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2022 Final Round Information

This year, we held our Final Round in person and in front of a live audience! We also livestreamed the event on UCSB's YouTube channel for those who could not attend in person. You can view a recording of the livestream below!



Final Round Program Cover

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Prizes & Sponsors  Rules Judging and Scoring-dark blue  Special Training Opportunities-dark blue  Additional Information-dark blue

Prizes & Sponsors


1 prize total

Runners Up $2,500 each

2 prizes total

People's Choice $1,500

1 prize total

All Other Finalists $750 each

6 prizes total

Thank you to our generous donors and sponsors, whose gifts make Grad Slam possible!

Rules, Judging, & Scoring


2017 Winners Eric Jorgensen, Leah Foltz, and Max NowakPresentation slides are allowed but not required. Presenters are encouraged to remember that Grad Slam is a public speaking competition, not a slideshow competition, so the focus should remain on the content of their talk rather than on their slides. If presenters choose to prepare slides to accompany their talk, they must adhere to the following rules:

  • Presenters are allowed a maximum of 3 slides, exclusive of the title slide (note that each "click," such as to make an element appear on screen or to make a video/audio clip to be played, counts as a slide)
  • Use of animation and transition effects (e.g. any of the features on the PowerPoint Animation or Transition tabs) is not allowed
  • All slides must be original to the student and cannot be generated by a professional; inclusion of photos, visuals, charts, and graphics created by others is allowed but must be properly cited or attributed
  • Embedding of audio and/or video clips is allowed, but no other animations or transitions; the content of the audio or video clip must be deemed indispensable to the communication of the research topic
  • Props are allowed but need to be cleared ahead of time by the program coordinators, require minimal set-up, and not produce a mess

If the presentation visuals do not adhere to these standards, presenters will have points deducted from their final score as follows (not to exceed a total of 15 points deducted for all slide penalties):

2018 Final Round judgesNumber of Slides

  • 4 total slides/clicks - 3 points deducted
  • 5 total slides/clicks - 6 points deducted
  • 6+ total slides/clicks - 9 points deducted

Use of Disallowed Animations/Transitions

  • 1 instance - 1 point deducted
  • 2 instances - 2 points deducted
  • 3 instances - 3 points deducted
  • 4 instances - 4 points deducted
  • 5 instances - 5 points deducted
  • 6+ instances - 6 points deducted


Presenters will be timed during their presentation and should aim to speak for no more than 3 minutes total. A Graduate Division staff person will display an easily visible iPad countdown timer during the presentation so that students can note how much time they have left. Timing will commence from the moment the student starts talking; points will be deducted from the final score as follows:

  • 3:03-3:04 - 1 point deducted
  • 3:05-3:06 - 2 points deducted
  • 3:07-3:08 - 3 points deducted
  • 3:09-3:10 - 4 points deducted
  • 3:11-3:12 - 5 points deducted
  • etc.


The Final Round will feature five prominent members of the community as judges (to be announced in mid-February). Judges are selected to ensure disciplinary diversity and every effort will be made to minimize conflicts of interest. All talks will be judged according to the UCSB Grad Slam Scorecard.

People's Choice NEW THIS YEAR: All finalists will receive a summary of their Final Round scores, as well as anonymous feedback from the judges. This will be emailed to them by mid-March.

PEOPLE'S CHOICE: During the livestreamed Final Round, audience members (both in-person and those tuning in via the livestream) will get the chance to participate in a real-time People's Choice award vote. Once all talks have been completed, the organizers will project a QR code on screen where audience members can cast their vote. The winner of the People's Choice will be announced at the end of the Final Round, along with all of the judges' selections.

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Special Training Opportunities

Grad Slam Pitch workshop imageBri McWhorter, founder of the communications consulting company Activate to Captivate, will be working with our finalists to help them transition their talks from video presentations to live presentations. This workshop will be held in-person on Friday February 25, from 10-11:30am. More information on the workshop will be sent directly to the finalists once they are selected.

Additionally, we are pleased to be able to offer our 2022 campus champion the opportunity to work one-on-one with Bri in preparation for heading to the UC-Wide Grad Slam competition (tentatively scheduled for Friday, May 6, in San Francisco)!

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Additional Information



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Questions? Contact Shawn Warner, Director of Professional Development