Introducing the 2022 Grad Slam Champion: Geoff Meyerhof

by Graduate Division Staff
Tuesday, March 15, 2022 12:18 PM

And then there was one...
Geoff Meyerhof (fruit)flies his way to the UCSB Grad Slam Championship!

With his winning three-minute talk, “The Early Bird Gets the Worm, but the Second Mouse Gets the Cheese: What Simple Organisms Can Teach Us about Our Daily Rhythms," Geoff, a graduate student in Biomolecular Science & Engineering, took the championship. He will now go forward to represent UCSB at the UC-wide Grad Slam, which will be livestreamed from the LinkedIn headquarters on May 6.

Grad Slam 2022_003Geoff was among ten graduate student finalists who showcased their research in this hybrid event, which was held at Campbell Hall and also livestreamed on UCSB's YouTube channel. A full recording of the event is now available to the public. The three-minute research presentations ranged in topic from music written in the Gulags, to new technologies to help image distant planets, to microorganisms living within sea sponges, to the role of emotion in effective teaching.

Geoff’s research on the sleep patterns of fruit flies, which may help develop treatments for those with insomnia or other sleep disorders, impressed the judges and won him the Grad Slam Grand Prize of $5,000. Runners-up Sophia Bailey (Chemistry & Biochemistry) and Alyssa Lawson (Psychological & Brain Sciences) were each awarded $2,500; with the in-person and virtual audiences voting for Skyler Palatnick (Physics) to win the 2022 People’s Choice Award of $1,500. Each of the ten finalists also took home $750.

The ten finalists were selected from 25 video submissions sent during the qualifying round last month. This year for the first time the final round was judged by a panel from the Santa Barbara community, including Dr. Niki Sandoval (WestEd), Dr. Alexandra Seros (Redwing Films Ltd.), Rick Rosen (WME), Heather Hochrein (EVmatch, Inc), and Anne Towbes (UCSB Foundation Trustee).

Interim Graduate Dean Leila Rupp signs Geoff's big check!

This year's Final Round provided an incredible showcase of innovative ideas from finalists from across disciplines on campus. Alexandra Birch (Music and History) discussed and played violin music written by a Ukrainian composer during the Gulags, while Taruna Schuelke (Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology) commented on the reasons behind a "runaway" seaweed bloom in the Atlantic. Esther Showalter (Computer Science) infused her discussion of wi-fi with Seussian rhythms and rhymes. Two scholars from Chemistry & Biochemistry, Krystal Vo and Sophia Bailey, discussed how their respective research into pigments and biomimetic mediums can point the way to new futures in scientific medicine. Geoff's labmate, Menglin Li (Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology), also presented research about fruit flies and sleep. Siena McKim (Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology) shared her passion for sea sponges, while Alyssa Lawson (Psychological & Brain Sciences) showed that an instructor's emotions play a central role in their pedagogical efficacy. People's Choice award winner Skyler Palatnick (Physics) excited the audience by showing them how new imaging technology can reveal the climate of distant planets.

Interim Graduate Dean Leila J. Rupp served as the Final Round emcee with inspiring opening remarks and lively post-presentation Q&A sessions with each presenter. Grad Slam 2021 winner Logan Kozal was also in attendance to hand out the awards to this year's winners.

We wish Geoff all the best as he represents UC Santa Barbara at the UC-wide Grad Slam on May 6th

Learn more about the 2022 UCSB Grad Slam competition here.