About Grad SlamGrad Slam is a UC-sponsored competition designed to showcase graduate student research for a general audience in three-minute talks. Think mini-Ted Talks. Entrants compete in preliminary rounds on their UC campus, with prizes awarded at each stage of the selection process. How to enter the Berkeley Grad SlamFull instructions on how to enter, including submission deadlines and information session dates, can be found on, How Does the Competition Work. Why should I enter Grad Slam?Professional Development: Grad Slam is a unique opportunity for graduate students to practice pitching original research to general audiences. To prepare their talks, participants have the opportunity to attend workshops and receive one-on-one coaching to develop oratorical skills, dynamic deliveries, and compelling content when presenting their academic research. Networking: Through Grad Slam, participants will meet and engage with a diverse body of UC Berkeley staff, faculty, graduate students, and valued associates (donors, alumni, media, politicians, community members, and more). Impact: Participants have the opportunity to make the importance and relevance of their research visible to a non-specialist audience. Prizes: All campus semi-finalists receive at least $300, with the first-place, second-place, and People’s Choice winners taking home $3,000, $1000, and $750 respectively. The campus first-place winner advances to the UC-wide event and the possibility of even more cash prizes. UC-Wide Grad Slam Championship In early May, Berkeley’s champion will compete against graduate student peers at the UC-wide championship competition. Competitors will be judged by notable leaders in industry, government, and media. The top three presentations will receive cash prizes with first place recognized as the winner of the prestigious UCOP Grad Slam “Slammy” award. Helpful Information How Does the Competition Work, Rules, and more Preparing for Grad Slam Step-by-Step Take a look at last year’s event! Learn from Previous Berkeley Finalists2023 Berkeley winner, Madison BrowneMadison Browne explores a non-invasive light therapy for Alzheimer’s Disease. With a passion for developing diagnostic and therapeutic tools to improve quality of life for those suffering from brain disorders, Madison plans to devote her career to this cause. 2022 Berkeley winner, Justin LeeJustin Lee‘s presentation on Jamming the SARS-CoV-2 Copy Machine, won him not only the 2022 UC Berkeley Grad Slam first place prize, but also the 2022 UC systemwide competition, bringing the “Slammy” back to Berkeley. 2021 Berkeley winner, Adélaïde BernardAdelaide Bernard won in first place of campus Grad Slam competition and also took home 3rd place at the system wide competition! Adelaide studies how cells in our brain sense our energy status and modulate hunger and weight gain. As a non-native English speaker, being part of this competition and getting to share her research to a broad audience was a very exciting challenge. 2019 Berkeley winner, Nancy FreitasNancy Freitas, a first year master’s student in the Energy and Resources Group, impressed the audience and judges alike with her talk, “Microbes in the Arctic,” which described how climate change is activating billions of microbial organisms that lay dormant in Arctic permafrost. “It is my hope that my research will motivate humans, which are much smarter, and much larger than microbes,” Nancy said. 2018 Berkeley winner, Joe CharbonnetJoe Charbonnet, also took home the Slammy in the UC systemwide competition! Joe’s research described how sand coated with manganese oxide can be used to remove contaminants from stormwater. Joe is currently field-testing the use of this sand to replenish California’s underground aquifers. “This technology helps cities save their rain for a sunny day,” his talk concluded. Berkeley’s 2017 winner, Kelly SwansonKelly Swanson, presented her research on creating a smaller, more affordable alternative to the Large Hadron Collider, which allows scientists to discover new particles and observe their movement, but is 17 miles round. “These machines have been instrumental in answering questions about our universe, but they are becoming prohibitively large and expensive,” Kelly said. Her new approach, a laser plasma accelerator, is just palm-sized. Berkeley's 2016 winner, Kelsey SakimotoKelsey Sakimoto, presented his research on creating a better, more efficient version of photosynthesis at the interface of chemistry and biology. Kelsey has taught bacteria “to grow and cover their bodies with tiny semi-conductor nanocrystals” which function as solar panels. This cyborg “bacterial army” can “grow and photosynthesize food, fuels, pharmaceuticals, and plastics using solar energy” more efficiently than chlorophyll and at a fraction of the cost of solar panels. Read about past years’s competition: Meet Our Grad Slam 2023 Campus Winners Bringing Home the Slammy! Q&A with 2022 Berkeley Campus and UC Systemwide Grad Slam Winner Justin Lee Q&A with 2021 Berkeley Grad Slam Winner Adélaïde Bernard Berkeley’s Champion for the 2019 UC-Wide Grad Slam Competition Chosen Berkeley’s Champion for the 2018 UC-Wide Grad Slam Championship Chosen Berkeley’s Joe Charbonnet Brings Home the 2018 Slammy! Winning Grad Slam Took Months of Preparation, Plus Some Quick Thinking! Watch the full 2023 Berkeley Grad Slam here!