The Grad Slam semifinals took place Wednesday, April 5, from 3-5 p.m., in 309 Sproul Hall. Eight UC Berkeley grad students, including 3 from Physics, took turns at the microphone to try to win over a panel of judges with a three-minute rundown on their research. Think “American Idol” for brainiacs, only with words instead of songs.
The competition was won by Kelly Swanson (pictured far right), who studies particle physics with the Wim Leemans group at LBNL, co-sponsored by Professor Marjorie Shapiro. Kelly will represent Berkeley and compete in the 10-campus UC-wide Grad Slam hosted by UC President Janet Napolitano at LinkedIn headquarters in San Francisco on May 4.
Grad Slam is a UC-sponsored contest designed to showcase graduate student research — often detailed and complicated — in three-minute talks pitched to a general audience. The competition helps grad students learn skills that will help them down the road as researchers, academics and in the commercial world — developing oratorical skills, dynamic deliveries and compelling content to attract broad notice and support.
This year’s Berkeley semifinalists were Timothy Day (neuroscience), Joan Dudney, (environmental science, policy and management), Spencer Frank (mechanical engineering), Ari Frink (landscape architecture and environmental planning), Pierce Gordon (energy and resources), Stephanie Mack (physics; advisor: Jeff Neaton), Kelly Swanson (physics) and Claire Thomas (physics; advisor: Dan Stamper-Kurn).