Grad Slam revs up for 2024 competition

woman plays violin on stage
Photo Credit
Jeff Liang
Alexandra Birch performing on the Grad Slam stage in 2022

On your marks, get set, go!  

The UC Santa Barbara Grad Slam Showcase is back for another round of competitive speaking. 

The annual event, now in its 11th  year, brings graduate students from every discipline together to compete live in the art of the three-minute research talk. Each of the 10 UC campuses hold competitions before their respective champions move on to the UC-wide showdown. The 2024 Grad Slam Showcase at UC Santa Barbara marks the second decade of this contest meant to highlight graduate student research. 

“Grad Slam is an opportunity to revel in the brilliance and flair of our graduate students,” said Leila Rupp, Interim Anne and Michael Towbes Graduate Dean and Grad Slam emcee. “The disciplinary preliminary rounds instituted last year ensure that the final showcase features the breadth of research across campus, from engineering to the humanities. Once again, the student presenters are sure to wow the audience with their ability to show why what they do matters. This is an event you don’t want to miss.”

Participants this year can also receive a Fundamentals in Public Speaking certificate in conjunction with the workshops offered by Graduate Division’s professional development team. The series of communication and presentation workshops is provided to those planning to present at one of the Grad Slam preliminary rounds, but the certificate is open to any graduate student who wants to gain expertise in crafting short narrative-based public talks. More information will be made available about the series in early winter quarter. 

“The Graduate Student Resource Center has long offered training to help graduate students develop their public speaking skills,” said Shawn Warner, Graduate Division’s director of professional development. “This certificate will help students better understand and demonstrate their skills in this crucial area of professionalization.” 

The preliminary rounds begin in early March 2024, with the final round happening April 5 during 2024 Graduate Student Appreciation Week. Winners from each of the preliminary rounds will receive $1,000 and runners up will receive $500. Preliminary round winners will also compete for a Grand Prize of $5,000 in the final round. 

Sign-ups for students interested in presenting in this year will open at the beginning of Winter Quarter, with a priority deadline of Friday, Feb. 16, 2024. Students who register after that will be put on a waitlist. For questions about the Grad Slam Showcase, contact Shawn Warner at

Media Contact

Marge Perko

Director of Marketing and Communications

UCSB Graduate Division

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