See eight graduate student semi-finalists compete to be the Berkeley Champion!

Everyone is invited to cheer on graduate students as they present their three-minute research talks! While a panel of distinguished judges ascertains the top two winners, audience members will have the opportunity to vote a “people’s choice” winner.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017
3 – 5:30 pm
309 Sproul Hall
FREE and open to the public
Event will be livestreamed at

The top winner will represent Berkeley and compete in the ten-campus UC-wide Grad Slam hosted by UC President Janet Napolitano at LinkedIn headquarters in San Francisco on May 4, 2017.

Grad Slam is a UC-sponsored competitive speaking event designed to showcase graduate student research in three-minute talks pitched to a general audience. This is a unique opportunity for graduate students who are engaged in substantive original research projects to develop oratorical skills, dynamic deliveries, and compelling content when presenting their academic research — while attracting the notice of academic, media, and private and public sector leaders from across the state.

Distinguished Judges

Na’ilah Nassir Vice Chancellor for Equity & Inclusion; Professor of Education and of African American Studies
Amy Slater UC alumna, attorney, and lecturer at the Goldman School of Public Policy
Caroline Winnett Executive Director, UC Berkeley Skydeck


Tim Day
Tim Day,
Eye on a Cure: Evolving Next Generation Medicines

A sixth-year Ph.D. student from Kansas, Timothy aims to develop gene and cell therapies for patients who suffer from inherited diseases and to translate discoveries made in the lab to fully developed treatments administered in the clinic.

Joan Dudney
Joan Dudney,
Environmental Science, Policy and Management 
21st Century Colonialism: It’s Not What You Think

A fourth-year Ph.D. student and Northern California native, Joan aims to conduct solution-based ecological research in order to improve land management strategies in the face of a changing climate.

Spencer Frank

Spencer Frank, Mechanical Engineering
Engineering a Replacement for the Pancreas

A fifth-year Ph.D. student from Miami, Spencer aims to treat and cure diabetes and cardiovascular diseases through developing medical device technologies.

Ari Frink
Ari Frink,
Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning
From Concrete to Creeks: Revitalizing Flood Control Channels in Contra Costa County

A second-year Master’s student and California native, Ari aims to find innovative solutions to California’s water problems from an environmentally conscious perspective.

Pierce Gordon

Pierce Gordon, Energy & Resources
Innovation at the Margin: Analyzing Design Stories for Inclusion and Empowerment

A fifth-year Ph.D. student from Maryland, Pierce aims to design research, methods, practice, and pedagogy to empower marginalized communities and develop solutions for social problems in a variety of organizational settings.

Stephanie Mack
Stephanie Mack,
Topological is Topical

A fourth-year Ph.D. student from Ottawa, Canada, Stephanie plans to continue computational theory research to study novel quantum materials, achieve materials by design, start a university research group, and continue to be involved in teaching and public outreach.

Kelly Swanson

Kelly Swanson, Physics
Tabletop Particle Accelerators: Ultrapowerful Compact Machines

A fourth-year Ph.D. student from Chicago, Kelly aims to continue developing novel techniques for particle acceleration and combine high-quality research with mentoring budding scientists at a top research-oriented institution.

CKThomas_headshot3Claire Thomas, Physics
Quantum Simulation: Building Materials Atom by Atom

A seventh-year Ph.D. student from Baton Rouge, Claire aims to be part of the team that builds the first quantum computer, and plans to educate the public about the importance of studying quantum mechanics in order to understand new materials and ultimately build more sophisticated devices that will improve our everyday lives.

Sponsored by Berkeley Graduate Division
If you wish to request a disability-related accommodation, call Jane Fink at (510) 643-9164 at least 10 days in advance.