Berkeley Campuswide Grad Slam (Postponed)

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 skills communicating their academic research — while making their work visible to academic, media, and private and public sector leaders from across the state. Ten semi-finalists have been chosen to compete in the campuswide live competition.

Learn more about last year’s event!

The campus-wide competition will take place on:



Neta Gotlieb headshotNeta Gotlieb, Psychology, Behavioral and Systems Neuroscience Area

The Impact of Stress on Pregnancy

A six-year Ph.D. student from Israel, Neta currently studies the neural circuits and hormonal mechanisms underlying ovulation, pregnancy, and childbirth. She will be graduating in the summer and plans to pursue a career outside academia where she will solve challenges related to female reproductive health.

AJ White headshotAJ White, Anthropology

Making History from Poop

A third-year Ph.D. student from Laguna Niguel, California, AJ wants to teach and mentor the next generation of archaeologists, research the impacts of climate change on humans in novel and impactful ways, and engage the public to make informed decisions on the environment.

Carol BaumbaerCarol Baumbaer, Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences

Small Sensors for Smart Agriculture

A third-year Ph.D. student from Bozeman, Montana, Carol wants to continue to work on electrical engineering technology with environmental applications, in an academic or industry setting.

Michelle Phillips headshotMichelle Phillips, Sociology

The System of Transnational Migrant Domestic Workers

A sixth-year Ph.D. student, Michelle identifies as a lifelong migrant. She wants to work in research and communications for human rights and social justice internationally, particularly seeking the best routes for reform regarding social policies, economics, and equity.

Rachel Woods-RobinsonRachel Woods-Robinson, Applied Science and Technology

Solar Searching: Clever Contacts to Combat Climate Change

A fourth-year Ph.D. student from San Francisco, Rachel believes that complex societal challenges like climate change require cross-collaboration and interdisciplinary solutions. Ultimately, she wants to contribute by becoming a science professor, starting a renewable energy company, and/or bringing her scientific expertise into energy policy.

Lisa Eshun WilsonLisa Eshun-Wilson, Molecular & Cell Biology

Microtubules: Small Tubes with a Big Impact

A fifth-year Ph.D. student from Los Angeles, Lisa is committed to a career in academia after completing her degree, because she believes that no other career offers the same intellectual freedom and stimulation, rewarding teaching and service opportunities, and international collaboration prospects. She hopes to pursue a tenure-track faculty position at a top research institution.

Iemaan Rana headshotIemaan Rana, Environmental Health Sciences

From Chemicals to Chronic Disease: How Formaldehyde Exposure Can Lead to Neurodegenerative Disease and Brain Cancer

A second-year master’s student from Chicago, Iemaan wants to pursue medicine after completing her Master’s of Public Health. Her career goal is to marry her passion for public health and medicine by becoming a physician-scientist. By integrating her fascination with environmentally-mediated disease and her commitment to serving those in need, she hopes to address poignant questions in both basic and translational research.

Samantha Lewis headshotSamantha Lewis, Nuclear Engineering

Miniaturizing the Accelerator 

A fifth-year Ph.D. student from Chicago, Samantha loves teaching, and hopes to become a professor. In her research, she wants to continue improving accelerator cavities and other microwave devices to create tools for basic science research. She’s especially interested in applying her work to fusion energy.

Wren SuessWren Suess, Astrophysics

Tons of Fuel, But No Fire

A fifth-year Ph.D. student from Raleigh, North Carolina, Wren loves research, mentoring, and teaching, so she currently plans to stay in academia. As an astronomer, much of her research is made possible by government funding; she believes it’s part of her job to give back to the larger community that enables her to conduct research and learn about the universe.

Adélaïde Bernard headshotAdélaïde Bernard, Metabolic Biology

Hungry Unicorns: How Antennas in Your Neurons Control Appetite

A fifth-year Ph.D. student from Belgium, Adélaïde would like to do a postdoc that is focused on neuroscience, upon completing her Ph.D. As a non-native English speaker, being able to share her research in front of a broad audience, in English, has been her dream and goal since she arrived in the states, so she is very happy to be able to do it now that she has reached the last year of her degree.


UC-Wide Grad Slam Championship

On Friday, May 8, 2020, Berkeley’s champion will compete against graduate student peers at the UC-wide championship competition. This event will again be held at LinkedIn’s downtown San Francisco center and emceed by UC President Janet Napolitano. Competitors will be judged by notable leaders in industry, government, and media.

The top three prizes at the system-wide competition are $1,000 (People’s Choice), $2,000 (third place), $4,000 (second place), and $7,000 for the winner of the prestigious UCOP Grad Slam “Slammy” award.

Read about last year’s competition at Berkeley:

Watch the full 2019 Berkeley Grad Slam:

Learn from the System-Wide Finalists

Check out the previous system-wide UC Grad Slam events and winners:

Watch the full 2019 UC Systemwide Grad Slam: