Grad Slam 2023

Congratulations, Competitors!

Video created by Johnny Moon.


Photos of our Grad Slam Final 2023
Names of our Grad Slam Final Winners 2023
Grad Slam Final Winner 2023


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Grad Slam Fast Facts 2023
  • Why should I enter Grad Slam?

    Incentives! $50 Amazon Gift Cards for first 30 participants in the humanities, social sciences and arts. To be eligible, students must attend a professional development opportunity AND submit a video into the Preliminary Competition by the deadline.

    Professional Development

    Gain valuable experience in presenting your research to non-academic audiences.  

    Public Speaking

    Grad Slam provides an opportunity to hone your public speaking skills. 


    Presenting your research can open the door to new opportunities.

    Expand your CV/Resume

    Participating in Grad Slam will look great on your CV/Resume.

    Prize Money

    You could win up to a $12,000 stipend!

  • When and Where

    Preliminary Round:  

    Students interested in competing in Grad Slam 2023 must submit a video of their three-minute presentation. From those submissions, a panel of judges will score the videos and up to 16 semi-finalist will be chosen. Video submissions will be due by February 1, 2023 at 12:00pm.

    Semi-Final Rounds: 

    Semi-Final rounds will be held in-person on February 22 (Semi Final A) and February 23, 2023 (Semi Final B). Semi Final A will take place on February 22 from 1-2 P.M. in HUB 367. Semi Final B will take place from 11-12 P.M. in HUB 260. The Semi-Final round contestants will be evaluated by a set of judges and 8-10 contestants will move forward to the UCR Grad Slam Finals.

    UCR Grad Slam Finals:

    The UCR Grad Slam Final will be in-person at UCR's Alumni Center on March 9, 2023.  The UCR Grad Slam Final will be in front of a panel of distinguished judges, UCR Leadership and the Graduate Division Staff.

    UCOP Grad Slam Finals:  

    Date, location and format of the UCOP Grad Slam Finals are TBA, but usually in-person, early May in San Francisco

  • Eligibility and Participation

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

    • Be currently enrolled full-time in UCR's Master's or Doctoral Graduate Programs in good standing. MD students are not eligible. 
    • Be no more than one year beyond normative time
    • Be enrolled through Spring 2023
    • Be available to be present during a semi-final round (in-person), the UCR Finals (in-person at UCR's Alumni's Center), and the UCOP Finals (TBD). 
    • Not have been selected 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 2020 competition.
    • In cases of collaborative research, the presenter’s contribution to the project must be salient and clearly specified.
  • Grad Slam Prizes

    Grad Slam Prizes


    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: $250
  • Rules and Guidelines

    New for 2023!

    General Rules and Guidelines for Grad Slam Competition

    • Presentations can be no longer than 3 minutes.
    • Only one PowerPoint slide may be used.
    • Timing commences when the student engages with the audience. If engagement starts with a hand clap, a gesture, an audio or video clip or any other such engagement, prior to speaking, the clock begins at that time; if there is no such engagement the clock starts when the student begins speaking. Timing will end after the last word is spoken. Points will be deducted from the final score, beginning with one point at 3:03, and one point being taken off for every two seconds the speaker continues after that.
    • The UCR competition has three stages:
    1. Preliminary Round will be a video submission
    2. Semi-Final will be in person in late February
    3. Final competition will be in person March 9th at the Alumni Center.
    • The UC-Systemwide Final will be in person in early May (TBA)

    Guidelines for Single Powerpoint Slide:

    • A maximum of one PowerPoint slide, excluding a title slide that will be generated by organizers, is allowed but is optional; no Prezi, Google Slides, or other presentation formats.
    • Students must create their PowerPoint slide themselves - they cannot ask someone else to design the slide.
    • Use of PowerPoint templates is allowed. The slide can include visual elements (charts, visualizations, photos, clip art, etc.) created by someone other than the student, as long as the slide credits the original creator.
    • PowerPoint animation effects are allowed.
    • Embedded audio and/or video clips (including but not limited to .gif, .avi, .mp4, .mp3, and .wmv file types) are not permitted. In general, use of audio/video clips is discouraged as judging will focus on your presentation skills, not the quality of your media usage. However, use of additional electronic media can be included if approved in advance. Permission will only be granted if competition organizers deem the elements indispensable to the communication of the research topic. To request the inclusion of audio or video clip, participants must send both the presentation with the embedded media and a short statement of justification to the at least one week before the competition.
    • Props are allowed, but need to be cleared by the program coordinators, require minimal set-up, and not produce a mess. To request use of props please email at least one week prior to the competition.
    • Please note: competitors will not be judged on video/recording quality. Judging will focus on the presentation and the ability to communicate research to a non-specialist audience.
    • Submissions may not contain any copyrighted material, such as licensed graphics. Images and visual elements must either be public domain, intellectual property of the student, or fall under "fair use" provisions. Click on the links below for more information. 

    Guidelines for Video Submission for the Preliminary Round

    • Contestants will upload their video recording for the preliminary rounds to eLearn (Canvas) after passing the Orientation Video Quiz. To gain access to the eLearn (Canvas) site, you must fill out the Grad Slam 2023 Application.
    • The file name should have the form LastName_FirstName_Program_2023.
    • Your 3-minute video submission cannot be bigger than 500 MB.  For questions regarding video submission concerns, contact the APRO staff.
    • If you would like a content warning, please indicate in the "Text Entry" section of the submission portal whether you would like the following message to be provided to the judges before they view your video:  "Content Warning: The following video may contain language, images, embedded videos, concepts, and/or ideas that might be controversial or sensitive for certain viewers."
    • Participants must have a strong internet connection (preferably hardwired ethernet, but excellent wifi is okay) and a suitable device (PC, laptop, tablet, or smartphone with audio and camera). 
    • Participants must use Zoom to record.
      • Tip for recording your video on Zoom:  When you click on record, you should get two options: “Record to the Cloud” and “Record to this computer”.  Selecting “record to this computer” will result in higher video quality and allow you more options to resize your image while screen sharing or using your slides as background.  Using “Record to the Cloud” does not accommodate for resizing.  
      • Please ensure that the video box is large enough to ensure that APRO staff and judges can view you as the presenter. To enlarge the video box, you can simply select the corner of your video box and drag to the desired size. Make sure your video box is not covering any text or images on your powerpoint slide.
      • You may use the "Slides as Virtual Background" feature when recording. To use this feature, click on "Share Screen" and then "Advanced" options.   You can then expand your image in the window by drawing on one of the corners of the image. Make sure you have the latest version of Zoom installed on your electronic device.  Practice your presentation using the "Slides as Virtual Background" feature before attempting to record.
      • If you do not have the technical capabilities to use the "Slides as Virtual Background" feature in Zoom, please contact Laura McGeehan ( to make other arrangements.
    • Be as brief and concise as possible when introducing yourself.
    • Remain in a quiet, well lit area. Restrain from having echos in the background. 
    • Try to limit the amount of distractions in your background. Solid colored walls, backgrounds with minimal objects and patterns are okay. 
    • Your face and shoulders should be fully in the frame. Do not let the frame cut off the top or bottom of your head. 
    • The three-minute video must be continuous - no edits or breaks - and the submitted video must be of a single, unedited take. Students may not use editing software to modify any part of the video. 
    • No additional electronic media (e.g. sound and video files) are permitted within the video recording without advanced permission.
    • One video per individual may be submitted.
    • Although you are not being judged by the quality of your video, we recommend saving your video file in the highest quality possible. For a quality video display, your video size should ideally be 1920x1080. 
    • If you require any assistance with filming or do not have adequate internet connection/equipment, please contact for accommodations.
  • Scoring
    • Clarity
      • Did the speaker provide adequate background knowledge to make the talk and the importance of the project understandable?
    • Organization
      • Did the presentation follow a clear and logical sequence?
    • Delivery
      • Does the student’s body language, eye contact, pace, and vocal range contribute to the presentation’s effectiveness?
      • Does the student deliver the talk without relying excessively on notes?
      • Is the student’s presentation style confident and enthusiastic?
    • Appropriateness
      • Was the topic and its significance communicated in language appropriate to an intelligent, but non-specialist audience?
      • Did the speaker avoid discipline-specific jargon or explain it when necessary?
    • Significance
      • Does the student foreground why this project matters in his/her field?
      • If the student presents on collaborative work, was the student’s unique contribution clearly specified?
    • Engagement
      • To what extent did the talk speak to the judges’ intellectual curiosity?
      • Did it make the judges want to learn more about the topic?
  • Preparation & Support

    For students considering applying for the Grad Slam 2023 Competition:


    Virtual Preparatory Workshop

    Virtual Office Hours

    Grad Divison professional staff will hold office hours to provide tips, pointers, and answer any questions relating to the Grad Slam Competition. 


    For students participating in Grad Slam 2023:


    Virtual Preparatory Workshop #2 

    • "Presenting Effectively With Visual Aids" by Anika Speers. 
      • Date TBA
      • Registration link TBA

    Grad Slam Contestant Feedback Sessions

    • TBA
  • Resources

    UCOP Examples of UC-Wide Competition winners:

    UCOP Grad Slam official page:

    2016 UCOP Final winner from UCR:

    Presenting Effectively With Visual Aids Workshop, Dr. Annika Speer, UCR

    Grad Slam Pitch Workshop, Bri McWhorter, Activate to Captivate

    UC Berkeley Professor Jonathan Shewchuk’s “Giving an Academic Talk":

    Explaining Quantum Computing to Kids, Students, and Professionals:

    How to Talk like TED by Carmine Gallo, Article by Guy Kawasaki:

    Giving Oral Presentations from English Communication for Scientists by Jean-luc Doumont:

  • Contact Us!

    Laura McGeehan

    Director, Academic Preparation, Recruitment and Outreach

    UOB 134

    Laura McGeehan

    Leah Stiff

    Outreach and Communications Specialist, APRO

    UOB 136

    Leah Stiff

    Karla Bonilla

    Outreach and Communications Specialist, APRO

    UOB 134

    Karla Bonilla