Graduate Students to Compete for Fellowship

Finalists from a field of 60 will vie to be the GradSlam fellowship winner

2015 GradSlam Finals will be held on April 20 at 4:30pm, in HUB 302

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (www.ucr.edu) — Sometimes, all it takes is three minutes to change the course of your life. That’ll be the case for the 10 to 12 contestants going head-to-head at the 2015 GradSlam. The event is an opportunity for graduate students at the University of California, Riverside to showcase and articulate the importance of their research in three minutes to a panel of judges and an audience. Whoever can do so in the most concise manner, will be the winner of a $5,000 fellowship.

“GradSlam is a contest that challenges our graduate students to demonstrate to the community how important their projects are,” said Maggie Gover, director for Graduate Student Academic and Professional Development. “It is an opportunity for them to practice explaining the work they do as graduate students to non-academics.”

Jennifer Kavetsky, competed last year. A graduate student in English, presents her research on robots in literature in the fourth preliminary round of GradSlam at UC Riverside on Tuesday, May 6, 2014.

Jennifer Kavetsky, competed last year. A graduate student in English, presents her research on robots in literature in the fourth preliminary round of GradSlam at UC Riverside on Tuesday, May 6, 2014.

A total of 60 students from across all academic disciplines will participate in one of five preliminary rounds. Contestants will be judged on several categories including clarity and delivery, the significance and appeal of the presentation, and whether the student was able to provide context and connect with a non-specialist audience member.

“In a nutshell we are looking for students who can make their research seem engaging, interesting and important to a panel of community members who work in various industries,” Gover said.

The preliminary rounds start on Tuesday, April 7, and will continue through April 14. Holly Okonkwo a graduate student in Anthropology, whose project is titled “She Builds Robots: Emerging Technocrats Transforming Science & Tech,” said she’s excited about participating in this year’s GradSlam event, and interested to see the research being conducted by others.

“While preparing a three-minute presentation is more stressful than I presumed, the competition offers an invaluable opportunity to share my research with the larger UCR campus community,” Okonkwo explained.

In addition to the $5,000 fellowship for the first place prize, the first runner-up will receive a $2,000 fellowship, the second runner-up and the audience’s choice get $1,000 each, and up to eight honorable mentions will receive $100 each. The grand prize winner will also advanced to the University of California Office of the President Finals for a chance to win an additional $6,000 fellowship.

Sponsored by the UCR Graduate Division, the final round for GradSlam will be on Monday, April 20, 2015 from 4:30-6:30 p.m. at HUB 302. The finalists will be announced on the evening of April 15.

Judges for the finals are:

  • Mayor Rusty Bailey, Riverside Mayor
  • Dallas Holmes, Riverside Superior Court judge (retired.)
  • Jay Goth, Executive Director of InSoCal CONNECT, senior business consultant at Tritech SBDC, and curator for the Riverside Startup Digest.
  • Behrouz Moti, UCR grad, medical doctor, professor and businessman (retired).
  • Nora Moti, Director of Education and Nursing Research at Kaiser (retired).

For more information on the event, times and location, visit: http://gsrc.ucr.edu/gradslam/

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