Grad Slam Finals Recap: James Allen Is Grand Prize Winner; Deborah Barany and Damien Kudela Are Runners-Up
During the Grad Slam Final Round, 10 brave graduate students shared their 3-minute research presentations with a large crowd that filled Corwin Pavilion.
Since the majority of the presentations were similar to the participants’ semifinal round talks, I will not take up your time with another recap (you can find all of the Grad Slam recaps here: http://gradpost.ucsb.edu/grad-slam-recaps-2014). Instead, I will get straight to the point. After the 10 presenters gave their professional and inspiring talks, the judges selected the following winners:
Grand Prize Winner: James G. Allen (Marine Science), “Measuring Cells from Space: Remote Sensing of Phytoplankton Size Distribution”
Runner-Up: Deborah Barany (Dynamical Neuroscience), “The Brain in Action”
Runner-Up: Damien Kudela (Chemistry), “Smart Drugs to Stop Bleeding”
Of course, everyone was a winner in the Grad Slam Final Round, which is why I have created additional categories for the rest of the presenters, and a few others:
Best Use of Popular Media: Leah Kuritzky
Most Impressive Comparison of Spaghetti to Brain Research: Matt Cieslak
Outstanding Use of the Angry Kid Meme: Aubrie Adams
Most Dramatic (“We Just Don’t Have Anything Else That Works!”): Michael Zakrewsky
Most Impressive Use of a Cassowary to Explain Language: Don Daniels
Best Use of Food: Michelle Oyewole
Outstanding Comparison of Language to Biology: Dibella Wdzenczny
Future Career as a DJ: Don Lubach, Associate Dean, First Year and Graduate Student Initiatives, aka DJ Donny Don
Best judges: Hannah-Beth Jackson, California State Senator; Gene Lucas, Former Executive Vice Chancellor and Professor Emeritus of Mechanical Engineering; Michael Witherell, Vice Chancellor for Research and Professor of Physics; Denise Stephens, University Librarian; John Wiemann, Professor Emeritus of Communication; and Sarah Cline, Professor Emerita of History.
Most welcoming host: Graduate Division Dean Carol Genetti
After being amazed by the Grad Slam finalists, the audience members headed outdoors for the Graduate Student Showcase Reception. The reception featured a delicious selection of foods (empanadas, mushroom-stuffed risotto cakes, quesadillas, and more) as well as a live band.
Overall, the Grad Slam and Graduate Student Showcase were a great success and a fun way to show off the incredible research that graduate students are conducting.