And Then There Were Ten

10 graduate students to compete in final round of first-ever virtual Grad Slam

From over 50 video entries, it all comes down to 10. The final round of the first-ever virtual UCSB Grad Slam will be held Monday, March 8, 3:30 p.m. PST on the UC Santa Barbara YouTube Channel.

UC Santa Barbara staff, faculty, students and local community members are invited to attend.

“It’s an amazing experience to watch students explain what they are researching and why it is important in a compelling three-minute presentation,” said Interim Graduate Dean Leila J. Rupp, who will be hosting the final round. “You will be awed by their abilities and left wanting to know more about subjects that may never have crossed your mind before.”

Competing for the title of UCSB Grad Slam Champion and the $5,000 Grand Prize are:

• Emily Hardison (Ecology, Evolution, & Marine Biology)

• Greta Koumarianou (Chemistry & Biochemistry)

• Nora Kassner (History)

• Kelsey Dowdy (Ecology, Evolution, & Marine Biology)

• Katelyn Zigner (Geography)

• Danae Hernandez Cortes (Economics)

• Logan Kozal (Ecology, Evolution, & Marine Biology)

• Viktoriya Babenko (Psychological & Brain Sciences)

• Nora Wolcott (Molecular, Cellular, & Developmental Biology)

• Deeksha Dangwal (Computer Science)

“We are so pleased to be able to host Grad Slam again this year, and it’s been amazing to see how the students have innovated and adapted to the virtual format,” said Shawn Warner, director of professional development and among the primary organizers of the competition. “Our 10 finalists represent a wide range of disciplines and topics, and we are excited to be able to showcase their remarkable research to the broader community.”

Audience members can watch the talks, participate in a live Q&A and vote online for their favorite presenter in the People’s Choice category.

The UCSB Grad Slam Champion will receive $5,000 and the chance to represent the university at the virtual UC-wide Grad Slam competition May 7, hosted by UC President Michael V. Drake. The winner of the People’s Choice vote will be awarded $1,500; all ten finalists will receive SONOS speakers.

This judging panel for the final round includes UCSB Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Margaret Klawunn; Vice Chancellor for Research Joe Incandela; Executive Vice Chancellor David Marshall; College of Creative Studies Dean Gerardo Aldana; and New York University Abu Dhabi Vice Provost for Graduate and Postdoctoral Programs, and UCSB Graduate Dean Emerita, Carol Genetti.

Over $16,000 in cash and prizes have been provided by Grad Slam corporate sponsors, including Yardi Systems Inc.; QAD Inc.; Becton, Dickinson and Company; Boone Graphics; Flexability; the Santa Barbara Independent; Drs. Carrie Towbes and John Lewis; HRL Laboratories, LLC.; Microsoft Corporation; and Sonos.

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