An illustration of a microphone on a light blue and yellow background with the words "Grad Slam" below it

Graduate Studies Announces 2022 UC Davis Grad Slam Top 10

Watch the finalists compete at the April 6 Semi-Final Round.

Graduate Studies is thrilled to announce the 10 finalists that will compete in the 2022 Semi-Final Grad Slam competition at the University of California, Davis. 

In the annual Grad Slam tournament, master’s and doctoral students are challenged to share their research stories, concisely and compellingly, in three minutes or less. The top 10 finalists will present their research to an audience and panel of external judges for a chance to win $2,500.

The finalists were selected from a competitive pool of more than 25 master’s and doctoral students who submitted videos summarizing their research as part of the qualifying round. Volunteer faculty and staff judges reviewed and scored the videos based on the participants' presentation skills. The top 10 individuals were selected and will move forward to the campus semi-final round on April 6. 

The champion of the UC Davis Grad Slam competition will go on to compete with winners from other campuses at the University of California Grad Slam annual competition held in May.

Congratulations to the UC Davis Grad Slam top 10!

Heather Barr, Ph.D. Student in Public Health Sciences
School of Medicine
“The impact of pets on the feelings of loneliness: Can you pet yourself happy?”

Alice Dien, M.S., Ph.D Student in Biological Systems Engineering*
College of Engineering
“Cooling down with the new hot air: the future of drying in agriculture”

Benjamin Faulkner, Ph.D. Student in Geology
College of Letters and Science
“The Salad Days of Reptiles”

Lindsey Felth, Ph.D. Candidate in Pharmacology & Toxicology
College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
“How do we make opioids safer?”

Savannah Free, Ph.D. Student in Integrative Genetics and Genomics
College of Biological Sciences
“Partners in Crime: Tumor Cells and Platelets”

Andrea Michelle Guggenbickler, M.P.H., Ph.D. Student in Public Health
School of Medicine
“Let's Talk About Sex... Education”

Paige Kouba, M.S., Ph.D. Candidate in Ecology*
College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
“Climate Change Time Machine: Sending Trees 50 Years into the Future”

Lo-Wei Lin, M.S., Ph.D. Candidate in Pharmacology & Toxicology
College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
“Look out! The smoky orange sky is harmful to your skin”

William Turner IV,  Ph.D. Student in Atmospheric Science*
College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
“El Nino and the Transatlantic Slave Trade”

Jiahan Zou, M.S., Ph.D. Candidate in Biological Systems Engineering*
College of Engineering
“Novel Cooling Media: Cooler Than Ice”

*Recipient of a “Global Education for All” Designation.

Global Education for All Designation 

graphic with text global education for all with the uc davis global affairs logo

The "Global Education for All" designation recognizes a Grad Slam submission that illustrates how a graduate student embraces global learning. Global learning at UC Davis is a combination of local, regional, national, and international experiences through which the student develops key skills, knowledge, and networks that help them build global awareness, engage global diversity and pursue collaborative and equitable global action. A global education-oriented project might illustrate global awareness by confronting a global challenge as articulated by the UN Sustainable Development Goals no matter where in the world that happens. 

Congratulations to the 2022 Global Education For All Recipients 

A panel of judges from Global Affairs selected the following recipients for their research contributions to Global Education for All. 

  • Alice Dien: Alice’s research addresses distinct UN Sustainable Development Goals around food insecurity, food safety, and clean energy. This novel form of industrial desiccant drying would have a meaningful impact on both the cost and environmental impact of food dehydration, and potentially increase market access to farmers around the world.
  • Paige Kouba: Paige helps us understand the impact of climate change on plant photosynthesis through water economy and CO2 absorption. Understanding these links at the cellular level better explains dynamic feedback loops at the macro level which, as Paige reminds us, could ultimately mitigate or exasperate global climate change impacts.
  • William Turner IV:  William’s investigation of drought-induced patterns in the transatlantic slave trade draws important connections between climatological data and geopolitical activity, especially around war, resource production and migration (selective or forced). Touching on a range of UN Sustainable Development Goals, William’s work is both cautionary and illustrative of the potential current and future impacts of climate change.
  • Jiahan Zou: Some sustainable technologies have the potential to positively impact industry in multiple ways. Jiahan’s work to develop jelly ice focuses primarily on the reduction of plastic waste, and could even represent savings as a reusable product with a potential byproduct market (as a soil amendment). The savings and versatility of this product could create new economies while also advancing UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Read the full announcement on the UC Davis Graduate Studies website

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