Headshots of all contestants placed next to each other horizontally

Grad Slam 2020

Breadcrumb

Making your project matter to both other academics and your community is one of the most important professional skills to develop as a graduate student. Grad Slam is an opportunity to practice articulating your research's importance to others in a clear, engaging way while competing for prizes!

Group of Grad Slam Finalists standing all together on a stage
Contestants at the Finals of UCR Grad Slam 2020 (UCR/Stan Lim).

At the UCR Grad Slam Finals on March 3, 2020, Graduate Division awarded a $5,000 fellowship to the best 3-minute talk by a UCR graduate student about their research or creative project. Graduate Division also awarded the following fellowships: $2,000 to the first runner-up, $1,000 to the second runner-up, $1,000 to the audience's choice, $500 to the poster session winner, and $100 to 5 honorable mentions. Financial aid rules apply to all prizes.

GRAND PRIZE WINNER: Eric Johns (Music), "Racing Music/Musicking Race"

FIRST RUNNER UP: Thomas Dugger (Materials Science and Engineering), "PolyAspirin: Targeted Pain Relief"

AUDIENCE CHOICE: Biagio DiSalvo (Plant Pathology), "Biofilm: A Potential New Strategy to Save Our Grapes"

SECOND RUNNER UP: Ethan Castro (Digital Composition - Music), "ResonX - Feeling Sounds Through Vibrations

POSTER WINNER: Daniel White (Chemical and Environmental Engineering), "How Insects Spread a Grapevine Disease"

Honorable Mention: Mark Wiley (Biomedical Sciences), "Doping the Gut: Marijuana's Effect on Obesity & Inflammation"

Honorable Mention: Samiksha Singh (Environmental Sciences), "Microplastics: More Than Just a Buzzword"

Honorable Mention: William Ota (Evolution, Ecology and Organismal Biology), "Ex-Stream-ly Important: How Humans Affect Urban Rivers"

Honorable Mention: Danielle Stevenson (Environmental Toxicology), "Don't Eat Dirty Vegetables: Fungi Reduce Toxic Metals in Food Systems"

Honorable Mention: Courtney Wood (Neuroscience), "More Fries Please: Why Eating Junk Food Makes You Hungrier"

Poster Finalist: Jennifer Humphreys (Earth and Planetary Sciences), "Oxygen in the Earth"

Poster Finalist: Alejandro Navarro (Genetics, Genomics and Bioinformatics), "Senescence Seeker - A Computational Workflow"

Daniel White stands next to the poster of his slides
Daniel White with his winning poster at UCR Grad Slam 2020 Finals (UCR/Stan Lim).

JUDGES

Wajdie Ahmad, Biopharmaceutical Executive, Entrepreneur and Investor
Wajdie Ahmad is a biopharmaceutical executive/investor with over eighteen years of industry experience. Most recently, Mr. Ahmad served as the co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of Bonti from its inception in 2015 until the company was acquired by Allergan in October 2018 for the upfront payment of $195M and subsequent milestone payments. At Bonti, Mr. Ahmad was tasked with building and managing the Finance, HR, Legal, IT, and R&D operations along with the company’s clinical programs. In addition, Mr. Ahmad was instrumental in helping to raise over $36M in three structured financing rounds. Prior to Bonti, Mr. Ahmad worked at Allergan for 13 years in various roles with increasing responsibility within the Biologics manufacturing and development groups, focusing on the development, characterization and manufacturing of neurotoxins, including Botox and other biologics programs. Mr. Ahmad received his B.S. in Biology from the University of California, Riverside, and his M.B.A. in Management from the University of California, Irvine.

Dr. Mark Glassy, Cancer Research Scientist and Science Fiction Enthusiast
Dr. Mark Glassy is CEO of Nascent Biologics, Inc. and a visiting scholar in the Translational Neuro-Oncology Department at UC San Diego's Moores Cancer Center. One of Glassy's main contributions to the fight against cancer is the development of pritumumab, a pharmaceutical drug designed to treat brain cancer, which has been submitted to the Food and Drug Administration for review. He has over 170 publications in the scientific and medical literature, is the inventor of several issued patents in the human antibody field, and is Editor-in-Chief of the journal Human Antibodies. Dr. Glassy
is also the collector and curator of an astonishing archive of science-fiction related books, art, toys and films - some 100,000 items in all. He earned his PhD in biochemistry from UCR in 1978, and is on the advisory board for the UCR School of Medicine.

Dr. Christine Mata, UCR Dean of Students
Dr. Christina Mata joined UCR as the Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Dean of Students effective August 1, 2019. She previously served as the Interim Dean of Students at Humboldt State University. Prior to that, she held a number of student affairs leadership positions at Humboldt State and UCLA. Dr. Mata holds a PhD in Education with a focus on Higher Education and Organizational Change from UCLA. Throughout her career, she has focused on creating transformative educational experiences that lead to student success. Dr. Mata is also involved nationally and serves on the editorial board of The Journal Committed to Social Change on Race and Ethnicity.

Deborah Netburn, Los Angeles Times Reporter
Deborah Netburn is a features writer at the Los Angeles Times. Endlessly curious, she's covered a wide variety of topics since starting at the paper in 2006, including entertainment, home and garden, national news, technology and science. She's hung out with Tibetan monks in Pacific Palisades, seen seahorses at the bottom of Alamitos Bay, and spent time with the working witches of Los Angeles. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies from Wesleyan University in 1999.

Elio Palacios, Jr., Riverside Attorney and Community Activist
Elio Palacios, Jr., a graduate of UC Davis School of Law, is an attorney practicing in Inland Southern California in the areas of business, corporate and commercial transactions, and litigation. He is past president of the Board of Directors of the Inlandia Institute, a non-profit organization devoted to recognizing, supporting, and expanding regional literary activity in all its forms. He also served for eight years on the Riverside Metropolitan Museum board, where he was instrumental in the formation of the Harada House Foundation, and served on the City of Riverside Code of Ethics Review Committee.

Continuing this year:
  • Participation Incentives for Humanities-Related Research

The Center for Ideas and Society is offering a $50 gift card to graduate students with research in or related to the humanities who: 1) attended an orientation; 2) participated in a preparation public speaking workshop; and 3) completed a preliminary round of competition.

  • UCR Palm Desert Exhibition

Grad Slam Finalists and Semi-Finalists will eligible to compete for a $500 audience choice award at the Grad Slam Palm Desert Exhibition on April 7, 2020.

  • When & Where

    Preliminary Rounds:

    • Round I:   Tuesday, February 11th, 3-4pm (HUB 367)

      Peter Ibsen, Botany
      Stewarding the Urban Forest of Our Future

      Margaret Hanson, History
      Cyrus DeVry: Zookeeping and Masculinity at the Turn
      of the 20th Century

      James Guillinger, Environmental Sciences
      Using Lasers and Drones to Understand Post-Wildfire
      Erosion Hazards

      Evander Ramos, Mechanical Engineering
      Processing-Structure-Properties Relationships in Metals
      and Tacos

      Brian Sanchez, Sociology
      Ingredients for a Resilient Mind

      Courtney Wood, Neuroscience
      More Fries Please: Why Eating Junk Food Makes You
      Hungrier

      Biagio DiSalvo, Plant Pathology
      Biofilm: A Potential New Strategy to Save Our Grapes

      Bryant Avalos, Biomedical Sciences
      Cannabis and Cravings: Counting Calories

    • Round II:  Wednesday, February 12th, 10-11am (HUB 367)

      Samantha Levell, Evolution, Ecology & Organismal Biology
      Is Mom in Charge?

      Samiksha Singh, Environmental Sciences
      Microplastics: More Than Just a Buzzword

      Stephen El-Khatib, Political Science
      The Mosque Next Door

      Pablo Unzueta, Chemistry
      Exploring Crystal Polymorphism On My Couch

      Danielle Stevenson, Environmental Toxicology
      Don't Eat Dirty Vegetables: Fungi Reduce Toxic Metals in Food Systems

      Andrew MacDonald, Philosophy
      The Reason in Desire

      Ariana Sabzeghabae, Mechanical Engineering
      Bubbles for Cancer Treatments

      Maham Rais, Biomedical Sciences
      A Fragile Imbalance: Understanding Sensory Hyperexcitability in a Mouse Model of Fragile X Syndrome

    • Round III: Thursday, February 13th, 12-1pm (HUB 367)

      Thomas Dugger, Materials Science & Engineering
      PolyAspirin: Targeted Pain Relief

      Bob Bozonelos, Musicology
      The Theta Within: Synthesizing Brains Waves to Create Personalized Sounds for Meditation Therapy

      Alba Cercas Curry, Comparative Literature
      In Defense of Anger with Reference to Ancient Greece and Early China

      Daniel White, Chemical & Environmental Engineering
      Crop Diseases, Insects, and Physics Simulations

      Ethan Castro, Digital Composition – Music
      ResonX - Feeling Sound Through Vibrations

      William Ota, Evolution, Ecology & Organismal Biology
      Ex-stream-ly Important: How Humans Effect Urban Rivers

      Win Cowger, Environmental Sciences
      Science Is Open or It Isn't Science

      Jeremy Pober, Philosophy
      Addiction and Character

      Elijah Hall, Evolution, Ecology & Organismal Biology
      Flower Power: Plant-Pollinator Interactions in a Changing World

    • Round IV: Thursday, February 13th, 1:30-2:30pm (HUB 367)

      Dion Kucera, Botany and Plant Sciences
      Urban Ecosystems: How Plants Cope with Changing Rainfall

      Kate Mower, History
      Constanta as a Living City

      Jennifer Humphreys, Earth and Planetary Sciences
      Oxygen, Iron, and Lava

      Mohasinina Kamal, Electrical Engineering
      Cyber Security in Electricity Distribution System

      John Burnett, Political Science
      Indigenously Democratic: Electoral Habits of Indigenous Peoples in the U.S

      Mark Wiley, Biomedical Sciences
      Doping the Gut: Marijuana's Effect on Obesity & Inflammation

      Alejandro Navarro, Genetics, Genomics & Bioinformatics
      Senescence Seeker- A Computational Workflow

      Eric Johns, Music
      Racing Music/Musicking Race

      Catherine Augello, Bioengineering
      Identifying Microglial Subtypes

      Raymond Yeung, Bioengineering
      DNA: Realization of the Trusty Medium for Long-Term Digital Data Storage

    Semi-Final Rounds:

    • Tuesday, February 18th, 3-4pm (HUB 367)

      Ariana Sabzeghabae, Mechanical Engineering
      Bubbles for Cancer Treatments

      Biagio DiSalvo, Plant Pathology
      Biofilm: A Potential New Strategy to Save Our Grapes

      Margaret Hanson, History
      Cyrus DeVry: Zookeeping and Masculinity at the Turn of the 20th Century

      Samiksha Singh, Environmental Sciences
      Microplastics: More Than Just a Buzzword

      Courtney Wood, Neuroscience
      More Fries Please: Why Eating Junk Food Makes You Hungrier

      Stephen El-Khatib, Political Science
      The Mosque Next Door

      Danielle Stevenson, Environmental Toxicology
      Don't Eat Dirty Vegetables: Fungi Reduce Toxic Metals in Food Systems

    • Thursday, February 20th, 12-1pm (HUB 260)

      Elijah Hall, Evolution, Ecology & Organismal Biology
      Flower Power: Plant-Pollinator Interactions in a Changing World

      Daniel White, Chemical & Environmental Engineering
      Crop Diseases, Insects, and Physics Simulations

      Bob Bozonelos, Musicology
      The Theta Within: Synthesizing Brains Waves to Create Personalized Sounds for Meditation Therapy

      Peter Ibsen, Botany
      Stewarding the Urban Forest of Our Future

      Alejandro Navarro, Genetics, Genomics & Bioinformatics
      Senescence Seeker- A Computational Workflow

      Jennifer Humphreys, Earth & Planetary Sciences
      Oxygen, Iron, and Lava

      Thomas Dugger, Materials Science & Engineering
      PolyAspirin: Targeted Pain Relief


      John Burnett, Political Science
      Indigenously Democratic: Electoral Habits of Indigenous Peoples in the U.S

      Ethan Castro, Digital Composition – Music
      ResonX - Feeling Sound Through Vibrations

      William Ota, Evolution, Ecology & Organismal Biology
      Ex-Stream-ly Important: How Humans Effect Urban Rivers

      Mark Wiley, Biomedical Sciences
      Doping the Gut: Marijuana's Effect on Obesity & Inflammation

      Eric Johns, Music
      Racing Music/Musicking Race

    UCR Grad Slam Finals: Tuesday, March 3rd, 3:00-6:00pm (Culver Center of the Arts in Downtown Riverside)

    • Seating is limited, so RSVP for your chance to vote for your favorite speaker!

    UCR Palm Desert Exhibition: Tuesday, April 7th, 6:00-8:00pm (UCR Palm Desert Campus)

    UCOP Grad Slam Finals: Friday, May 8th, 10:30am-1:30pm (LinkedIn Headquarters, San Francisco)

  • Eligibility & Participation

    All eligible UCR graduate students are invited to apply to participate in Grad Slam.  To be eligible participants must:

    • Be registered as full-time graduate students in good standing
    • Be no more than one year beyond normative time
    • Submit a completed online application to participate (available Jan. 6, 2020)
    • Attend one GradSlam orientation and sign the video release
    • Be available to be present during one preliminary round, the UCR Finals, and the UCOP Finals (students may not miss class to present in a preliminary round)
    • Upload PowerPoint in accordance with guidelines onto the competition computer during one of the approved upload dates
    • Not have been selected as a UCR Grad Slam winner previously and not have been selected as a UCR Grad Slam 1st Runner-Up, UCR 2nd Runner-Up, or UCR Audience Choice Grad Slam winner in the 2019 competition.

    2020 Orientations will be held on:

    Wednesday, January 15th, 10-11am (Center for Ideas and Society)
    Thursday, January 16th, 2-3pm (LFSC 1425)
    Friday, January 17th, 12-1pm (LFSC 1425)
    Tuesday, January 21st, 10-11am (LFSC 1425)
    Wednesday, January 22nd, 3-4pm (LFSC 1425)
    Friday, January 24th, 11am-12pm (LFSC 1425)
    Tuesday, January 28th, 2-3pm (Center for Ideas and Society)
    Thursday, January 30th, 12-1pm (LFSC 1425)

  • Application & Contestant Selection

    The online application is now open.  Applicants will be selected and scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis. Applications will be accepted through Tuesday, February 4th at 5pm.

    For your application, please prepare:

    •  Your tentative projected presentation title
    • A brief description of your presentation (no more than 3-4 sentences, does not have to be finalized)
    • Your availability for the orientations

    All those who attend orientation will then be invited to indicate their availability for the Preliminary rounds.

  • Preparation & Support

    Grad Slam represents an important professional development opportunity. Students have the opportunity to hone their skills in public speaking, engaging a broad audience, PowerPoint preparation, and effective use of visual aids. To help students prepare, GradSuccess is offering the following workshops and feedback sessions:

    Presenting Effectively with Visual Aids
    Tuesday, Jan. 21st at 12pm (LFSC 1425)

    Grad Slam Contestant Feedback Sessions
    Tuesday, Feb. 4th at 11am (LFSC 1425)
    Monday, Feb. 10th at at 12pm (LFSC 1425)

    To attend a feedback session, you must practice your Grad Slam presentation. Anyone who is not presenting will be asked to leave the room.

  • Rules & Prizes

    Presentations can be no longer than 3 minutes. Contestants will have only a 3 second "grace period" after the 3 minutes have elapsed; if they continue speaking past the "grace period," they will be disqualified. Contestants may use a PowerPoint presentation with up to a maximum of three slides (not including title slide, which we will create for you). PowerPoints may include embedded audio or video but may not include animation. The judges will evaluate the presentations according to the following criteria:

    • Clear and effective presentation
    • Accessible to a general audience
    • Foregrounds research's intellectual significance or creative work's impact

    The prizes are all fellowships and regular rules of financial aid apply:

    • UCOP Grand Prize: $7,000
    • UCOP First Runner-Up: $4,000
    • UCOP Second Runner Up: $2,000
    • UCOP Audience Choice Award: $1,000
    • UCR Grand Prize: $5,000
    • UCR First Runner-Up: $2,000
    • UCR Second Runner-Up: $1,000
    • Audience Choice Award: $1,000
    • Up to 8 Honorable Mentions: $100
    • Poster Presentation Winner: $500
  • Judges
    Wajdie Ahmad, Biopharmaceutical Executive, Entrepreneur, and Investor, Biopharm

    Wajdie Ahmad is a Biopharmaceutical executive/Investors with over 18 years of industry experience. Most recently, Mr. Ahmad served as the co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of Bonti from its inception in 2015 until the company was acquired by Allergen NASDAQ:AGN) in October 2018 for the upfront payment of $195M and subsequent milestone payments. At Bonti, Mr. Ahmad was tasked with building and managing the Finance, HR, Legal, IT, and R&D operations along with the company’s clinical programs. In addition, Mr. Ahmad was instrumental in helping to raise over $36M in three structured financing rounds. Prior to Bonti, Mr. Ahmad worked at Allergan for 13 years in various roles with increasing responsibility within the Biologics manufacturing and development groups, focusing on the development, characterization and manufacturing of neurotoxins, which includes Botox and other biologics programs. Mr. Ahmad received his B.S. in Biology from the University of California, Riverside, and his M.B.A. in Management from the University of California, Irvine.

    Kayleigh Anderson-Natale, Postdoc and Professional Development Manager, UC Irvine

    A graduate of UCR, Dr. Kayleigh Anderson-Natale currently serves as the Postdoc and Professional Development Manager at the University of California, Irvine. In this role, she works closely with both graduate students and postdocs to ensure that they have a positive experience at UCI, and are well-equipped for postgraduate careers. While still a student at UCR, Dr. Anderson-Natale worked at UCR GradSuccess for two years, and then spent two years as the GSA Diversity and Inclusion Academic Liaison, where she developed a passion for graduate education and supporting graduate students. She received her Bachelor’s of Science in sociology from the University of Idaho, her home state.

    Eleinis Ávila-Lovera, Postdoctoral Researcher, Chapman University

    Dr. Avila-Lovera is a postdoctoral researcher at Chapman University, Orange, working on understanding the role of abiotic (climate and soil) factors on adaptation and rapid speciation of the Neotropical spiral gingers (Costus). She earned her PhD degree in Evolution, Ecology and Organismal Biology from the University of California, Riverside, in 2018, working on the costs and benefits of having green stems in desert plants. She received her Bachelor (Hons) degree in Biology from the Universidad Central de Venezuela in 2011, where she was an instructor and a researcher from 2012 to 2013, before starting her PhD studies.

    Marlenee Blas Pedral, Associate Director, Center for Social Innovation, UCR

    In her role as associate director, Marlenee manages projects as well as internal and external outreach for the Center. Marlenee brings a wealth of experience from her prior roles as a counselor in the UC Riverside Career Center, where she led the university’s work study engagement with employers both on and off campus and helped found the Butterfly Project, which provides internship experiences and professional development to undocumented students. In 2015, Marlenee completed a Fulbright Fellowship in Brazil, where she studied affirmative action policies, affordability and access to higher education. Raised in Inland Empire, Marlenee is eager to build strong, thriving partnerships in the region.

    Lauren Cummings, HR Analyst and Learning Management Systems (LMS) Administrator, County of Riverside

    Lauren Cummings was a member of the first graduating class of the UCR Palm Desert MFA Low Residency program, receiving her Masters in Fine Arts in 2010. After spending several years as a Training Technology Analyst for UC Riverside and UC San Diego, she moved over to the County of Riverside. There she implemented a county-wide Learning Management System to manage all employee training which she continues to oversee. While she works in the technical space, she continues to stay involved in the creative arts, working with literary journals and hosting podcasts.

    Diane Elton, Retired Director of former International Education Center, UCR

    Diane Elton is the Director (Retired) of UC Riverside’s former International Education Center. Nationally, she serves on the Membership Engagement Committee of NAFSA: Association of International Educators which has oversight for the group’s international conference career center and resume mentoring in the field of international educational exchange.  Additionally, Diane has been a NASFSA reviewer for juried sessions, posters and publications. She has also reviewed scholarship and opportunity applications for international agencies of Japan and the United States.  For UCR, Diane has served on multiple scholarship/fellowship selection committees, including Fulbright and Grad Slam panels. Currently, Diane serves as Board Secretary for the World Affairs Council of Inland Southern California and past president of the International Relations Council of Riverside, having led the group to Best in Nation status for its Sister City programs.

    Kathleen Feeley, Professor of History, University of Redlands

    Dr. Kathy Feeley is a professor in the Department of History and director of the Proudian Interdisciplinary Honors Program at the University of Redlands.  She is a co-coordinator of the Los Angeles History & Metro Studies Group of the Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West.  She is co-editor of When Private Talk Goes Public: Gossip in American History (2014), author of Mary Pickford: Hollywood and the New Woman (2016), and is at work on “The Mightiest Publicity Powers on Earth”: The Hollywood Press Corps and the Shaping of the Modern Press in Twentieth-Century America.

    Kenneth Flack, Analytical Chemist and Materials Scientist, HP Inc.

    Dr. Flack earned his Ph.D. in Bioanalytical Chemistry from the University of California, Riverside in 2015 and a B.S in chemistry from Cal Poly Pomona. Dr. Flack has worked for HP Inc since early 2016 and is currently a lead analytical chemist and materials scientist for HP San Diego supporting the companies research and development efforts world-wide, participating in several invention disclosures and patent applications within the company. Dr. Flack was awarded the First Runner-up prize in UCR's 2015 Grad Slam competition.

    Aaron Gardner, Epidemiologist, Riverside County Public Health

    Aaron Gardner is an epidemiologist with 20 years of social science and epidemiological research experience, including 15 years investigating infectious and chronic disease in Riverside County with the Riverside University Health System – Public Health. He completed his M.A. in Anthropology from the University of California, Riverside and his Master of Public Health in Biostatistics and Epidemiology from USC’s Keck School of Medicine. Aaron has extensive experience in qualitative and quantitative data collection, analysis, and communication, with a particular focus on health equity and social justice issues. He is a proud member of the Board of Directors of TruEvolution, Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to fighting for LGBTQ justice and advocating for the prevention and elimination of HIV/AIDS.

    Jay Gilberg, Instructor and Entrepreneur-in-Residence, UCR

    Jay Gilberg was the Founder and CEO of ABCOW Staffing, one of the largest independent staffing firms in San Diego CA for 20 years. ABCOW was awarded the INC500 designation as one of the nation's 500 fastest growing privately held companies over a 5-year period. The company specialized in direct-hire and temporary staffing services in the accounting and administrative areas. After selling the company, Gilberg continues to pursue his entrepreneurial passion as an Instructor and Entrepreneur-in-Residence at UC Riverside, where he assists students, faculty and small business entrepreneurs in commercializing their technologies. In addition to teaching and advising startups, he oversees his multi-location real estate business.

    Mark Glassy, CEO, Nascent Biologics

    Dr. Glassy is CEO of Nascent Biologics, Inc. and a visiting scholar at UC San Diego’s Moores Cancer Center. One of Glassy’s main contributions to the fight against cancer is the development of pritumumab, a pharmaceutical drug designed to treat brain cancer, which has been submitted to the Food and Drug Administration for review. He is also the collector and curator of an astonishing archive of science-fiction related books, art, toys and films – some 100,000 items in all. Dr. Glassy earned his PhD in biochemistry from UCR. 

    Brian Hawley, Chairman and Chief Technical Officer, Luminex

    Brian N. Hawley is Chairman and Chief Technical Officer of Luminex, a privately held company developing distinctive data storage products based on proven technologies that tackle the complex challenges of storing, archiving, distributing and protecting data. Luminex has received the Spirit of the Entrepreneur award in technology, the Greater Riverside Chambers of Commerce Small Business Eagle award, and been honored as a California Small Business of the Year. Hawley is past chair of the Board for the Greater Riverside Chambers of Commerce and the Riverside ExCITE Technology Incubator. He holds Bachelor and Master of Science Degrees in Computer Science from the University of California, Riverside, is a UCR Foundation Trustee, and a recipient of the UCR Bourns College of Engineering Honored Alumni Award. He is a long-time resident of Riverside with his wife Vickie. 

    Gladis Herrera-Berkowitz, Director of Student Engagement in Undergraduate Education, UCR

    Gladis Herrera-Berkowitz is the Director of Student Engagement in Undergraduate Education.  In her role she supports student involvement in undergraduate research, prestigious scholarships and awards, the UCR Undergraduate Research Journal, Undergraduate Research Symposium, and the Chancellor’s Research Fellowship program.  During her tenure at UCR Gladis has also served as the Director of University Honors, Director of Instructional Development, and Assistant Director of the CNAS Graduate Student Affairs Center.  Gladis earned her B.A. in Political Science from UC Davis and an M.A. in History from the University of San Diego.

    Canserina Kurnia, Solution Engineer, Esri

    Canserina Kurnia is a GIS professional with over 21 years of experience.  She currently holds the position as a Solution Engineer at Esri, the leading GIS and Location Analytics company.   Her main role is to provide technical advice and assistance for key universities in advancing their GIS technology in teaching, research, and campus administration.  She obtained her master’s degree in landscape planning from University of New South Wales, Australia and a Technical Trainer certification from CompTIA.  She often travels to conducts workshops and presents technology updates at conferences both within the USA and around the world.  Prior to her current role, she was stationed in Singapore, assisting Esri Global Asia Pacific office as a Technical Manager.  

    Denise Machin, Director, Claremont Colleges Ballroom Dance Company

    Denise Machin earned her Ph.D. in Critical Dance Studies from the University of California, Riverside in 2018. Machin is the first woman Director of the Claremont Colleges Ballroom Dance Company, the third largest collegiate ballroom dance program in the country, and she also serves as adjunct faculty in Pomona College’s Physical Education Department. Machin was a finalist in UCR Grad Slam’s inaugural year.

    Christine Mata, Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Dean of Students, UCR

    Dr. Christine Mata joined UCR as the Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Dean of Students effective August 1, 2019. Dr. Mata previously served as the Interim Dean of Students at Humboldt State University. Prior to that, she held a number of student affairs leadership positions at Humboldt State and UCLA. Dr. Mata holds a Ph.D. in Education with a focus on Higher Education and Organizational Change from UCLA.  Throughout her career, she has focused on creating transformative educational experiences that are focused on student success.  Dr. Mata is also involved nationally and serves on the editorial board of The Journal Committed to Social Change on Race and Ethnicity.

    Vincent McCoy, Executive Director , Inland Empire Small Business Development Center

    Vincent McCoy received his MBA from Northeastern University after receiving his Bachelor’s degree from Cal State East Bay. He is involved with the Greater Riverside Chamber of Commerce, the Black Chamber of Commerce – Inland Empire, the Riverside County Black Chamber of Commerce, and the Local Planning Council for Riverside County, as well as the Baldy View Regional Occupational Program. In addition, Mr. McCoy serves as adjunct faculty at California State University, San Bernadino.

    Nora Moti, Retired Director of Education and Nursing Research, Kaiser, Fontana, and Ontario Medical Centers

    Nora Moti, RN, MSN/PHN has been retired from her last position as the Director of Education and Nursing Research at Kaiser, Fontana, and Ontario Medical Centers since 2011. She started her Registered Nursing career upon graduating from Riverside Community College in 1979. She received her Bachelors in Nursing in 1984 and her Masters of Nursing in 2003 from California State University, San Bernardino (CSUSB). She served on the Institutional Review Boards of CSUSB and Southern California Kaiser Permanente Regional Center. She also served as the Vice President and the President of CSUSB Rho Beta Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International (STTI) Honor Society of Nursing. In 2008, she received “The Inland Empire Nursing Leader Award” from The Riverside Press-Enterprise. The same year, she also received “The Southern California Hospital Hero Award” produced by National Health Foundation. She co-authored a research project titled “Clinical Nurse Specialist Practice Patterns.” She has made presentations about evidence- and research-based practices at Kaiser and STTI symposiums. In recent years, she served as the president of The Moti Center for Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine and taught online courses in nursing ethics for Zirve University in Turkey. Nora likes travelling and mentoring her grandson and granddaughter in reaching their educational goals in engineering and medicine, respectively.

    Deborah Netburn, Reporter, Los Angeles Times

    Deborah Netburn is a features writer at the Los Angeles Times. Endlessly curious, she’s covered a wide variety of topics since starting at the paper in 2006, including entertainment, home and garden, national news, technology and science. She’s hung out with Tibetan monks in the Pacific Palisades, seen seahorses at the bottom of Alamitos Bay and spent time with the working witches of Los Angeles. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies from Wesleyan University in 1999.

    Christine Mata, Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Dean of Students, UCR

    Dr. Christine Mata joined UCR as the Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Dean of Students effective August 1, 2019. Dr. Mata previously served as the Interim Dean of Students at Humboldt State University. Prior to that, she held a number of student affairs leadership positions at Humboldt State and UCLA. Dr. Mata holds a Ph.D. in Education with a focus on Higher Education and Organizational Change from UCLA.  Throughout her career, she has focused on creating transformative educational experiences that are focused on student success.  Dr. Mata is also involved nationally and serves on the editorial board of The Journal Committed to Social Change on Race and Ethnicity.

    José A. Muñoz, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, CSUSB

    Dr. Muñoz is an Associate Professor at California State University, San Bernardino. His current research is in the field of public health, health disparities, and Latino Communities in the U.S. Dr. Muñoz’s other research includes topics such as social movements and Latin America, immigration, Mental Health, and STEM. He has authored papers in the Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences, Journal of Hispanic Higher Education, Migration Letters, Journal of Child Public Welfare, Social Movement Studies, Sociology Compass, Humanity and Society, National Social Science Journal, Migration and Development, and the International Review of Modern Sociology. Dr. Muñoz is a member of the American Sociological Association Task Force on First-Generation and Working-Class Persons in Sociology. This is a two-year appointment.

    Elio Palacios Jr., Managing Attorney, Palacios Law Office

    Elio Palacios Jr., a graduate of UC Davis School of Law, is an attorney practicing in Inland Southern California in the areas of business, corporate and commercial transactions, and litigation. He is president of the Board of Directors of the Inlandia Institute. He also served for eight years on the Riverside Metropolitan Museum board, where he was instrumental in the formation of the Harada House Foundation, and served on the City of Riverside Code of Ethics Review Committee.

    Cati Porter, Executive Director, Inlandia Institute

    Cati Porter is a poet, essayist, and executive director of the Inlandia Institute, an Inland Empire non-profit organization devoted to recognizing, supporting, and expanding regional literary activity in all its forms. She is the author of the poetry collections The Body at a Loss, My Skies of Small Horses, and Seven Floors Up, as well as five chapbooks. Recent essays have appeared in Shark Reef, Lady / Liberty / Lit, The Manifest-Station, and Salon. She received her MFA from Antioch University in Los Angeles and currently lives in Riverside, California.

    Steve Shatkin, President, Tortoise Industries, Inc. and Roastologist, Mammoth Coffee Roasting, LLC

    Steven M. Shatkin is a graduate of the University of California, Riverside with a B.S. degree in Psychobiology. Post college he worked as a lab supervisor for the organic testing department at E.S. Babcock & Sons, and then as a senior research chemist for CPI, Inc. where he was awarded two patents in chemistry. Mr. Shatkin has served as the president of the Riverside Junior Chamber of Commerce from ’90-’94, and as an ambassador to Sendai, Japan for the Junior Chamber sister city program in 1991. He chaired the Environmental Beautification Committee for the Riverside Chamber of Commerce and was a member of the UCR Citizens University Committee. Mr. Shatkin is currently a Life Member of the UCR Alumni Association and works closely with the UCR Guardian Scholars for Foster Youth Program. He is also an Advisory Council Board Member for Disabled Sports Eastern Sierra in Mammoth Lakes, CA. Mr. Shatkin joined Tortoise Industries, Inc., a design manufacturing firm, in 1994 where he currently serves as president and creative director. He is a regular guest lecturer at the Art Center School of Design and has collaborated with many notable architects, artists and galleries. Tortoise is celebrating the opening of their first fine art gallery, The Mark, in January of 2020 which will help aspiring young artist promote and exhibit their work. Mr. Shatkin is married to his wife Tracie and they have four children, four dogs and five chickens between them. Mr. Shatkin is an accomplished pilot, violinist, coffee roaster and chef. In his spare time, he enjoys skiing and hiking as well as managing the couple’s philanthropic business, the Mammoth Coffee Roasting, Co., located in Mammoth Lakes, CA.

    Javier Trujillo, Owner, Law Offices of F. Javier Trujillo

    F. Javier Trujillo was born in Guayaquil, Ecuador in 1952. He emigrated to the United States and became a Naturalized U.S. Citizen in March 1973.  He enlisted and served in the U.S. Air Force as a Combat Controller, serving temporary duty stations throughout the world. While in the Air Force he became qualified, among other things, as an air traffic controller, jump master, parachute rigger and parachutist. After separating from the Air Force, he enrolled at Fairleigh Dickinson University in New Jersey where he earned a degree in political science. Upon completion of his undergraduate studies he studied law at New York Law School, where he was awarded “Outstanding Trial Oralist” before graduating in 1983. After graduating from New York Law School, he opened McCarter and Trujillo, a law office in Hackensack New Jersey before accepting an associate position with the law firm of Magana, Cathcart, McCarthy & Pierry in Los Angeles. After fifteen years with this firm, he opened his own law office and continues to this day practicing personal injury and immigration law.

    Nolan Ung, Senior Data Analyst, Ellison Institute for Transformative Research, USC    

    Dr. Ung received his B.S. and Ph.D. in Botany and Plant Science from the University of California Riverside, where he combined traditional cell biology and microscopy techniques with video bioinformatics and image analysis as a part of the NSF funded IGERT and GRFP fellowships.  This interdisciplinary skill set took him to a post-doctoral researcher position at UCLA where he started his journey into cancer biology by studying the role of miroRNA in B-cell Leukemia. Currently, Dr. Ung is the Senior Data Analyst for the Ellison Institute for Transformative Medicine of USC, A cutting-edge, interdisciplinary cancer treatment and research center, where he works with the various research groups to facilitate biological insight through statistical analysis, data mining, and data visualization. He fosters collaboration and consults with PI’s and researchers to design research projects from start to finish. He also co-chairs the microscopy committee and spearheads an internal workshop aimed at teaching basic programming and data analysis to traditional molecular biologists. During his years at UC Riverside, Nolan was vice president of the Botany and Entomology Club and co-chair of the Botany and Plant Science Graduate Student Association.

    Christine Victorino, Associate Chancellor and Chief of Staff in the Office of the Chancellor, UCR

    Christine Victorino is Associate Chancellor, and former Assistant Vice Provost in the Office of Undergraduate Education, at UCR. She previously held administrative leadership and academic development roles at Pitzer College, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Stanford, and universities in Canada. She earned her Ph.D. in education at UC Santa Barbara and also holds a master’s degree from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and bachelor’s degrees from the University of Toronto and Queen’s University in Kingston, Canada.

    Fabian Villalobos, Associate Engineer, RAND Corporation

    Fabian Villalobos is an Associate Engineer at the RAND Corporation where he works on public policy research for the Department of Defense. He is an alumnus of the Materials Science & Engineering graduate program at the University of California, Riverside. He is also an inventor and consultant. In his spare time, Fabian enjoys reading, martial arts, and writing short stories.

    Atena Zahedi, Postdoctoral Fellow, Stem Cell Research Center, UC Irvine

    Atena Zahedi is currently a UC President's Postdoctoral fellow working at the UCI Stem Cell Research Center. She participates in research to advance stem cell therapies for regenerative medicine. She earned her B.S. in Biomedical Engineering from USC, and her M.S. and PhD in Bioengineering at UCR. She was also an NSF IGERT in Video Bioinformatics fellow while pursuing her PhD research.

    Yitong "Priscilla" Zhao, Assistant Professor, Mechanical Engineering Department, California State Polytechnic University Pomona

    Dr. Yitong (Priscilla) Zhao is an Assistant Professor at the Mechanical Engineering Department of California State Polytechnic University Pomona (Cal Poly Pomona). She received her B.S majored in Micro-Electrical-Mechanical System (MEMS) from Tsinghua University in China. She completed her Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering at UCLA in 2014, with the thesis in significant increase of algal biofuel production from a unique cell-free system.  She joined Cal Poly Pomona as an assistant professor in 2014 and has been focusing on STEM education with the assistance of technology to tackle the challenge of the new age of education.  Her current focus is in utilizing virtual reality (VR)/augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR) technology to improve the effectiveness of engineering education.