2024 Grad Slam

The Berkeley Grad Slam 2024 campus competition will take place on Tuesday, April 9, 3:00 – 5:00 p.m. via Zoom. All are welcome to watch as up to 10 semi-finalists present their research in three-minute talks.

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Watch the 2023 Berkeley Grad Slam event below

Grad Slam 2023 Semi-finalists

Mara Reed, Earth and Planetary Science

The Seismic Mystery at Steamboat Geyser

Mara is a fifth-year PhD candidate hailing from Minnesota. Her idea of a good time involves watching water boil in Yellowstone National Park, where geysers first captured her attention as a teenager. She has close ties with the “geyser gazing” hobbyist community and her research on geyser eruption mechanisms is often informed by observations from citizen scientists. Apart from geysers, Mara enjoys cave photography and serves as secretary for the Diablo Grotto, a local caving club.

Andrea Anaya Sanchez, Plant and Microbial Biology

The Role of Aldehydes during Bacterial Infection

A third-year PhD student from Mexico, Andrea is fascinated by bacteria and how sophisticated they can be. She is currently a joint student in the Stanley and Portnoy labs where she is interested in understanding how bacteria have adapted to their host in order to succeed in infection. In particular, she studies the role of aldehydes in host-pathogen infection dynamics.

Claire Gasque, Physics

What Can Volcanoes Teach Us about Space?

Claire Gasque is a fourth-year student pursuing her PhD in physics. She conducts research at UC Berkeley’s Space Sciences Laboratory, where she uses satellite data to probe plasma processes in various space environments. Claire is passionate about effective scientific communication, both for public outreach and within the scientific community, and so is delighted to have the opportunity to participate in this year’s Grad Slam!

Maisie Wiltshire-Gordon, Rhetoric

The Ethics of Form

Maisie Wiltshire-Gordon is a fourth-year PhD candidate in the Rhetoric department. Her research draws on philosophy of language, ethics, and literary theory to investigate the way that narrative techniques do ethical work. Focusing on modernist novels, Maisie tracks the way that literary structure offers a way of knowing and relating to one another. But she also believes that these discussions don’t only belong in seminar rooms: as an essayist and book critic, Maisie works to bring philosophical ideas to a broader audience.

Madison Browne, Psychology

Shedding Light on Alzheimer's Disease

Madison is a 4th year PhD candidate from Alabama, currently using her training in animal behavior, immunology, and circadian biology to explore a non-invasive light therapy for Alzheimer’s Disease. She is passionate about developing diagnostic and therapeutic tools to improve quality of life for those suffering from brain disorders, and plans to devote her career to this cause.

Taylor Waddell, Mechanical Engineering

3D Printing in Space

Taylor is a second-year PhD student from Wisconsin. Taylor researches space-based applications of a new 3D printing process called Computed Axial Lithography. He is also currently a NASA Pathways Engineer at the Kennedy Space Center where he works with Lunar regolith. Taylor is a maker and nerd at heart.

Monica Li, Mechanical Engineering

Robot Dexterity in the Real World

Monica is a fifth-year PhD student studying robot design. Her research harnesses fluid mechanics to create dexterous grippers for real-world applications such as ocean exploration. She is excited to share her research through the Grad Slam.