UC Berkeley Grad Slam 2017

Credit: UC Berkeley

Top row, left to right: Claire Thomas, Ari Frink, Joan Dudney, Stephanie Mack; bottom row, left to right: Spencer Frank, Pierce Gordon, Kelly Swanson, Timothy Day

Eight UC Berkeley grad students will take turns at the microphone Wednesday to try to win over a panel of judges with a three-minute rundown on their research. Think “American Idol” for brainiacs, only with words instead of songs. 

It’s the Grad Slam semifinals, and they take place Wednesday, April 5, from 3-5 p.m., in 309 Sproul Hall. Everyone is invited, and it’s free. The competition will be livestreamed.  

The winner will represent Berkeley and compete in the 10-campus UC-wide Grad Slam hosted by UC President Janet Napolitano at LinkedIn headquarters in San Francisco on May 4.

Grad Slam is a UC-sponsored contest designed to showcase graduate student research — often detailed and complicated — in three-minute talks pitched to a general audience. The competition helps grad students learn skills that will help them down the road as researchers, academics and in the commercial world — developing oratorical skills, dynamic deliveries and compelling content to attract broad notice and support.

This year’s Berkeley semifinalists are Timothy Day (neuroscience), Joan Dudney, (environmental science, policy and management), Spencer Frank (mechanical engineering), Ari Frink (landscape architecture and environmental planning), Pierce Gordon (energy and resources), Stephanie Mack (physics), Kelly Swanson (physics) and Claire Thomas (physics). 

More information about the Grad Slam contestants and their work, Grad Slam at UC Berkeley and UC systemwide