Round 3 of the Grad Slam, held in the MCC Theater on Monday, featured fascinating research from our exceptional graduate students, ranging from molecules and hairy monsters to graffiti and exploding brains.
The nine presentations for the three-minute talk were judged on three criteria: clear and compelling presentations; impact on an academic field or on society; and how well they are geared for general audiences. Any contestants who exceeded the three-minute limit were penalized, though that wasn’t a problem with this talented group as they all held their talks within the time limit.
Niva Ran from Chemistry & Biochemistry spoke about organic solar cells for green energy. Joseph Brooks of Linguistics discussed his research on three languages in Papua New Guinea. Next we heard from Sarah Abdul-Wajid of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology whose research on the marine sea squirt has implications for the “exploding brain” defect. Things got a little hairy after that, when David Baillargeon of History talked about some hairy families in Britain’s Empire. Materials grad student Chelsea Catania spoke of biology’s power in harnessing microorganisms for energy. Samantha Chang of History of Art and Architecture broke out the spray paint for her presentation on graffiti art and archives in Germany. Physics student David Jacobson spoke about folding biomolecules, and Anand Shukla of Economics addressed racial animus and labor market outcomes. Finally, Education grad student Torrey Trust described her research collecting, organizing, and categorizing more than 2,500 open educational resources in the K-12 Tech Tools Database, a website designed to help teachers instantly access high-quality online resources that meet their students' learning objectives.
After all the presentations were made, guests stepped out for refreshments and socializing in the lobby. Then the judges’ decisions were announced: The top three contestants were Sarah Abdul-Wajid, Anand Shukla, and Torrey Trust, who each won $50 gift cards to the bookstore. The Round 3 winner advancing to the final round is Torrey. She’ll join Bob Lansdorp of Materials and Jasmin Llamas of Counseling, Clinical, and School Psychology, as well as the other finalists, for the Grad Slam Finals on Friday, April 19. See the full Grad Slam schedule for other events this week.