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The UC San Diego Grad SLAM is a graduate student competitive speaking event that showcases graduate student research. Grad SLAM participants present their research using three PowerPoint slides in a three-minute “TED-like talk” that can be understood by a general audience. Presenters will compete in successive rounds and receive prizes ranging from $100.00-$5,000.00. The top winner will have the opportunity to compete in the annual UC system-wide Grad SLAM competition in Northern California. All travel expenses to participate in the statewide competition will be covered by the Graduate Division.

The goal of this event is to share with the campus community the tremendous quality of the graduate research at UC San Diego and offers an opportunity for graduate students to develop oratorical skill, a dynamic delivery, and compelling content when presenting their academic research.

Participants will be randomly assigned to preliminary rounds where two students from each preliminary round will be chosen to move forward to semi finals. Approximately twenty students will compete in the semi-final rounds with the goal of choosing ten speakers to go on to the Grad SLAM finals. 

Fill out the interest form today! 

For more information about the systemwide Grad SLAM contest, check out the University of California website.


Preliminary Rounds

  • Tuesday, February 21st
    • 10am - 12pm
    • 1 - 3pm
  • Wednesday, February 22nd
    • 10am - 12pm
  • Thursday, February 23rd
    • 10am - 12pm
    • 1 - 3pm

Semi-Final Round

  • Tuesday, March 7th

UCSD Final Round

  • Wednesday, April 5th

UC systemwide Final

  • Thursday, May 4th in San Francisco, CA


All Participants

  • Grad SLAM swag


  • $100


  • 1st place - $5,000
  • 2nd place - $3,000
  • 3rd place - $1500
  • Participants - $500

Logistics and Files

  • PowerPoint Template - download
    • PowerPoint presentations are due on Wednesday, February 15, 2017 at 12:00pm to sslebioda@ucsd.edu
    • To ensure compatibility, please do not alter the background or filetype (pptx)
  • Please show up on time! Any late participants will be disqualified from their round and may request to be rescheduled to a later date, pending availability.

Katy Brecht - Center for Student Involvement

Katy Brecht is a member of the Center for Student Involvement (CSI) Communication and Leadership team!  She brings a wealth of experience in event planning and leadership development from her previous roles on campus. Prior to working at CSI Katy served as Coordinator of Student Activities at Muir College, where she advised 13 Muir College student organizations and coordinated leadership conferences as well as cultural, social and educational programs.  Previously, Katy served as College Outreach Coordinator for Non-Resident Students, where she planned initiatives for international and out-of state students, developed assessment plans and assisted with student leadership trainings.  Katy is an alumnae of UC San Diego with a degree in Cognitive Science and after graduating from UCSD she earned a master’s degree in Postsecondary Administration and Student Affairs from the University of Southern California. 

Tiffany Fox - Qualcomm Institute

Tiffany Fox is a Public Information Representative for the Qualcomm Institute at UC San Diego, as well as an award-winning public speaker. She  helps researchers tell their research stories and has offered research communications training to hundreds of undergraduates and grad students at UC San Diego, across a wide range of disciplines. She also writes a weekly newsletter on research communications, Research Refined. Prior to coming to UC San Diego, Tiffany was a columnist for the San Diego Union-Tribune for 10 years. She is a freelance journalist and has written for local, national and international publications on a multitude of topics spanning science, engineering, technology and the arts. She is also a certified yoga teacher, served in Africa as a Peace Corps volunteer and is a mother of two.



  • TED Talks: Approximately 3-minute 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

2016 Finals

Videos in order of presentation

  1. Lynne Waterhouse
  2. Amay Bandodkar
  3. Jung-Hwan Albert Lim
  4. Mary Glen Fredrick (2nd Place)
  5. Sarah Shires
  6. Lorenzo Rossini (3rd Place)
  7. Nicholas Root
  8. Tiffany Taylor (1st Place)
  9. Catherine Nickels
  10. David Adamowicz

2015 Finals

Videos in order of presentation

  1. Nicholas Root
  2. Rachel Meza
  3. Garfield Kwan
  4. Steven Naleway
  5. Jennie Kuckertz (3rd Place)
  6. Calandra Turner Tomaszewicz
  7. Catherine Nickels
  8. Sophia Georghiou (2nd Place)
  9. Alyssa Finlay
  10. Alex Phan (1st Place)
  11. Andrew Peters

2014 Finals

Videos in order of presentation

  1. Keng Lou James Hung
  2. Catherine Dufour
  3. Paola Marcovecchio
  4. Zachary Steinert-Threlkeld
  5. Sarah Jurick (2nd Place)
  6. Colin Haynes
  7. Benjamin Rubin (3rd Place)
  8. Patrick Metz (1st Place)
  9. Eric Keen
  10. Sophia Georghiou