Grad Slam

Grad Slam - 1000 a minute

Grad Slam is scheduled for Spring 2021. More information will become available in December 2020 and January 2021. The following information is from the original Spring 2020 event.

    Grad Slam is a campus-wide competition for the best 3-minute graduate student presentation of a research or creative project. It is an excellent opportunity for students to enhance their communication skills and is an effective way of showcasing to the UA community and the public the innovative research and creative work associated with graduate education at the UA.

    All disciplines are encouraged to participate. All talks must be live oral presentations. And did we mention that presenters could win an award of $3000?

    Registration links for the competition, information sessions, and workshops are available at The registration deadline for the competition is extended to 11:59 PM, March 16, 2020.

    Use the links below to learn more about the competition.Femail student presenting on stage

    Grad Slam is hosted by the Graduate College's Graduate Center, and the Graduate and Professional Student Council.

    Grad Slam is sponsored by the Office of Research, Innovation, and Impact, the University or Arizona Libraries, the Agnese Nelms Haury Program in Environment and Social Justice, and the Arizona Institutes for Resilient Environment and Societies.

    Want to sponsor Grad Slam (an award area or the event itself) or have additional questions? Contact David Bradshaw at for more information.

    Dates and Schedule

    April 1, 2020, to April 16, 2020

    • Preliminary Rounds: April 1 and 2, Student Union Tubac and Presidio Rooms (4th Floor), 1303 E University Blvd., 9 AM to 5:45 PM
    • Semifinal Rounds: April 9, Student Union Kiva Auditorim, 1303 E University Blvd., 9 AM to 3:15 PM
    • Final Round followed by reception: April 16, Student Union South Ballroom, 1303 E University Blvd, 6 PM (doors open at 5:30 PM)

    List of Presenters

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    Grad Slam Awards

    Female student presenting from a podium on stageGrand Prizes, sponsored by the Office of Research, Innovation, and Impact:

    • 1st Place Prize: $3000
    • 2nd Place Prize: $2000
    • 3rd Place Prize: $1000

    Themed Awards:

    Best Environmental Presentation, sponsored by the Arizona Institutes for Resilient Environment and Societies: $1,000

    To be considered for this award, your presentation should address environmental challenges in Arizona and around the planet as it relates to your project. Examples include, but are not limited to, community resilience to impacts of climate change, artistic expression of environmental knowledge, environmental communication, and environmental stewardship.

    Best College of Science Student Presentation, sponsored by the College of Science: $1,000

    To be considered for this award, you need to have a primary affiliation with a College of Science graduate program, and be presenting a project on any topic in science. Students pursuing dual-degrees in graduate programs in the College of Science are also eligible for this award.

    Most Improved Environment and Social Justice Presentation, sponsored by the Agnese Nelms Haury Program: $1,000

    To be considered for this award, your presentation should address the intersection of social justice and environmental justice as related to your project. Social justice components in a project include active community voice and engagement, with project direction informed by the community, and the community engaged as an equal partner (i.e. research with the community, not on the community.) Social Justice often refers to ways of addressing challenges that individuals or groups face concerning inequality created through the distribution of resources, whether physical or cultural. Talks under this category include social justice (justice regarding the distribution of financial, social, political and human capital, opportunities, and privileges within a society) while simultaneously addressing environmental sustainability (such as climate change, pollution, natural resource degradation, and loss of biodiversity).


    PLEASE NOTE: All Grad Slam awards are in compliance with Affordable Care Act rules. The awards are not counted toward work hours, and will be given to the winners either by check or disbursed through the winners' bursar accounts.


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    Competition Format

    Grad Slam is a tournament style competition. Students initially present in the preliminary rounds. Two students from each of the preliminary rounds will be selected to move to the semi-finals. Then, the top three students from the semi-final rounds are selected to present in the Final Round for the grand prizes.

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    • All graduate students may compete
    • All presentations must be three minutes long or less
    • Students may present on original research or creative projects they are conducting for a thesis, dissertation, terminal project, or any other project they are working on. The project can focus on the development of new ideas, methods, or products, or it may focus on the application and revision of current methods or models. Student artists should focus on how their creative work applies to the broader exchange of ideas and the role the creative work plays in providing new perspective or in changing attitudes.
    • Presentations are to be spoken word oral presentations. Poems, raps, and songs in place of spoken word is not allowed, although an excerpt as part of the presentation is permitted.
    • Presentations may use supporting materials. If using slides, only 6 slides or less may be used, including the title slide. Slides must be in PowerPoint or PDF formats.
    • No additional props (e.g. costumes, musical instruments, laboratory equipment) are permitted.
    • Audio and video is permissible, but judging emphasis will be on the presentation.
    • Presentations are to commence from the stage.
    • Presentations are considered to have commenced when a presenter starts their presentation through either movement or speech.
    • The decision of the adjudicating panel is final.
    • Previous 1st Place Winners of Grad Slam may not compete in subsequent Grad Slam competitions

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    Judging Criteria and Scorecard

    Prominent members of the University and Tucson community will serve as judges. Presenters will be evaluated on their ability to convey in a compelling fashion the value of their research or creative work to a non-specialist audience within the 3-minute time limit. Please download the Grad Slam Scorecard for more details.

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    Inspiration for UArizona Grad Slam

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    Last updated 11 Sep 2020