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Graduate Peers' Schedules

Winter 2016
Peer Advisor Availability

Writing Peer
Kyle Crocco

Mon: 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Tue: 10 a.m.-noon
Wed: 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Thu: 10 a.m.-noon

Funding Peer
Stephanie Griffin
Mon: 10 a.m.-noon
Wed: noon-2 p.m.

Diversity Peer
Ana Romero

Mon: noon-2 p.m.
Wed: 11 a.m.-1 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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Entries in competition (4)

Tuesday
Feb162016

Registration Now Open for 2016 Grad Slam Competition

UCSB's Grad Slam competition is back, and it's better than ever! Here's what you need to know and how you can sign up to participate in this year's competition, scheduled for April 4-15.

What is the Grad Slam?

Launched in 2013, Grad Slam is an award-winning campus-wide competition for the best three-minute talk by a graduate student. Participants are judged on the basis of having a clear and effective presentation that is geared for a general university audience and has demonstrable intellectual significance.

Why should I compete?

For fortune and fame, of course! This year, we're giving away more than $15,000 in cash and prizes, including a Grand Prize of $5,000. Plus, the winner will get to compete in a UC-wide Grad Slam competition for the chance to win even more money!

I'm intrigued, but I need a snazzy video to entice me more.

Here you go!

I'm sold. Where do I sign up?

Glad you asked! Click here to fill out the registration form. The deadline to sign up is Friday, March 11. (Note: this is an extension of the original deadline of March 4.)

OK, I signed up. Now what?

We will be launching the 2016 Grad Slam page soon, but in the meantime you can check out previous years' competitions for more information. And be sure to stay tuned to The GradPost for more information on workshops, resources, and more to help you craft and refine your presentation. If you have questions, you can email Robert Hamm.

Wednesday
Feb112015

Registration Now Open for the 2015 Grad Slam Competition

UCSB's Grad Slam competition is back, and it's better than ever! Here's what you need to know and how you can sign up to participate in this year's competition, scheduled for April 6 to 17.

What is the Grad Slam?

Launched in 2013, Grad Slam is an award-winning campus-wide competition for the best three-minute research talk by a graduate student. Participants are judged on the basis of having a clear and effective presentation that is geared for a general university audience and has demonstrable intellectual significance.

Why should I compete?

For fortune and fame, of course! This year, we're giving away more than $13,000 in cash and prizes, including a Grand Prize of $5,000. Plus, the winner will get to compete in an inaugural UC-wide Grad Slam competition for the chance to win even more money!

I'm intrigued, but I need a snazzy video to entice me more.

Here you go!

I'm sold. Where do I sign up?

Glad you asked! Click here to fill out the registration form. The deadline to sign up is Friday, March 13. (Note: deadline extended from original date of March 6.)

OK, I signed up. Now what?

Check out the 2015 Grad Slam page here, and stay tuned to The GradPost for more information on workshops, resources, and more to help you craft and refine your presentation.

Wednesday
Apr092014

Grad Slam Round Five Recap: Sex, Drugs, and Lasers 

Winners of Grad Slam Round Five, who will go on to the Semifinals, are: Leah Kuritzky of Materials, left, and Audrey Harkness of Counseling, Clinical, and School Psychology. Credit: Patricia Marroquin

Wednesday, April 9, 11 a.m. to noon, Student Resource Building, Multipurpose Room.

Roxanna Quach of Graduate Division helped audience members sign in. Several dozen people attended. Credit: Patricia MarroquinHere is what you may have missed at the fifth round of the Grad Slam.


Overview

The Grad Slam features 3-minute presentations of student research. 

The top two presenters from the preliminary round advance to the Semifinal round (and the top four receive $50 gift cards for the UCSB bookstore).


Kyle’s Picks

Best Dressed: Kyle Ploense

Best Preliminary Round: Round Five (eight really good short talks and visuals)

Best Visuals: Audrey Harkness

Fastest: Elizabeth Mainz (2:33)

Funniest: Leah Kuritzky


Leah Kuritzky gives a laser light bulb demonstration. Credit: Patricia MarroquinJudges’ Picks

Audrey Harkness (advances to Semifinal round)

Leah Kuritzky (advances to Semifinal round)

Hannah Kallewaard

Lisa McAllister


Presentation Summaries


Hyperspectral Remote Sensing of Giant Kelp
, Thomas Bell, Marine Science

Thomas explained that hyperspectral remote sensing is much more advanced than multispectral scanning, allowing researchers to measure more data. Changes in coastal ecosystems affect kelp. By measuring kelp, we can measure changes in the ecosystems and its effects.

Having “The Talk”: The Importance of Parent-Child Communication about Sexual Orientation in the Development of Youth Sexual Orientation Attitudes and Behaviors, Audrey Harkness, Counseling, Clinical, and School Psychology

Audrey talked about teens’ attitudes toward lesbians, gays, and bisexuals. Parents have an effect on these teen attitudes. She plans to determine empirically if parents’ messages about sexual orientation affect teen attitudes about sexual orientation. Audrey will interview parents and children and see if there is cause and effect. She will then develop workshops to help parents talk about sexual orientation.

Kyle Ploense joined the other Grad Slam Round Five competitors in answering questions while the judges deliberated. Credit: Patricia Marroquin

I Know How You Feel: Literature and the Experience of Empathy, Shay Hopkins, English

Hannah Kallewaard, left, answers a question from the audience. Credit: Patricia MarroquinShay explained that when we read a word such as “coffee,” our brain reacts like we smell coffee. Initially, brains do not distinguish between idea and experience. Reading fiction allows emotional growth and increase our ability to empathize with others.

Electrochemical Sensors for Rapid and Inexpensive Pathogen Detection, Hannah Kallewaard, Chemistry and Biochemistry

Hannah showed that there are way too many steps to test blood – from a blood test request to reporting those test results to a patient. While annoying to people in rich countries, this is a more serious issue in areas with few resources. Hannah is developing a device to detect pathogens and do a test that takes 15 minutes, costs 10 cents, uses only a drop of blood, can perform up to six tests at once, and which you don’t need skilled technicians to process.

Focused, Efficient, and Bright: The Promise of Laser Lighting, Leah Kuritzky, Materials

Leah said lasers can be used to solve the energy crisis. Twenty-two percent of our energy use goes to lighting, she said. The current state of art is the LED lightbulb, but as we increase LED efficiency, the lighting level drops. So how can you get high brightness, high efficiency, and low cost? Lasers. Her research is focused on the atomic scale to improve efficiency, so that in the future we can reduce energy consumption and light the world.

Teachers’ Beliefs about Language: Gaining Positive Perspectives, Elizabeth Mainz, Education

Elizabeth explained we have 4.5 million students in English language programs. Unfortunately, these students are marginalized because of their language. Teachers can change this paradigm. Elizabeth will look at teachers and their language beliefs, and ways to incorporate those ideas into the classroom, so in the future we can value these students.
Lisa McAllister of Anthropology focused on family planning in the Amazon Basin. Credit: Patricia Marroquin

Family Planning in the Amazon Basin, Lisa McAllister, Anthropology

Lisa stated that populations are increasing all over the world and this will strain resources for food and water. However, smaller, indigenous groups will grow more and have even more strain on their limited resources. These groups realize the danger of overpopulation but her research showed these people won’t change because they feel unwelcome in cities and feel a need for larger families to help them in the fields. To solve this problem, family planning programs need to be more culturally aware.

Cocaine in the Brain, Kyle Ploense, Psychological and Brain Sciences

Kyle explained that addiction is the intense craving for drugs over sex and food, even chocolates. Drug Kyle Ploense's talk was titled "Cocaine in the Brain." Credit: Patricia Marroquinabuse cost us billions of dollars a year. Many have tried cocaine but only 1% are addicts, so researchers are studying how genes and environment interact to cause addiction. His research trains rats to do cocaine in two different environments: one addictive, and one not. They look at the molecules that push a person toward addiction, which will help in developing treatments.

Disclaimer: Apologies to any presenters if I misrepresented your research. I only had three minutes to summarize.

For information on other events, visit the Graduate Student Showcase 2014 page.

Previous Grad Slam 2014 coverage

Grad Slam Round One Recap: Topics Range From Hearts to Handprints, Liberia to Light

Grad Slam Round Two Recap: Music and Poetry and Yoga, Oh My :-)

Grad Slam Round Three Recap: Clapping, Compost, Kids' Music, and More

Grad Slam Round Four Recap: Everyone's a Winner

Round Five of the Grad Slam attracted the largest crowd so far. More than 40 attended the round in the SRB's Multipurpose Room. Credit: Patricia Marroquin

Thursday
Nov102011

Former Bren Grad Student’s Design Inspires Winning Equipment

Victoria BrojeA former Bren grad student's innovative design inspired a piece of oil-spill recovery equipment by Elastec/American Marine that has earned a $1 million top prize.

Victoria Broje, working in a research group led by Bren Professor Arturo Keller, redesigned a standard drum oil skimmer at UCSB’s Bren School of Environmental Science & Management in 2006 for her Ph.D. dissertation.

The design was patented, and shortly before Broje received her Ph.D., UCSB officials completed a deal to license the patent for the technology to Elastec/American Marine, the nation's largest maker of oil-spill recovery equipment.

Elastec/American utilized her design to create a piece of equipment that was entered into the 2011 Wendy Schmidt Oil Cleanup X CHALLENGE competition, earning the top prize.

"I'm happy that my Ph.D. research resulted in a fundamental change in approach, which significantly improved oil-spill recovery efficiency and allows many people to benefit from it," Broje said in a UCSB Office of Public Affairs press release.

Michael Witherell, UCSB's vice chancellor for research, praised the Russian-born physicist turned oil-spill recovery expert. "When you give a very bright and innovative graduate student like Victoria Broje an important problem to work on, new technology is often the result," he said in the release. "It is a great story of success."

To read more about this graduate student success story, read the UCSB press release.