an application is useless, and technology for the mere purpose of innovation is sometimes disastrous. Science can only make a meaningful impact if it is properly understood by the public. I entered the Grad Slam competition as it aligns with my beliefs that effective education and communication of science shapes research just as much as the science itself. I encourage others to participate in Grad Slam to reflect on how their research will affect society.”

Sarah StankowiczSarah Stankowicz
Third Place Winner and Audience Choice Award, 2015
Using Lasers to Illuminate Acetylcholine’s Role in Fear Memory

“Grad Slam was such a valuable exercise; it’s easy to underplay our own contributions when we stare at them for years, but explaining them to an audience of enthusiastic listeners reminded me why I’d worked so hard. Also – it was fun!”

 

 

Grad Slam Preparation and Competition

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.

  • In cases of collaborative research, the presenter’s contribution to the project must be salient and specified.
  • We strongly encourage Humanities and Social Sciences students to enter the competition.

Expected Participation

  1. Register for the 2024 UCLA Grad Slam competition.
    Registration will be open from January 3-26, 2024.
  2. Attend the Grad Slam Prep Workshops.
    To help you prepare for your presentation, attend these four optional Grad Slam prep virtual workshops open to all graduate students: Making the Slam:  Grad Slam Information Session, Grad Slam 101: How to Get Started, Basic Presentation Skills: How To Resonate With Your Audience Workshop, Finesse Your Slide:  Tips & Tricks for Your Grad Slam PPT Slide, and Crafting a Compelling Presentation Workshop.
  3. Attend one Small Group Coaching Session on January 29 – February 1, 2024.
    Participating students must come prepared with a draft of their presentations. These virtual small group sessions allow students to present before the group via Zoom and receive feedback both from the coach and Grad Slam peers who will also be in attendance.
  1. Submit a 3-minute video presentation with 1 slide (PPT is optional) by February 12, 2024.
    Using Zoom, self-record a 3-minute video and PowerPoint presentation with 1 slide (optional). Using a slide is optional. To enter the preliminary video submission round, you must attend one small group coaching session AND submit a self-recorded 3-minute video presentation with 1 PowerPoint slide by Monday, February 12, 2024.
  1. Present in person, if selected as a semi-finalist and finalist.
    If selected to move forward to the semi-final round and the final competition, you must be able to present in person on Tuesday, March 5, 2024, at the UCLA Kerckhoff Grand Salon for the semi-finals, and Tuesday, April 2, 2024, at the UCLA Meyer and Renee Luskin Conference Center for the final.
  1. Represent UCLA, if selected as campus winner.
    If you are the campus winner, you must be able to represent UCLA in the UC Grad Slam competition in person in May 2024 in San Francisco.

*If you need equipment or space to record your video presentation, click on the “Video Recording Resources” tab for available campus resources and information.
*Last-minute cancellations are strongly discouraged. Please inform the Grad Slam team (askgrad@grad.ucla.edu) if you no longer wish to participate.

Presentations/Slides – GUIDELINES & LIMITATIONS

Slides

  1. As of 2023, presenters are limited to a maximum of one (1) PowerPoint slide. No other formats (Prezi, PDFs, etc.) are acceptable.
  2. Using a slide is optional. If you choose NOT to use a slide, please indicate in your registration form so we can make a note of it.
  3. Please include the provided Grad Slam cover slide that includes 1) your name, 2) your department/graduate program, and 3) your presentation title.
  4. Use the 16:9 aspect ratio slide size for your presentation.
  5. Embedded audio and/or video clips (including but not limited to .gif, .avi, .mp4, .mp3, and .wmv file types) are not permitted unless they are deemed indispensable to the communication of the research topic. If embedding such files, they should auto-play.
  6. PowerPoint animation effects are allowed.
  7. The slide must be created by the student and not generated by a professional or AI. The use of PowerPoint templates is allowed.
  8. Use common fonts like Arial, Calibri, Tahoma, Verdana, etc. to avoid any changes in your slides when opened on another computer.

Preliminary Round (video submission)

  1. To enter the preliminary round, you must attend one small group coaching session AND
  2. You are required to upload your 3-minute video with 1 slide to a designated Box folder. Specific upload instructions will be sent to each student presenter.

Background and lighting

  1. Please record yourself in a natural, uncluttered, quiet, and well-lit area (i.e., at home or office, not using a virtual background). Natural light sources illuminating your face from the front and sides are ideal.
  2. Filming while facing an uncovered window during the day is usually best.
  3. Avoid bright lighting or windows behind you.

Recording your video

  1. Please record your video presentation on a desktop or laptop. Mobile devices are not recommended due to the lack of PowerPoint-sharing capabilities.
  2. Please record your presentation in 1080p/HD. Also, use landscape (horizontal) rather than portrait (vertical) mode.
  3. Please make sure that your audio is clear and that there are no echoes.
  4. Record from a straightforward angle, instead of the camera looking up or looking down, with the entire face up to chest level within the frame.
  5. Use the Grad Slam cover slide as your initial slide. The cover slide does not count towards your single slide.
  6. If you’re using PowerPoint and are incorporating it into your video by the share screen function, make sure to enlarge the video box on Zoom. Once in screen-sharing mode, simply select the corner of your video box and drag it to the maximum size it will go. Make sure your video is not covering up any text or images on your PowerPoint slide.
  7. Make sure you save the recording locally and onto your device/computer instead of recording on the cloud. Recording locally will ensure that the video box stays enlarged.  Give yourself enough time to record your video before the submission date so that if you need to re-record, you will have time to do so.
  8. Do not edit your videos or add special effects.
  9. If you need a quiet space and/or equipment to record your video, please contact us at askgrad@grad.ucla.edu. Please note that students can reserve study rooms and/or equipment through the UCLA Library. Visit the UCLA Computing Commons (CLICC) for more detailed information on how to reserve the rooms and equipment.

Semi-Finals and Final Competition (in-person)

  1. If you are selected as a semi-finalist and finalist, all presentations will be pre-loaded on the laptop on the day of the semi-finals and final competition. You will be required to upload your PowerPoint presentations to a designated Box folder the day before the semi-finals and final competition. Specific upload instructions will be sent to each semi-finalist and finalist.
  2. 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, the use of the podium is strongly discouraged.
  3. Props are allowed but need to be cleared by the Grad Slam team, require minimal set-up, and do not produce a mess. Please contact the Grad Slam team if you plan to use props.

Additional Tips

  • Grad Slam is about effective COMMUNICATION– engaging your audience in key 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. 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 slide with data, charts, or graphs that require a lot of explanation.
  • Do not fill your slide with so much content that the audience will be spending time trying to figure it all out, 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 are key.
  • Practice presenting in front of your roommate, friends, or family members — people not 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.

Audience

  • 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 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 is intended or will be authorized.
  • Members of the media may also be present and cover the competition.
  • The final competition on April 2, 2024, will be broadcast live online.
How Do I Prepare? Workshops & Required Coaching

The Division of Graduate Education is very pleased to provide the following prep workshops for Grad Slam entrants. The workshops are open to ALL graduate students, as well.

Grad Slam Workshops

Grad Slam 101MAKING THE SLAM: GRAD SLAM INFORMATION SESSION
Wednesday, January 17, 2024 | 12 pm – 1 pm | View Workshop Video | View Workshop PowerPoint

Curious about how you can translate your complex research to a broader audience? Consider joining Grad Slam, an annual competition for graduate students to make research accessible to the public. And did we mention prizes for the top winners?! At this info session, you will learn about the competition structure and rules, judging criteria, and how you will be supported and trained as a contestant to further hone your communication and presentation skills. Learn how you can compete to become the UCLA Grad Slam Champion and represent UCLA at the UC-wide competition!

Francesca GachoFrancesca Gacho, PhD
Coordinator – Postdoctoral Scholar Appointments, UCLA Division of Graduate Education

Francesca is the Coordinator of Postdoctoral Scholar Appointments at UCLA Division of Graduate Education. She works with student and academic affairs units across campus to provide and promote programming to help graduate students and postdocs develop core skills for success within their programs and beyond. Before joining UCLA, she was at Vanderbilt University as an ACLS Emerging Voices Postdoctoral Fellow supporting an initiative to integrate STEM and Humanities curricula in the Communication of Science & Technology department.


Grad Slam 101GRAD SLAM 101: HOW TO GET STARTED
Thursday, January 18, 2024 | 12 pm – 1 pm | Zoom|

You signed up for Grad Slam, but what’s next? Not quite sure where to start? Join us at our Grad Slam brainstorming session to:

– Choose/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 2023 Grad Slam participants

Grad Slam Alumni Facilitators: Former Grad Slam competitors and winners
Joey Lao, Third Place UCLA Winner, 2018                                                                                                                                                                                           Marissa Stevens, First Place UCLA Winner, 2018
Brandon Tsai, First Place and UC-Wide Winner, 2023
 

Staff Facilitators:
Ivy Ebuen, Manager, Operations & External Relations – Division of Graduate Education
Courtney Guevara, Events and Engagement Specialist – Division of Graduate Education
Lewis Smith, Events and Engagement Specialist – Division of Graduate Education
Vania Sciolini, Communications & Marketing – Division of Graduate Education
Araceli Barriga, Operations Administrative Specialist – Division of Graduate Education


Basic Presentation Skills: How to Resonate with Your Audience

BASIC PRESENTATION SKILLS: HOW TO RESONATE WITH YOUR AUDIENCE
Tuesday, January 23, 2024 | 12 pm – 1 pm | Zoom | View Workshop Video | View Workshop Guide + PowerPoint
Open to all graduate students

This cameras-on 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 about preferences for taking in new information, thereby mitigating subjectivity in your delivery, and ensuring your presentation is relevant to an audience outside your career field. This workshop is open to all UCLA graduate students.

David FullerDavid Fuller
Training Consultant,
UCLA Campus Human Resources, Learning & Organizational Development

David is a training consultant with Campus Human Resources Learning & Organizational Development. He has spent more than two decades as an L&D professional focusing on leadership development, software training, and leveraging dynamic new employee orientations to engage and retain employees. David has worked across industries including entertainment, finance, health care, and social services, and before joining UCLA, he held training leadership positions for organizations such as GMAC Home Services, Bluebeam Software, and Volunteers of America Los Angeles. He has a master’s degree in Humanities from California State University, Dominguez Hills and a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications from Central Washington University.


CRAFTING A COMPELLING PRESENTATIONCrafting a Compelling Presentation

Wednesday, January 24, 2024 | 12 pm – 1 pm | Zoom | View Workshop Video | View Worlshop PowerPoint 
Open to all graduate students

As a graduate student, you’ve made countless sacrifices to pursue your dream of making an impact in your field of study. But to truly make an impact, you need support and a following of people who care about the work you are doing. This workshop aims to equip you with the skills to create an engaging presentation that effectively showcases your research while inspiring and convincing your audience. The principles you will learn in this workshop can be applied in any presentation setting, but the activities will be specifically designed to incorporate Grad Slam best practices.

Lola Engle, 
Professional and Career Development Coordinator
UCLA Campus Human Resources, Learning & Organizational Development

Lola Engle is a dedicated and accomplished professional with a passion for personal and organizational development. Her extensive experience and expertise shine through in her role as the manager and facilitator of UCLA’s Staff Enrichment Program, a 10-month-long professional development program designed for high-achieving employees. Lola is also a certified Career Management Coach, and enjoys guiding individuals toward sustainable professional and life goals; she understands the importance of setting clear objectives and helping individuals navigate their career paths effectively. Her holistic approach to personal and professional development extends beyond the workplace, emphasizing the broader impact individuals can have on their communities and the world at large. Lola holds a Master’s degree in Organizational Leadership and Learning from Pepperdine University and a Bachelor’s degree in psychology from UCLA.


FINESSE YOUR SLIDE: TIPS AND TRICKS FOR YOUR GRAD SLAM SLIDEDesign Principles For Visual Presentations

Thursday, January 25, 2024 | 12 pm – 1 pm | Zoom | View Workshop Video | View Workshop PowerPoint
Open to all graduate students

It’s not easy to design engaging content for a short talk on a complex topic (like Grad Slam!), but there are ways to improve the legibility, resonance, and lasting-impact of your talk with visual aids. In this workshop, you will learn how to use design strategies in your optional PowerPoint slide to augment and complement your talk. We will analyze examples (some from previous Grad Slam competitors) for best practices for text, images, and animation.

Francesca GachoFrancesca Gacho, PhD
Coordinator – Postdoctoral Scholar Appointments, UCLA Division of Graduate Education

Francesca is the Coordinator of Postdoctoral Scholar Appointments at UCLA Division of Graduate Education. She works with student and academic affairs units across campus to provide and promote programming to help graduate students and postdocs develop core skills for success within their programs and beyond. Before joining UCLA, she was at Vanderbilt University as an ACLS Emerging Voices Postdoctoral Fellow supporting an initiative to integrate STEM and Humanities curricula in the Communication of Science & Technology department.


Small Group Coaching SessionsREQUIRED: SMALL GROUP COACHING SESSIONS
Participating students must come prepared with a draft of their presentations. These virtual small group sessions allow students to present before the group via Zoom and receive feedback both from the coach and Grad Slam peers who will also be in attendance. These sessions are for registered Grad Slam participants only.  Stay tuned for further details.

Monday, January 29, 2024 | 1:30 pm – 3:00 pm | Moupi Moukhopadhyay and Marissa Stevens
Tuesday, January 30, 2024 | 4:00 pm – 5:30 pm | Ella Petter, Elaine Jessica Tamargo, and Siddarth Srivastava
Wednesday, January 31, 2024 | 4:00 pm – 5:30 pm | David Gonzalez, Ella Petter, and Siddarth Srivastava
Thursday, February 1, 2024 | 1:30 pm – 3:00 pm | David Gonzalez and Elaine Jessica Tamargo
Thursday, February 1, 2024 | 4:00 pm – 5:30 pm | Mengwei Ko, Brandon Tsai, and Siddarth Srivastava

Grad Slam Alumni Facilitators: Former Grad Slam competitors and winners

Video Recording Resources

Before you record your video, be sure you have already attended one small group coaching session. 

Presenting on Zoom

Instructions on Presenting on Zoom
Zoom is a versatile platform where you can self-record your presentation (without any other meeting participants) and share your PowerPoint presentation by the share screen function. This document will cover helpful tips on how to use Zoom for your Grad Slam preliminary round video submission.

Campus Resources

UCLA Library

  • UCLA students are able to reserve study rooms through the UCLA Library.  Visit this page for more detailed information on how to reserve the rooms.
  • If you need to borrow equipment (i.e. laptop), the UCLA Library and CLICC provide technology assistance and equipment loans to UCLA students.  Go to this page for more information.

UCLA Division of Graduate Education

  • The Division of Graduate Education can also assist if you need space and/or equipment.  We are offering a limited number of 20-minute recording time slots in our conference room at 1237 Murphy Hall.
Other Preparation Resources

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
Making the Most of Your Three Minutes for 3MT: The Three Minute Thesis by Simon Clews, Director, Writing Centre, University of Melbourne
10 Hints for Improving Presentations for the Three Minute Thesis Competition by Danielle Fischer, Charles Darwin University
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.

The Secret Structure of Great Talks by Nancy Duarte at TEDxEast


Recommended Reading

Storytelling
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)

Writing
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 Schedule

Preliminary Video Submission Round

Monday, February 12, 2024
Deadline for video submissions to enter the qualifying round

Semi-Final Rounds

Tuesday, March 5, 2024
10:00 am – 12:30 pm and 2:00 – 4:30 pm
UCLA Kerckhoff Grand Salon

Final Competition & Celebratory Reception

Tuesday, April 2, 2024
5:00 pm – 7:30 pm
UCLA Meyer and Renee Luskin Conference Center

University of California Grad Slam, San Francisco, CA

TBD May 2024
UC Grad Slam Website and Livestream

The UCLA campus winner will travel to San Francisco to compete in the UC Grad Slam competition to be held at the LinkedIn Headquarters. Attendance is by invitation only but will be broadcast live via video stream. There will also be an online People’s Choice vote. So mark your calendar so you can tune in!

 

Competition Results – 2023 Finalists and Winners

2023 Grad Slam Winners

 

2023 Grad Slam Winners
Ella Petter (3rd Place), Brandon Tsai (1st place and Audience Choice) and Siddharth Srivastava (2nd place)

Brandon Tsai, Human Genetics -Next Generation COVID-19 Vaccine (1st Place and Audience Choice)

Siddharth Srivastava, Materials Science and Engineering – Cancer Diagnosis from Saliva Using Lasers (2nd Place)

Ella Petter, Computer Science – Unlocking the Power of Big Data to Improve Cancer Research (3rd Place)

2023 UCLA Grad Slam Finalists

2023 Grad Slam Finalists

 

Elaine Jessica Castillo Tamargo, Education – Choose Your Own Adventure? Exploring Factors that Complicate Career Choice

Alexander Kwako, Education – Reducing Bias in Standardized Tests

Moupi Mukhopadhyay, Conservation of Cultural Heritage – Protecting the Kerala Murals: Using Materials Science to Interpret Kerala’s Past

Ella Petter, Computer Science – Unlocking the Power of Big Data to Improve Cancer Research

Siddharth Srivastava, Materials Science and Engineering – Cancer Diagnosis from Saliva Using Lasers

Brandon Tsai, Human Genetics – Next Generation COVID-19 Vaccines

Dakotah Tyler, Astronomy and Astrophysics – Characterizing Stellar Effects on the Evolution of Exoplanets

Judah Van Zandt, Astronomy and Astrophysics – The Distant Giants Survey: Uncovering the Origins of Earth-Like Planets

Jenna Wahbeh, Bioengineering – Redefining the Gold Standard of Degenerative Disc Treatments

Yifan Wu, Bioengineering – Understanding Cell’s Language to Cure Disease

Judging

Judging

Judging panels for the preliminary, semi-final and final rounds will comprise faculty, academic deans, administrative staff, alumni, postdoctoral scholars, and donors.  Great effort is made to select judges that represent diversity in discipline, as well.

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 30 points based on the following criteria:

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

Judging Score Sheet

The 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, before 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.

Prizes

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.

1st Prize

  • $5,000 award
  • Dinner with Dean Susan L. Ettner and other distinguished guests
  • Paid, round-trip travel expenses to compete in the UC-wide Grad Slam competition in Spring in San Francisco, California

2nd Prize

  • $3,000 award
  • Dinner with Dean Susan L. Ettner and other distinguished guests

3rd Prize

  • $2,000 award
  • Dinner with Dean Susan L. Ettner and other distinguished guests

Audience Choice Award

  • $1,000 award
  • Dinner with Dean Susan L. Ettner and other distinguished guests

All Other Final Round Runners-up

  • Grad Slam Finalist certificate
  • $500 award
  • Dinner with Dean Susan L. Ettner and other distinguished guests

All Other Semi-Final Round Presenters who don’t advance to the Final Competition 

  • $300 award

All Preliminary Round Presenters* 

  • $50 gift card

Students must be registered and enrolled during Winter Quarter 2024 and be in good academic standing to participate in the Grad Slam and be eligible to receive any prize.

*To receive the $50 gift card, preliminary round presenters must have registered for Grad Slam, attended a small-group coaching session, and submitted a 3-minute video with one slide by February 12, 2024.

The prize money is a Graduate Student Support award. It will be taxed and a student’s financial aid eligibility may be adjusted, as a result.

University of California Grad Slam Championship

The system-wide competition in May 2024 in San Francisco, CA will feature the first-place winners from each of UC’s 10 campuses who will deliver their 3-minute research talks.

 

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