Grad Slam is a campus-wide student competition that presents 3-minute research talks by graduate students aimed at a non-specialist audience. Presentations showcase the groundbreaking research being done across campus - from the biosciences to social sciences and the humanities - and represent the breadth of student discovery and innovation at UCLA.
From the invention to the internet, to reshaping our understanding of the galaxies and discovering new treatment pathways for Alzheimer’s and diabetes, the discoveries made at UCLA are changing the world. But with over 13,000 graduate students across campus doing research, we need a way bring together our collective knowledge and ensure that our work is effectively shared with the communities that will benefit most.
"Being able to clearly and succinctly communicate academic research is an invaluable skill that facilitates collaboration between researchers, aids connections across disciplines, and promotes engagement with the public. Grad Slam is an incredible platform and opportunity, training graduate students to spread their ideas in order to raise awareness, increase advocacy, and work together in order to solve society's most pressing problems." - Emily Towner, MA, Grad Slam Finalist, 2019
Through professional development opportunities like Grad Slam, graduate students can spotlight the important work they are doing, and the impact of their research to society at large. Even more, it allows students from different disciplines to listen, learn, and collaborate with each other, sharing diverse perspectives that enhance their study and body of knowledge, extending networks on and off campus.
With your support, you can ensure that research from all areas on campus are seen, heard, and celebrated for their important contributions to UCLA’s thriving ecosystem of knowledge and social impact. And, by giving today you will help us unlock a 2:1 matching gift challenge, offered by generous alumni supporters of Grad Slam!
Grad Slam paves the way for our graduate students to effectively communicate advancements in research, education and discovery to the public at large. But as the Grad Slam competition grows, so too does the need to meet students’ aspirations and goals by offering more workshops, mentorship and professional development opportunities that are accessible to the greater UCLA graduate community.
By giving to Grad Slam, you are not only supporting one competition, you are contributing to an entire program of opportunities. Grad Slam is one of the only professional development programs on campus that aims to serve the whole graduate student population, regardless of field or scientific program. Workshops and coaching opportunities prepare students across disciplines for their careers as scientists, educators, and policy makers. The program also gets students out of their laboratories and on stage, networking, and learning from fellow scholars. The diversity of our campus research is one of our strengths, and this program is where we can share that with the world.
Now in its sixth year, over 100 masters and doctoral students from across campus sign up to participate in professional development workshops and coaching sessions that are geared toward building better communication and professional presentation skills. With an ultimate goal to create a clear, concise, and compelling presentation (in under 3 minutes), students gain the confidence to communicate their research to audiences of all backgrounds.
While a majority of students do not advance to the final competition, their participation from the first orientation in January to the final coaching session in March proves critically valuable for their personal professional development overall. No matter what their degree track, students in every discipline find their way to the stage and in some way, share their work with the world.
With your support, Graduate Division can offer more workshops and mentorship opportunities for graduate students, not only preparing them for the competition but also getting them ready for the next steps in their careers.
"Grad Slam has helped me effectively communicate the value of my research in an understandable and relevant manner. It only has strengthened my philosophy that good research must be accompanied with great communication! More than that, the Grad Slam has also helped me land a prestigious SMART Fellowship from the Department of Defense." - JP Santos, PhD, UCLA Grad Slam 2015 Champion
The competition starts heating up on February 18 and 19 during the preliminary rounds. Then, the top 25 student presenters will advance to the Semi-final on February 26, each vying for a top spot at the UCLA Grad Slam Final on March 5 in the CNSI Auditorium.The top 10 best of the best Bruin presenters will compete for their piece of the $11,000 prize pool and the chance to REP UCLA at the UC system-wide Grad Slam Final, against nine other UC champs from across California.
For more information on how to participate in Grad Slam 2020, click here.
Be a part of the action! On the day of the UCLA Grad Slam Final on March 5, the event will be livestreamed, giving the audience the opportunity to vote for their Audience Choice Winner. The winner will be announced live and receive $1,000.
Remember to STAY TUNED on March 5 to cast your vote!
"It was a rewarding opportunity to share my research beyond the scientists within my PhD program in Biochemistry, and connect with other incredible student researchers at UCLA, some of which remain my close friends today. Grad Slam allowed me to develop my communication skills, and gain valuable professional networks by engaging a broader audience with my research. Winning the Audience Choice Award was a great honor!" - Fay Lin, PhD, UCLA Grad Slam Audience Choice Award Winner, 2019
Grad Slam is a UC system-wide annual competition that first began in 2014. Grad Slam contests are held on each of UC’s 10 campuses from March through April. The competition culminates when the first place winners from each campus – Berkeley, Davis, Irvine, Los Angeles, Merced, Riverside, San Diego, San Francisco, Santa Barbara, and Santa Cruz - square off to capture the system wide title and their share of $11,000 in prize money. The big event takes place at the LinkedIn Headquarters in San Francisco.
"Participating in Grad Slam was one of the highlights of all my years as a graduate student at UCLA. It was a refreshing opportunity to feel more connected with students beyond my department and the whole process helped me rediscover excitement for my own research. Winning at the UC-Wide showcase in San Francisco validated that my research was worth pursuing, and I've since made very similar 3-minute pitches on my research to the UC Regents, state politicians in Sacramento, and administrators at other universities." - Leslie Rith-Najarian, PhD, UCLA and UC Grad Slam Champion 2017
Thank you for supporting Grad Slam! Your contribution will make a lasting impact on the graduate community at UCLA, and to the world that benefits from their research. Graduate Division is proud to call you friend.
Don't forget to join us for the UCLA Grad Slam Final on March 5 at the CNSI Auditorium at 5pm. Learn, support, and engage with cutting-edge research from the best of the Bruin community.