UA Grad Slam

Grad Slam - 1000 a minute

Grad Slam 2020 information to be announced late Fall 2019 and early Spring 2020.


Final Round Update! The Finals went fantastic. City of Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild, Senior VP for UA Marketing and Communications Steve Moore, and Arizona Humanities Executive Director Brenda Thomson were our august judge panel. This year's grand prize winners are:

  • 1st Place: Diana Githu, School of Natural Resources and the Environment
  • 2nd Place: Jonathan Credo, Clinical Translational Sciences
  • 3rd Place: Lauren Meeks, Department of Nutritional Sciences

In addition to the Grand Prizes, the themed awards were announced:

  • The Institute of the Environment​'s Best Environmental Presentation was awarded to Hadiqa Maqsood from Biosystems Engineering, a program in the UA College of Engineering​
  • The Agnese Nelms Haury Program in Environment and Social Justice​'s Best Environment and Social Justice Presentation was awarded to Diana Githu from SNRE
  • The College of Science's Best College of Science Student Presentation was awarded to Jane Bright from University of Arizona Department of Astronomy and Steward Observatory​

Lastly, the winners of the Grad Slam Performing and Creative Arts Competition had the opportunity to perform during the Final Round. The performers and the title of their pieces are listed below.

  • Victoria Arredondo and community dancers, Special Education, Department of Disability and Psychoeducational Studies, College of Education, Performance Title: Interspace
  • Antonio Coronado, Department of Communication, College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Performance Title: Lost in Transit
  • Francis Larson, Second Language Acquisition and Teaching Graduate Interdisciplinary Program, Graduate College, Performance Title: Masculinity in C#, 1st Movement - “Love”
  • Jacob Ransom, Percussion Performance, Fred Fox School of Music, and Emigdio Arredondo, Dance, College of Fine Arts, Performance Title: Last Night on Mars



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?

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 2019 Sponsors: UA Office of Research, Discovery, and Innovation (RDI), University of Arizona LibrariesUA College of Science, UA Institute of the Environment, and the Agnese Nelms Haury Program in Environment and Social Justice.

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, 2019, to April 2, 2019

  • Preliminary Rounds: March 19 and 20, Student Union Kachina Lounge, 9 AM to 5:45 PM
  • Semifinal Rounds: March 27, ENR2 Bldg., Room S107, 1064 E Lowell Street, 9 AM to 1:15 PM
  • Final Round followed by reception: April 2, Stevie Eller Dance Theatre, 1737 E University Blvd, 5:30 PM to 7:00 PM

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.

NOTE: Themed Awards information is in the process of being updated as of October 24, 2018

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.

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 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. 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 visual representation of their areas of interest. It can be used to help determine if your project is suitable for their themed 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.

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.
  • 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

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 Scorecard for more details.

Return to top


Return to top

Inspiration for UA Grad Slam

Return to top

Last updated 14 Oct 2019