UCSB Grad Slam wins graduate education excellence and innovation award

by Patricia Marroquin, Graduate Division Communications Director
Thursday, October 31, 2013 11:28 AM

The nine 2013 Grad Slam finalists: From left, Bob Lansdorp, Mohammad Mirzadeh, Peter Mage, Torrey Trust, Jasmin Llamas, Misty Riddle, Cyrus Dreyer, Britney Pennington, and Briana Simmons. Peter Mage, third from left, was the grand prize winner. Credit: Patricia MarroquinThe Graduate Division’s inaugural Grad Slam, a competition in which more than 80 UCSB graduate students presented three-minute talks on their research or other big ideas earlier this year, has won the 2013 Western Association of Graduate Schools (WAGS) and Educational Testing Service (ETS) Award for Excellence and Innovation in Graduate Education.

The award encourages, recognizes, and rewards excellence and innovation in domestic and international graduate education at both the graduate school and program level. Innovations may relate to any facet of the graduate education process, including outreach, recruitment through selection and admission, retention, and degree attainment.

The Grad Slam competition was part of the spring quarter’s Graduate Student Showcase, a celebration of UCSB’s extraordinary graduate students and their remarkable accomplishments. The Graduate Student Showcase featured many opportunities for grad students to present their work to the broader campus public, and for departments across campus to celebrate and acknowledge the essential contributions of graduate students to the academic mission of UC Santa Barbara.

 Graduate Division Dean Dr. Carol Genetti, who initiated the Showcase and Grad Slam earlier this year, expressed pride in the recognition.

“The Graduate Division was delighted to receive this prize,” Dean Genetti said. “The Grad Slam was a great success in profiling the phenomenal work that graduate students are doing across the campus. It is quite a challenge to encapsulate a complex idea and convey it effectively for a general audience in three minutes, but our students rose to the challenge and produced talks that were both fascinating and fun. We are looking forward to running it again this spring.”

The inaugural Grad Slam competition was won by Materials grad student Peter Mage, after nine preliminary rounds of competition. See our GradPost article on the final day of events, “Opera, Posters, AlloSphere, and 3-Minute Talks Highlight a Day of Graduate Student Showcase Events.”

The Graduate Division will accept the award, which includes a $2,500 prize, at the 56th Annual Conference of the Western Association of Graduate Schools in April 2014.