UA Grad Slam

Grad Slam - 1000 a minute

Congratulations to our Grad Slam 2018 Grand Prize and Themed Award Winners! Videos of the finalists will be available soon.

  • 1st Place Grand Prize Winner: Lusine Gomtsian, Medical Pharmacology, for her presentation "The Opioid Crisis: Exploring the brain for solutions"
  • 2nd Place Grand Prize Winner: Travis Sawyer, Optical Sciences, for his presentation "Uncovering the spectral fingerprint of disease"
  • 3rd Place Grand Prize Winner: Valerie Madera-Garcia, Epidemiology, for her presentation "Unexpected visitors in septic tanks"
  • People Choice Award: Travis Sawyer, Optical Sciences
  • Grand Prize Honorable Mention: Yiyi Huang, Atmospheric Sciences, for her presentation "Artic sea ice decline: what, why and what next?"
  • Best College of Science Student Presenation Award: Jennifer Duchschere, Psychology, for her presentation "Get out and stay out! A novel intervention in the juvenile justice system"
  • Best Environment and Social Justice Presentation Award: Jennifer Duchschere, Psychology
  • Best Environmental Presentation Award: Valerie Madera-Garcia, Epidemiology

The Grand Prize Winners and the Honorable mention will represent the University of Arizona on April 28 in Phoenix, Arizona, at the regional Southwest Showdown: 3-Minute Grad Slam.

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 as well as a chance to compete at the regional Southwest Showdown: 3-Minute Grad Slam?

Use the links below to learn more about the competition.Femail student presenting on stage Registration to participate is now closed.

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

Grad Slam 2018 Sponsors: Office for Research, Discovery, and Innovation, University Libraries, the Institute of the Environment, the Agnese Nelms Haury Program in Environment and Social Justice, and the College of Science.

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

March 19, 2018, to April 3, 2018

  • Preliminary Rounds: March 19 - March 23, Student Union Memorial Center, Copper Room and, for Friday only, Science-Engineering Library Room 311
    • Morning Heats - 11 AM to 12 PM
    • Afternoon Heats - 1 PM to 2 PM
  • Semifinal Rounds: March 28, Old Main, Silver and Sage Room
    • Morning Heat - 11 AM to 12 PM
    • Afternoon Heat - 1 PM to 2 PM
  • Final Round followed by reception: April 3, 5:30 PM, Stevie Eller Dance Theatre (1737 E University Blvd.)

List of Presenters

Return to top

Grad Slam Awards

Female student presenting from a podium on stageGrand Prizes sponsored by UA office for Research, Discovery, and Innovation:

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

Themed Awards:

Themed Awards are offered in addition to the grand prizes. Competitors can win a themed award along with a grand prize. Please read on for more information about eligibility for each award.

Best Environmental Presentation, sponsored by the UA Institute of the Environment: $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, climate science, artistic dissemination of environmental knowledge, and environmental stewardship.

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

To be considered for this award, your presentation should address social justice concerns as related to your project. 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. Examples include, but are not limited to, developing of best practices for community engagement, addressing questions of equity for underrepresented groups in society, exploring the role of demographic markers in the provision of goods and services, and the confluence of economic and environmental factors on social issues. The Haury Program often uses the Southwest Sustainability Doughnut (southwest_sustainability_doughnut.pdf) as a a visual representation of their areas of interest. It can be used to help determine if your project is suitable for their themed award.

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.

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.


Return to top

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. The top four finalists will qualify to compete in a regional event hosted by the University of Arizona, Northern Arizona University, and University of Nevada, Las Vegas, in Phoenix on April 28, 2018.

Return to top


  • 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. 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.
  • Audio and video is permissible, but judging emphasis will be on the presentation
  • Previous 1st Place Winners of Grad Slam may not compete in subsequent Grad Slam competitions

Return to top

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 Judge Criteria and the Grad Slam Scorecard for more details.

Return to top


Return to top

Inspiration for UA Grad Slam

Return to top

Last updated 4 Apr 2018