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Graduate Peers' Schedules

Spring 2015
Peer Advisor Availability

Professional Development Peer, Shawn Warner-Garcia
Monday: 10 a.m. to noon
Wednesday: 10 a.m. to noon
Friday: 10 a.m. to noon

Funding Peer, Kyle Crocco
Tuesday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Thursday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Writing Peer, Ryan Dippre
Monday: 1:30 to 4 p.m.
Tuesday: 9 to 11 a.m., 1:30 to 4:30 p.m.
Wednesday: 1:30 to 4 p.m.

Communications Peer, Melissa Rapp
Monday: 1 to 5 p.m.
Thursday: 2 to 4 p.m.

The peers sometimes hold events or attend meetings during their regular office hours. To assure you connect with your Graduate Peer Advisor, we encourage you to contact them by email and make an appointment.


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Grad Slam Round 6 Recap: Hope, Humanity, and Greatness

Haddy Kreie answers a question from the audience while the other Round 6 contestants look on. Credit: Patricia Marroquin

Here’s what you missed on Wednesday afternoon’s Grad Slam Round 6 in the McCune conference room. Eight of UCSB’s best and brightest talked about hope, humanity, and greatness in the fields of education, psychology, anthropology, theatre and dance, engineering, and biology – and they did it in only three minutes each! 

Round 6 presenters included, clockwise from top left: Lauren Smyth; Haddy Kreie; Ana Elisa Garcia-Vedrenne; and Mario Galicia. Credit: Patricia MarroquinThe presenters and their topics:

  • Mario Galicia, Education: “'Pushed Out’ and ‘Pulled In’: Institutional Bridging for Marginalized Students”
  • Ana Elisa Garcia-Vedrenne, Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology: “Snail Parasites and Warrior Worms” 
  • Haddy Kreie, Theater and Dance: “Is Blackness Trauma?: Racial Discourse, Trauma Theory, and Vodun Aesthetics”
  • Joshua Kuntzman, Education: “Do You See Why I Love This Subject?': Educational Dialog and the Importance of Real Human Teachers”
  • Sabrina Liu, Counseling, Clinical, and School Psychology: “The Power of Hope: First-Year Students' Adjustment to College Amidst Tragedy”
  • Lakshmanan Nataraj, Electrical and Computer Engineering: “Photographing Computer Programs to Identify Malicious Software”
  • Lauren Smyth, Anthropology: “Aspiring Towards Greatness: (Re)Presenting Muslim Identity in the American Urban Environment”
  • Erik Spickard, Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology: “Gonads to Guts: Reprogramming an Organ in the Nematode C. elegans”

And the Round 6 winners are ...

Judges’ Selections: Joshua Kuntzman and Erik Spickard

People’s Choice: Lakshamanan Nataraj and Sabrina Liu

Ryan’s Selections:

  • Most Depressing Flow Chart in an Opening Slide: Mario Galicia
  • Most Convincing Reason to Never, Ever, Ever Get in the Ocean Again: Ana Elisa Garcia-Vedrenne
  • Best Breakdown and Explanation of a Theory: Haddy Kreie
  • Most References to School of Rock: Joshua Kuntzman
  • Best Use of “First World Problems” Meme: Sabrina Liu
  • Most Pictures of the Statue of Liberty: Lakshmanan Nataraj
  • Best Scarf: Lauren Smyth
  • Best Pronunciation of "Transorganogenesis": Erik Spickard

Joshua, Erik, Lakshamanan, and Sabrina will advance to the Semifinals next week.

The winners of Grad Slam Round 6 are, from left, Erik Spickard (Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology); Sabrina Liu (Counseling, Clinical, and School Psychology); Lakshamanan Nataraj (Electrical and Computer Engineering); and Joshua Kuntzman (Education). Credit: Patricia Marroquin


Grad Slam Round 5 Recap: Mobile Technologies, Mussels, and Bomb Sensors

Matthew Gebbie, third from right, answers a question from the audience while the other Round 5 competitors listen. Credit: Patricia Marroquin

Here’s what you missed at Round 5 (aka "The Life-Saving Round") of UCSB's 2015 Grad Slam on Wednesday morning in the Student Resource Building's Multipurpose Room. Eight presenters wowed us with their timely and perfectly timed research, which included topics such as Endangered Languages, Disappearing Frogs, and an Artificial Pancreas. While each presenter went away with an Official Grad Slam T-Shirt, only three graduate students earned a gift card and an invite to the Semifinals.

Round 5 presenters included, clockwise from top: Dibella Wdzenczny; Andrew Johnson; Faye Walker; Lily Li; and Andrea Adams. Credit: Patricia MarroquinThe presenters and their topics:

  • Andrea Adams, Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology: “Solving the Mystery of Southern California’s Vanishing Frogs: Looking to the Past for Evidence of Disease” 
  • David Copp, Mechanical Engineering: “Closing the Loop: Engineering an Artificial Pancreas”
  • Matthew Gebbie, Materials: “Simplifying Nature's Invention: Engineering Mussel Proteins into Biomedical Glues”
  • Abel Gustafson, Communication: “Predicting Election Outcomes using Wikipedia”
  • Andrew Johnson, Political Science: “Hegel’s Polizei: Between Security and Welfare”
  • Lily Li, Mechanical Engineering: “Enhance Mass Sensing Using Nonlinearity” 
  • UCSB Chancellor Henry Yang's wife, Dilling, signs in before the start of Round 5. Credit: Patricia MarroquinFaye Walker, Chemistry and Biochemistry: “The Uberification of Genetic Testing”
  • Dibella Wdzenczny, Linguistics: “I Can Chat Ya in Kamchatka”

And the Round 5 winners are ...

Judges' Selections: David Copp and Matthew Gebbie

People's Choice: Abel Gustafson

Shawn's Selections:

  • Best Slide Reveal: Abel Gustafson
  • Best Use of Video: Lily Li
  • Best Prop: Faye Walker (cell phone)
  • Best Use of a Foreign Language: Dibella Wdzenczny

Abel, David, and Matthew will advance to the Semifinals, which will be held at the beginning of next week.

Winners of Round 5 are, from left, Abel Gustafson (Communication); David Copp (Mechanical Engineering); and Matthew Gebbie (Materials). Credit: Patricia Marroquin


Grad Students Enjoy Happy Hours at UCSB Library’s Wine and Cheese Reception

The crowd enjoyed cheese, fruit, wine, and good company at the reception. Credit: Patricia MarroquinBlue tickets were a hot commodity on Monday at the Library’s Wine and Cheese Reception in Davidson Library’s Mary Cheadle Room. This year, students received two tickets to claim their glasses of wine. As usual, there was plenty of cheese, crackers, and fruit; and plenty of students to consume them. The estimated crowd of about 125 people went through 48 bottles of red and white wine, according to the library.

The snacks were in abundance at a long table inside Mary Cheadle Room on the third floor of the library. Library staff members Richard Caldwell and Heather Nisen poured the vino out on the balcony.

The reception is one of several events in the Graduate Student Showcase, a two-week celebration of UCSB graduate students and their important work. Upcoming events include the GSA’s Bagel Hour on Wednesday, April 8, from 8:15 to 11:15 a.m.; and an Open Mic night, also on April 8, at Mosher Alumni House from 5 to 7 p.m. For more information, visit the GradPost’s Graduate Student Showcase page or download the Whova app.

View our musical photo slide show of the Library Wine and Cheese Reception below.

Scenes from the Library's Wine and Cheese Reception. Credit: Patricia Marroquin


Grad Slam Round 4 Recap: Big Data, Microscopic Plants, and Grit

Patrick Hall, second from left, answers a question while the other Round 4 Grad Slam presenters look on. Credit: Patricia Marroquin

Here’s what you missed at Round 4 (aka "The Funny Round") of UCSB's 2015 Grad Slam on Tuesday afternoon in the Davidson Library's Pacific View Room. Nine presenters with nothing to lose and everything to gain traded timed talks on tantalizing topics, which included Big Data, Microscopic Plants, and Grit. In the end, only three graduate students prevailed to snag a gift card and an invite to a Semifinal showdown.

Clockwise from top: Patrick Hall, Taylor Damiani, Melissa Alcorn, Caleb Miller, Cameron Sublett, and Tanika Ladd. Credit: Patricia MarroquinThe presenters and their topics:

  • Melissa Alcorn, Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology: “Big Data, Tiny Worm: Building a Practical Model for Personalized Medicine” 
  • Taylor Damiani, Counseling, Clinical, and School Psychology: “Grit: The Hidden Quality That Makes Winners Succeed”
  • Patrick Hall, Linguistics: “A California Language You Should Know About”
  • Tanika Ladd, Marine Science: “The Ocean's Chalk Factory - How Microscopic Plants Control the Earth's Carbon Cycle”
  • Caleb Miller, Political Science: “How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Post-Democracy”
  • Jessica Perkins, Bren School of Environmental Science and Management: “Life Cycle Assessment & Decision Making - Finding a Solution, Not Just Changing the Problem”
  • Celeste Pilegard, Psychological and Brain Sciences: “What Can We Learn From Video Games?”
  • Ken Sterling, Education: “Imagine a Reality TV Show with a Boss Handing a Scan-Tron Form to an Employee”
  • Cameron Sublett, Education: “Does Community College Online Course Enrollment Impair Student Success?”

And the Round 4 winners are ... 

Jessica Perkins and the pen. Credit: Patricia MarroquinJudges' Selections: Celeste Pilegard and Jessica Perkins.

People's Choice: Ken Sterling.

Kyle's Selections:

  • Best Joke (Tie): Patrick Hall (Uber) and Celeste Pilegard (Tetris)
  • Best Prop: Jessica Perkins (pen)
  • Best Quote: Ken Sterling
  • Funniest Visual: Caleb Miller
  • Most Dynamic: Cameron Sublett

Celeste, Jessica, and Ken will all move on to the Semifinals. Keep the faith, my friends!

The Round 4 Grad Slam winners are, from left, Ken Sterling, Jessica Perkins, and Celeste Pilegard. Credit: Patricia Marroquin


Grad Slam Recap Round 3: Geckos, Bleeding, and Short-Term Memory

The Round 3 speakers answered questions from the audience while the judges deliberated. Credit: Patricia Marroquin

Here’s what you missed at Round 3 (aka "The Reptile Round") of UCSB's 2015 Grad Slam on Tuesday morning in ESB 1001. Six presenters faced off on a rousing range of topics, which included geckos, bleeding, and short-term, uhm, memory, I think. At the end, only three were left standing with a gift card in hand and an invitation to a Semifinal confrontation.

Clockwise from top left: Rachel Levinson-Emley; Casey Garrett; the Round 3 judges with Associate Dean Karen Myers; and Heather Simpson. Credit: Patricia MarroquinThe presenters and their topics:

  • Jamie Booth, Mechanical Engineering: “Gecko-Inspired Adhesive Materials”
  • Casey Garrett, Bren School of Environmental Science and Management: “Water Matters: Evaluating Water-Related Risk in a Pharmaceutical Supply Chain”
  • Richard Huskey, Communication: “Using Brains to Change Minds”
  • Rachel Levinson-Emley, English: “Bleeding to Heal: Wounds and Intersubjectivity from Medieval Romance to Today”
  • Heather Simpson, Linguistics: “Remember These 3 to 5 Things: How the Rhythm and Pitch of the Voice Defines the Limits of Short-Term Memory”
  • Mary Toothman, Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology: “In the Water or in the Genes? What Makes an Infectious Disease Deadly (or Not)?

And the Round 3 winners are …

Judges' Selections: Jamie Booth and Mary Toothman.

People's Choice: Richard Huskey

Kyle's Selections:

  • Best Accent: Jamie Booth
  • Best Images: Rachel Levinson-Emley
  • Best Slide Reveal: Mary Toothman
  • Funniest: Heather Simpson

Jamie Booth, Mary Toothman, and Richard Huskey will all move on to the Semifinals. Good luck, my friends!

Round 3 winners are, from left, Richard Huskey, Jamie Booth, and Mary Toothman. Credit: Patricia Marroquin


Grad Slam Round 2 Recap: Topics Include 'The HEROES Project' and Groundbreaking Birth Defect Research

Grad Slam Round 2 participants take questions from the audience after their presentations. Credit: Patricia Marroquin

This afternoon's Grad Slam featured six contenders, all presenting to a standing room only audience. The Grad Slam 2015 buzz is indeed building! We learned about research on birth defects, empathy-based intervention, linguistic revivals, computer hardware protection, global teenage pregnancy, and improving educational engagement.
Round 2 speakers included, clockwise from top right, Lisa McAllister, Nicole Lesperance, and Micaela Morgan. Top left, Associate Dean Bruce Kendall congratulates Sarah Abdul-Wajid. Credit: Patricia MarroquinThe presenters and their topics:
  • Sarah Abdul-Wajid, Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology: “Using Sea Squirts to Find New Genetic Factors Controlling Birth Defects”
  • Aileen Fullchange, Counseling, Clinical, and School Psychology: “The HEROES Project”
  • Daniel Hieber, Linguistics: “Renaissance on the Bayou: Reviving the Chitimacha Language”
  • Nicole Lesperance, Electrical and Computer Engineering: “Preventing Hardware Trojan Horses”
  • Lisa McAllister, Anthropology: “Who Reaps the Rewards and Who Pays the Costs of Adolescent Reproduction: Insights from the Bolivian Amazon”
  • Micaela Morgan, Education: “Improving STEM Engagement of Students in the 2-Year to 4-Year Higher Education Pipeline”

And the Round 2 winners are ...

Judges' Selections: Daniel Hieber and Sarah Abdul-Wajid.

People's Choice: Aileen Fullchange.

Daniel Hieber is helping a Bayou tribe revive the Chitimacha language, even down to developing educational software!

Sarah Abdul-Wajid works on brain defects in human and frog embryos. Her research provides insight into why one in 1,000 human embryos develop a certain brain defect and how science may help control it in the future. She opened with a Kim Kardashian family slide, and nicely tied in her microscopic research, humorously dubbing it as her "own reality TV."

Aileen Fullchange shared her insight from her work on "The HEROES Project." She told us about her former life as a middle school teacher, and her desire to help her students feel less angry, and more cooperative. She sees empathy as the solution. Her preliminary findings show increased empathy and prosocial behaviors, and decreased anger and aggression.

An excellent afternoon of Grad Slam 2015! Be sure to attend the next round (Round 3) on Tuesday at the Engineering Science Building, Room 1001, from 11 a.m. to noon. The full Grad Slam 2015 schedule can be found here.

Round 2 winners are, from left, Aileen Fullchange; Sarah Abdul-Wajid; and Daniel Hieber. Credit: Patricia Marroquin


Grad Slam Round 1 Recap: Topics Range from Climate Change to Text Communication

Grad Slam Round 1 competitors answer questions from the audience while the judges deliberated. Credit: Patricia Marroquin

UCSB's 2015 Grad Slam kicked off Monday morning at the SRB with six fascinating presentations. Audience members learned about a range of topics, including nitrogen runoff, kelp forests, salt marshes, text messaging, transistors, and Japanese literacy. And the Grad Slam saw its first People's Choice Award winner. What a way to begin a Monday!

Round 1 presenters Erika I-Tremblay; Aubrie Adams; and Hung Phan presented their 3-minute talks. Credit: Patricia Marroquin

The presenters and their topics:

  • Aubrie Adams, Communication: “Adaptation in T3xt Communication”
  • Alexa Fredston-Hermann, Bren School of Environmental Science and Management: “A Conceptual Framework for Understanding the Relative Impact of Nitrogen Runoff on Coastal Ecosystems”
  • Umihiko Hoshijima, Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology: “Kelp Forests on Acid: Local Climate Change Mitigation in a Changing Ocean”
  • Erika I-Tremblay, Education: “Literacy in Japanese Higher Education”
  • Hung Phan, Chemistry and Biochemistry: “Charge Transport in High-Mobility Organic Thin-Film Transistors: Jet-Skiing or Hopping?”
  • Laura Reynolds, Earth Science: “Memories in Mud: How Marshes Tell Us about Past, Present, and Future Sea-Level Change”

And the Round 1 winners are ...

Judges' Selections: Laura Reynolds and Alexa Fredston-Hermann.

People's Choice: Umihiko Hoshijima.

Umihiko took the audience into our local kelp forests, showing video of himself diving and running an experiment. He is constructing a lab system that can independently manipulate the pH of water, in hopes of understanding the relationship between water chemistry, kelp forest health, and climate change.

Laura, Alexa, and Umihiko will all move on to the Semifinals. Congratulations, grad students!

Round 1 winners are, from left, Alexa Fredston-Hermann, Umihiko Hoshijima, and Laura Reynolds. Credit: Patricia Marroquin


People’s Choice, Customized Scheduling, and Social Media Integration: What’s New At Grad Slam

At this year’s Grad Slam, we will be premiering lots of exciting new elements to make the event more interactive and participatory. Read on to find out more!

People’s Choice

Credit: Keith IveyDuring each of the preliminary rounds (April 6-9), attendees will have the chance to vote for their favorite presenter via anonymous ballots. The winner of the People’s Choice from each prelim round will advance to a special semi-finals round, where they will compete against other People’s Choice winners for two slots in the final round on Friday, April 17. So mark your calendars now to come out and support your favorite presenters in the prelims!

Whova Event App

This year we are using Whova (pronounced HOO-vuh), a conference management and networking app, to house all of the schedule information for the Grad Slam. (You can download Whova from the App Store or Google Play. If you are asked to enter an event-specific passcode, use gradslam.) Sign in with your social media account or email in order to:

  • Get a complete list of the rounds and presenters, as well as information on Graduate Student Showcase events
  • Customize your event schedule to show the sessions you're interested in going to
  • Tweet and upload event photos
  • Receive real-time notifications about schedule changes from organizers

Social Media

Use the hashtags #gradslam and #ucsbgradslam to promote the UCSB Grad Slam on social media and connect with others at events. #gradslam will also be the hashtag of choice at the May 4th UC-wide Grad Slam, which will feature the grand prize winner from UCSB’s Grad Slam and will be live-streamed at UCSB.


Grad Slam Presentations Preview: Winning Titles, Dates, and Times

Grad Slam logoMark your calendars for some great Grad Slam presentations taking place all over campus from April 6-9.

Watch as Grad Students meet the challenge of presenting their research clearly and concisely in three minutes or less with only three static PowerPoint slides.

Can they do it? Find out by attending.

For a complete list of worthy contenders, talk titles, meeting locations, and times, check out the competition schedule.

No one is a winner yet, but for me this year's best titles are...

Best Sci-Fi Movie Title: "Snail Parasites and Warrior Worms." By Ana Elisa Garcia-Vedrenne, Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology.

Best Conundrum Title:“Using Brains to Change Minds.” By Richard Huskey, Communication.

Best Tongue Twister Title: "I Can Chat Ya in Kamchatka." By Dibella Wdzenczny, Linguistics.

Best Pop-Culture Title: Tie

“Killing Me Softly with Antibiotics." By Selvi Ersoy, Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology.

"How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Post-Democracy." By Caleb Miller, Political Science.

Most Intriguing Title:"“Why Study Snow from the Beach?” By William Brandt, Bren School of Environmental Science and Management.

Most URGENT Title:"Generating and Using Aryl Grignard Reagents in Water, ONLY Water." By Anish Bhattacharjya, Chemistry and Biochemistry.


Preview of Spring 2015 Professional Development Programming

As you lounge at your spring break location of choice (whether it be a beach in Cozumel, your own couch, or - more likely - a corner in the library), grab your calendar and save the date for these upcoming professional development opportunities in the Spring 2015 quarter. Note: All dates and times subject to change. Be sure to subscribe to The GradPost to receive the most up-to-date information on programming and events for graduate students.


Presentation Workshop
Who: Ryan Dippre (Writing Peer) and Shawn Warner-Garcia (Professional Development Peer)
When: Wednesday, April 1, noon-2 p.m.
Where: SRB Multipurpose Room

Graduate Student Showcase and Grad Slam
: UCSB Graduate Students
When: April 6-17
Where: Various locations (check schedule for more details)

Versatile Ph.D. Workshop
: Shawn Warner-Garcia (Professional Development Peer)
When: Friday, May 1, 11-11:30 a.m.
Where: Career Services, Career Resource Room 

Graduate Student Career Series: The Non-Academic Resume and Cover Letter
: John Coate (Career Services Graduate Student Services Coordinator)
When: Tuesday, May 5, noon-1 p.m.
Where: SRB Multipurpose Room 

Credit: redspottedWorkshop on Turning Course Papers into Publications
: Ryan Dippre (Writing Peer) and Shawn Warner-Garcia (Professional Development Peer)
: Wednesday, May 6, 3:30-4:30 p.m.
: SRB Multipurpose Room

Academic Publishing Panel Discussion
In partnership with UCSB Department of Chicana/Chicano Studies
: Nayan Shah (University of Southern California, Editor of GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies) and 2-3 UCSB faculty members
When: Monday, May 11, time TBA
Where: TBA

UCSB Beyond Academia Conference
: UCSB Graduate Students
When: Friday, May 15, 8:00 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
Where: Loma Pelona

Credit: Automotive Social Digital Reputation Workshop
: Shawn Warner-Garcia (Professional Development Peer)
: Wednesday, May 20, 11 a.m.-noon
: SRB Multipurpose Room

Graduate Student Career Series: Optimizing LinkedIn in Developing Your Career
: John Coate (Career Services Graduate Student Services Coordinator)
When: Wednesday, May 20, 4:30-5:30 p.m.
Where: Career Services, Career Resource Room

Workshop on CVs and Cover Letters for the Academic Job Search
: Ryan Dippre (Writing Peer) and Shawn Warner-Garcia (Professional Development Peer)
When: Friday, May 22, 1-3 p.m.
Where: SRB Multipurpose Room


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