Grad Slam 2014 Final Round recap

by Torrey Trust, Academic Peer
Friday, April 18, 2014 8:05 PM

During the Grad Slam Final Round, 10 brave graduate students shared their 3-minute research presentations with a large crowd that filled Corwin Pavilion. After the 10 presenters gave their professional and inspiring talks, the judges selected the winners. 

Graduate Division Dean Carol Genetti with the Grad Slam 2014 winners: James Allen, center, grand prize winner; and runners-up Damien Kudela and Deborah Barany. Credit: Patricia Marroquin And the UCSB 2014 Grad Slam Champion and winner of $5,000 is ...

James G. Allen 
Marine Science
“Measuring Cells from Space: Remote Sensing of Phytoplankton Size Distribution”

And the Runners-Up are ...

Deborah Barany 
Dynamical Neuroscience
 “The Brain in Action”

Damien Kudela 
 “Smart Drugs to Stop Bleeding”

Of course, everyone was a winner in the Grad Slam Final Round, which is why I have created additional categories for the rest of the presenters, and a few others:

Best Use of Popular Media: Leah Kuritzky

Most Impressive Comparison of Spaghetti to Brain Research: Matt Cieslak

Outstanding Use of the Angry Kid Meme: Aubrie Adams

Most Dramatic (“We Just Don’t Have Anything Else That Works!”): Michael Zakrewsky

Most Impressive Use of a Cassowary to Explain Language: Don Daniels

Best Use of Food: Michelle Oyewole

Outstanding Comparison of Language to Biology: Dibella Wdzenczny

Future Career as a DJ: Don Lubach, Associate Dean, First Year and Graduate Student Initiatives, aka DJ Donny Don

Best judges: Hannah-Beth Jackson, California State Senator; Gene Lucas, Former Executive Vice Chancellor and Professor Emeritus of Mechanical Engineering; Michael Witherell, Vice Chancellor for Research and Professor of Physics; Denise Stephens, University Librarian; John Wiemann, Professor Emeritus of Communication; and Sarah Cline, Professor Emerita of History.

Most welcoming host: Graduate Division Dean Carol Genetti

After being amazed by the Grad Slam finalists, the audience members headed outdoors for the Graduate Student Showcase Reception. The reception featured a delicious selection of foods (empanadas, mushroom-stuffed risotto cakes, quesadillas, and more) as well as a live band.

Overall, the Grad Slam and Graduate Student Showcase were a great success and a fun way to show off the incredible research that graduate students are conducting.