Grad Slam competition results: Winners from prelim rounds 3 and 4

By GradPost Staff
Tuesday, April 05, 2016 05:00 PM

Day 2 of the Grad Slam competition is now complete, and we have six more winners who received a $50 UCSB Bookstore gift card and secured their spot in the semifinal rounds!

And the winners are...

Round 3 winners David Hwang, Celeste Pilegard, and Elizabeth Hiroyasu

Round 3


Elizabeth Hiroyasu


Celeste Pilegard


David Hwang, People's Choice







Round 4 winners Fang He, Nissa Cannon, and Stephanie Karba

Round 4


​Stephanie Karba


​Nissa Cannon


​Fang He, People's Choice






View photos and read synopses of all the talks from Rounds 3 and 4 below. You ​may find the full Grad Slam competition schedule here.

Round 3

Tuesday, April 5 | 11 a.m. to noon
Engineering Science Building 1001

Rachael Drew highlights the importance of curriculum policy in the public sphereRachael Drew | Global Studies
It’s in the Syllabus: Identity, National Narratives, and Curricular Politics in Postcolonial Education
Looking specifically at the postcolonial relationship between England and Jamaica, this project analyzes literature and history curriculum content in secondary schools to better understand how culturally relevant content material is incorporated into postcolonial school curricula. Education is a politically charged public sphere, and increased discussions about globalization situate curriculum material as a site where ideological debates about official and legitimate knowledge play out. Critical focus is placed on the existence of postcolonial history as well as the national and regional narratives that curriculum promotes.

Elizabeth Hiroyasu | Bren School of Environmental Science & Management
Fun Facts about Wild Pigs and Why We Should Care about Them
This talk will communicate the impacts that wild pigs have on our ecosystems and provide compelling evidence for better management strategies.

David Hwang | Materials
The Road to Transparent, Flexible µLED Displays
The major source of energy consumption in portable electronics is commonly the display. The current display technologies are liquid crystal displays (LCDs) and organic light-emitting diode (OLED) displays. Both are large sources of inefficiencies, and displays that are made purely of self-emissive inorganic light-emitting diodes (LEDs) can be at least twice as energy efficient. In my work, I am developing fabrication methods to create energy-efficient LED-based displays.

Sarah Kerchusky gives some historical background on her archeological research of textilesSarah Kerchusky | Anthropology
Socio-Economic Change at Sodom and the Textiles that Told the Tale
My presentation is about some research I did with archaeological textiles from Jordan. I discuss the research in brief and talk about the value of archaeological textiles analysis for archaeologists.

Jacob Kirksey | Education
Teacher Education SPED Up: A Natural Experiment
As of December 2015, the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing has prioritized more special education training for elementary teachers who are enrolled in teacher education programs. While research shows that more training is needed for these teachers in special education, little is known about how exposure to this training will influence their teaching practices and perceptions of special education students. This presentation will illustrate plans to evaluate the change in standards for pre-service teachers and discuss potential implications this additional training will have on the current teaching workforce.

Aditya Maheshwari | Statistics & Applied Probability

Empirical Estimation of Goodwin Growth Models
Goodwin model is a dynamic macroeconomic model to explain cycles of recession, recovery, boom, and bust experienced by economies all over the world. In our research, we do econometric estimation of the Goodwin model and the model proposed by van der Ploeg extending the basic ideas of the Goodwin model. We comment on econometric issues in one of the most famous papers in the literature and find strong evidence of the cyclical nature as hypothesized by the Goodwin Model.

Celeste Pilegard | Psychological & Brain Sciences
Achieving Meaningful Learning with Video Games
Despite widespread excitement about using video games for learning, the research base indicates that games and meaningful learning do not always go together. My talk will discuss why I think that is, and the work that I've done to make video games and learning more compatible.

Tanmoy Sanyal | Chemical Engineering
Folding Proteins Faster
Jason Wein discusses his new theoretical model for analyzing the problem of quark confinementMy research looks at coarse graining or reducing the overall complexity of resource-intensive molecular simulations of proteins, using tools from statistical mechanics and information theory. I'm particularly interested in developing algorithms that perform this simplification but in such a way as to retain all essential physical and structural information present in the more detailed simulation.

Jason Wien | Physics
Getting a Handle on Quark Confinement
Why do quarks so strongly resist being isolated from other quarks? Physicists know that this phenomenon of confinement happens, but a theoretical explanation of it has been a mystery for over 40 years. I describe a new theoretical handle I developed with my advisor for analyzing the confinement problem, which involves mapping the theory of quarks into a theory of gravity in one higher dimension.

Round 3 competitors answer questions from the audience and judges

Round 4

Tuesday, April 5 | 3 to 4 p.m.
Mosher Alumni Hall

Nicholas Browne explains his geological research in the dry valleys of AntarcticaNicholas Browne | Earth Science
Subduction in Antarctica: Petrogenesis and Timing of Lamprophyre Dike Swarms
For this project, I'm systematically dating and studying the geochemistry of an extensive suite of subduction-derived lamprophyre dikes exposed along the margin of the Neoproterozoic East Antarctic Craton. The goal of this research is to determine whether subduction in large-scale zones such as this ends simultaneously or whether it ends progressively along strike, since this process is still very poorly understood, and since lamprophyres derive from extensional processes associated with the termination of subduction. I participated in a field season in the Dry Valleys region of Southern Victoria Land, Antarctica, in late 2015, and I am scheduled to participate in another one in the Miller Range of the Central Transantarctic Mountains this coming November.

Nissa Cannon | English
An Expatriate by Any Other Name
The term "expatriate" has been broadly applied and widely romanticized. I suggest that by concretely defining this figure, we can better understand modernist literature and the modern world.

Fang He | History
'Golden Lilies' across the Pacific: American Imagination of Footbinding and the Shaping of American Immigration Inspection
For the United States, the “otherness” of China appears most vividly in the custom of footbinding. Paradoxically, however, bound feet became a means to obtain exemption from American laws against Chinese immigration in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. My presentation will explain what made inclusion of "the other" on this basis possible. It focuses on the transpacific world to explain how contexts on both sides of the Pacific enabled an invention of meanings of footbinding, and how these imaginations, perceptions, and stereotypes of bound feet affected American immigration officials’ enforcement of Chinese exclusion laws.

Mike Johnson | Geography
Spatiality: An Opportunity in Water Security Research
Populations in California are growing, agricultural demands are increasing and climate is becoming more variable. However, water is becoming less available. The existing water system is struggling to adapt to a changing world because policy is not scale sensitive and as a result recent policies have neither been representative of peoples' needs nor efficient. Understanding the spatial scale that water security should be studied and how spatiality affects peoples' experience with water is fundamental to closing the gap between a water-insecure and water-secure state.

Stephanie Karba | Bren School of Environmental Science & Management
Microsynthetic Fiber Pollution and the Apparel Industry
Delores Mondragon talks about her work with native veteran women and the return to indigenous forms of healingTypically we only hear about marine plastic pollution in the form of plastic trash islands floating in ocean gyres. But what if all of our synthetic jackets and clothing items are slowly releasing thousands of small plastic fibers into the environment every single time we wash them? Our team quantified the release of plastics from multiple synthetic jackets and investigated the possible ecological impacts that result when they enter the marine environment.

Delores Mondragon | Chicana & Chicano Studies
Native Veteran Women: Resilience and Rematriation
This talk will highlight the resilience of women veterans through indigenous forms of healing, despite the consequences of invisible wars, PTSD, MST, and Moral Injury. It will also point to the return of women warriors and matriarchal societies.

Competitors from Round 4 field questions from the audience and judges

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