Grad Slam is a UC-sponsored competitive speaking event designed to showcase graduate student research in three-minute talks pitched to a general audience. Everyone is invited to virtually cheer on a group of Berkeley graduate students as they compete in UC Berkeley’s Grad Slam semi-finals! 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.
Seven semi-finalists have been chosen to compete in this year’s campuswide competition. A panel of distinguished judges selects the top two winners, and audience members will have the opportunity to cast their vote for the People’s Choice Award. The winner of the Berkeley event will advance to the final UC-wide competition.
You will be able to watch the live-streamed event here:
Adélaïde Bernard, Metabolic Biology
Hungry Unicorns: How Antennas in Your Neurons Control Appetite
A sixth-year PhD student from Belgium, Adélaïde studies how cells in our brain sense our energy status and modulate hunger and weight gain. Upon completing her PhD she will be looking for a postdoc focused on neuroscience. As a non-native English speaker, being part of this competition and getting to share her research to a broad audience is a very exciting challenge.
Neta Gotlieb, Psychology, Behavioral and Systems Neuroscience Area
The Impact of Stress on Pregnancy
A final-year Ph.D. student from Israel, Neta currently studies the neural circuits and hormonal mechanisms underlying ovulation, pregnancy, and birth. After graduating she plans to pursue a career outside academia where she will solve challenges related to female reproductive health.
AJ White, Anthropology
Making History from Poop
A fourth-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.
Michelle Phillips, Sociology
The System of Transnational Migrant Domestic Workers
A seventh-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.
Iemaan Rana, Environmental Health Sciences
From Chemicals to Chronic Disease: How Formaldehyde Exposure Can Lead to Neurodegenerative Disease and Brain Cancer
Iemaan is a first-year PhD student who is also attending medical school at the University of Illinois College of Medicine. 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 as a physician-scientist.
Rachel Woods-Robinson, Applied Science and Technology
Solar Searching: Clever Contacts to Combat Climate Change
A fifth-year Ph.D. student, Rachel believes complex challenges like climate change require that scientists collaborate on tech-based solutions, and also connect with the non-scientific community to develop trust-based solutions. Her research interests range from solar cells’ tiny crystal contacts to their societal impacts, and her career goal is to contribute to an equitable renewable energy transformation.
Wren Suess, Astrophysics
Tons of Fuel, But No Fire
Wren is a sixth-year PhD student from Raleigh, North Carolina. Next year, she will continue studying the evolution of galaxies over cosmic time as a joint UC Santa Cruz – Stanford postdoctoral fellow. In addition to research and mentoring, Wren views outreach as a fundamental part of her job as a scientist.