The 2024 Grad Slam Final Round

Welcome to the 2024 Grad Slam Showcase Final Round!

Grad Slam is an annual event that spotlights the amazing research being done by our campus’ graduate students. Students present the central points of their projects in a clear, direct, and engaging manner for a diverse audience.

Join us at 4:30 p.m. in UCSB's Campbell Hall to hear our finalists' present their talks and vote for your favorite in the People's Choice award.

Program Overview  |  Meet the Finalists  |  Judging Panel  |  FAQ  |  Thank You to Our Sponsors  |  Campus Partners

Program Overview

  • Opening Remarks from Interim Anne and Michael Towbes Graduate Dean Leila Rupp
  • Finalist Presenter Talks
  • Group Q&A
  • People’s Choice Voting
  • Announcement of Winners
  • Closing Remarks



Arnie Brier

Senior Vice President and General Counsel, Yardi Systems

Amr El Abbadi

Professor of Computer Science, UC Santa Barbara

Annette Hilton

Graduate Student in Environmental Science & Management, 2023 Grad Slam Winner

Archie Holmes '97

Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, University of Texas System

Peter Mage '16

Principal Engineer, BD Biosciences and 2013 Grad Slam Winner

Lisa Park

Professor of Asian American Studies, UC Santa Barbara

Joe Sabado '97

Deputy Chief Information Officer, UC Santa Barbara

Carrie Towbes

Licensed Clinical Psychologist, President of the Towbes Foundation

Ashley Yeh

Undergraduate Student in Biology and Neuroscience, 2023 Undergrad Slam Winner


As we build on the successes from last year's revamped event, we continue to bring our campus and community together to learn more about the awesome research done by our graduate students. This year, we will reprise our reconfigured preliminary rounds, simplified scoring, and diverse and representative judging panels. Our graduate students from across campus will deliver their best 3-minute pitch that captures their research in a clear and compelling way.

One thing remains the same: each talk has a 3-minute time limit, and students will rapidly lose points if they exceed the 3-minute mark.

Our preliminary round winners have already received $1000 for coming in first in their disciplinary round. At the Final Round, they will vie for additional prize money: $2000 for 1st place, $1000 for two Runners Up, and $500 for People’s Choice. Plus, our campus champion will go on to represent UCSB in the UC-wide Grad Slam competition, which will be happening on Friday, May 3, in San Francisco.

Each of UC’s 10 campuses holds local Grad Slam contests; the first place winners of each of those will square off May 3, 2024 for the systemwide title, and their share of prize money. The 2024 contest will be emceed by UC President Michael Drake at LinkedIn’s headquarters in San Francisco. You can also tune in right here to watch the livestream on May 3 to join the action.

Winners will be selected by a panel of judges representing industry, media, government and higher education. Viewers will also get a chance to vote for their favorite; the winner will receive the audience choice award. Mark your calendars for the UC Grad Slam and don't forget to vote for our UCSB Champion for the audience choice award!


Premier Sponsor

Yardi logo

Champion Sponsors

Dr. Carrie Towbes & Dr. John Lewis
Lopker Family Foundation

Disciplinary Round Sponsor

HRL logo

Medalist Sponsors


Tri Valley Logo


Boone logo


SB Independent Logo

Campus Partners, Workshop Facilitators, and Staff Organizers

Campus Sponsors

Alumni Affairs
Career Service
Counseling and Psychological Services
Graduate Student Association
Office of the Chancellor
Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor
Office of Research
Student Affairs
UCSB Library
College of Letters and Sciences
Bren School
College of Engineering
Gevirtz Graduate School of Education
Division of Mathematical, Life, and Physical Sciences
Division of Social Sciences
Dean of Humanities and Fine Arts

Grad Slam Workshop Facilitators

Julien Brun
UCSB Library Research Data Services Earth & Environmental Sciences Research Facilitator

Renata Curty
UCSB Library Research Data Services Social Sciences Research Facilitator

Gina Genova 
UCSB Writing Program Continuing Lecturer

Greg Janée 
UCSB Library Research Data Services Director

Bri McWhorter
Founder, Activate to Captivate

Kenny Smith
UCSB Writing Program Continuing Lecturer

Graduate Division Staff

Leila Rupp (Interim Anne and Michael Towbes Graduate Dean)
Robert Hamm (Assistant Graduate Dean)
Jin Sook Lee (Associate Graduate Dean)
Dar Roberts (Associate Graduate Dean)
John Lofthus (Assistant Dean of Development)
Walter Boggan (Admissions, Outreach, & Diversity Director)
Michele Johnson (Diversity Initiatives & UC LEADS Systemwide Director)
Carlos Nash (Diversity Programs Director)
Karen Van Gool (​​Assistant Director, Outreach)
Ryan Sims (Associate Director of Academic Services)
Ashley Bradbury (Assistant Director of Academic Services)
Shawn Warner (Director of Professional Development)
Michael Roysner (Professional Development Programming Assistant)
Marge Pamintuan-Perko (Marketing and Communications Director)
Jayline Naranjo Lagunas (Marketing Intern)
Amber Shelor (Finance and Administration Manager)
Debra Vance (Executive Assistant to the Deans)
Misti Schilling (Development Assistant)