2016 Grad Slam Competition

Congratulations to our Grad Slam 2016 Campus Champion!

2016 UC Merced Grad Slam Winners

Campus Champion
Arturo Durazo
Psychological Sciences

Yuriana Aguilar
Quantitative & Systems Biology

Bodo Winter
Cognitive & Information Sciences


What is Grad Slam?

We already know that you are working hard to find answers to the world’s most important and pressing research questions. But can you distill your research into the key ’sound bites’ that will be necessary to convey its importance, usefulness, and timeliness to others outside your field — like supervisors, administrators, lawmakers, co-workers, friends…. even your parents?

GradSLAM! is a UC system-wide competition that provides you with a forum to explain the methods, results, and significance of your research via a three-minute presentation to a non-specialty audience and panel of judges.

As a participant, you will be challenged to practice and perfect your answer to the inevitable question, “What is your research about?” Along the way, you will improve your presentation and PowerPoint skills, learn more about the research your fellow graduate students are doing here at UC Merced, and compete for some great prizes.

Remaining 2016 Grad Slam Schedule

UC Systemwide Grad Slam Competition
Friday, April 22 | 11:30 A.M. | The Grad Pad

On Friday, April 22, our Campus Champion Arturo Durazo will compete in the UC systemwide Grad Slam competition. The competition will be hosted by LinkedIn at its new center in downtown San Francisco. For more information, see the main UC Grad Slam website


More than a competition,Grad Slam is a celebration of the accomplishments of our graduate students. The top-ten qualifiers receive $250*, the opportunity to attend a luncheon with Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Education Marjorie Zatz, and one-on-one coaching with speaking professionals.

The first place winner of the GradSLAM! Finals receive $2,000* and the honor of representing UC Merced at the University of California system-wide Grad Slam competition in late April. Two runners-up receive $1,000*.

Grad Slam Rules

  1. Your presentations should be saved in PowerPoint (PPT) format. All presentations must be saved as "firstname_lastname_GradSlam" and emailed to grad@ucmerced.edu by midnight on March 27, 2016. Note that presentation materials are optional but strongly encouraged.
  2. You may only use PowerPoint slides (no Prezi or other presentation formats). You may have a maximum of 4 slides total: (1) Title Slide with your name, graduate program, and the title of your presentation, and (3) Presentation Slides.
  3. All work on the slides must be original to the student and cannot be generated by a professional.
  4. No slide transitions, animations or 'movement' of any descriptions are allowed.
  5. Embedded audio and video clips within your Powerpoint slides are permitted and those files may be animated (may be subject to prior approval from Graduate Division).
  6. Props such as costumes, musical instruments, laboratory equipment, etc. are permitted with prior approval from Graduate Division. Any props should require minimal set-up and not produce a mess.
  7. Presentations are to be spoken word (e.g. no poems, raps or songs).
  8. Presentations must be conducted from the stage.
  9. The whole presentation must be limited to 3 minutes.  Any presenter exceeding the 3-minute mark will lose points for going past the allotted time. 
  10. The presentation time will commence from the moment the presenter starts talking and/or making sounds or movements that are clearly part of the presentation. The timekeeper will hold up a sign at the "30 seconds remaining" mark and a bell will ring to signal the 3 minute mark.
  11. The research being presented must be related to your own graduate research at UC Merced.
  12. Students invited to participate in the UC Merced final round or the system wide final competition must present on the same subject matter.
  13. The decision of the panel of judges is final.

Presentation Examples

  1. Video from the UC Merced GradSLAM! 2015 Campus Finals
  2. UC San Diego 2014 Grad Slam
  3. UC Santa Barbara 2014 Grad Slam Finals
  4. Winning Presentations from around the world

Helpful Resources

  1. The Secret to Giving a Great TED Talk
  2. Making the most of your 3-minute presentation
  3. TED Talks
  4. 10 Most Common Rookie Mistakes in Public Speaking
  5. Top Ten Tips for Writing and Delivering Very Brief Speeches

More Presentation Resources are available here.

*All prizes are awarded in the form of a one-time fellowship.

Contact Us

Graduate Admissions:
Phone: (209) 228-4723
Graduate Funding:
Phone: (209) 228-4622
General Inquiries:
Phone: (209) 228-4723
Fax: (209) 228-6906
Mailing Address:
University of California, Merced
ATTN: Graduate Division
5200 N. Lake Road, SSB 310
Merced, CA 95343
University of California, Merced
The first new American research university in the 21st century, with a mission of research, teaching and service.
University of California, Merced
5200 North Lake Road
Merced, CA 95343
T: (209) 228-4400
University of California
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