Grad Slam Graduate Research Presentation Competition

Cal State East Bay Grad Slam 2023

Congratulations to the winners of our Inaugural Grad Slam competition!  

The winners are:

1st place: Preeti Sundaramurthi  M.S. Biological Sciences   preeti-small.jpg


2nd place: Tapasya Madhusudhan Solu  M.S. Computer Science



3rd place: Justin Matties  M.S. Kinesiology


Our first and second place winners will now compete in the CSU-wide Grad Slam held by San Diego State University on May 5th, 2023.   More information is available here:

Congratulations also to all our Grad Slam finalists!   


Applications are now closed!  The deadline to apply was Wednesday, March 1st, 2023.

The event will take place in-person on Tuesday, April 11th, 2023 in the University Union MPR room - 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm

Please join us in-person or via Zoom.  Zoom link is:


Justin Matties  M.S. Kinesiology
Tapasya Madhusudhan Solu  M.S. Computer Science
Ferdi Agusta  M.A. Interaction Design and Interactive Art
Sparkle Phelps  M.S. Special Education
Preeti Sundaramurthi  M.S. Biological Sciences
Edward Hill  M.A. History
Ben Urick  M.S. Chemistry (Biochemistry)
Tara Mann  M.S.W. Social Work
Saranya Anandan   M.S. Business Analytics
Daniel Gómez  M.S. Biological Sciences


Grad Slam is a campus-wide competition for the best short-style research presentation aimed at a non-specialist audience.  This will be the first Grad Slam competition held at California State University, East Bay. During the competition, graduate students will be judged based on their ability to engage their audiences while communicating key concepts about their research. The judges of the competition will be composed of the members of the Cal State East Bay community (staff, faculty, alumni and/or students).



Grad Slam is an opportunity for you to network with fellow graduate students, alumni, staff and faculty. In addition, you will learn how to communicate your research concisely to a broad audience outside of your own field. Participation in the competition will provide lifelong public speaking skills, which can be added on your C.V. The first and second place winners will be invited to compete in the CSU-wide Grad Slam on May 5th, 2023.  Finally, three winners will receive great cash prices: First Place: $1,000, Second Place: $750, Third place: $500.



All active master's and doctoral students who are conducting independent research or projects, including independent research projects done for a graduate-level class, are eligible to participate in Grad Slam competitions at all levels. Entrants must be current graduate students at the time of the competition (i.e. enrolled in the Spring 2023 semester).  Entrants must participate as individuals.  

(Note: Previous winners of Grad Slam, undergraduate students and community members are welcome to attend but are not eligible to participate in the competition.)


$1000 - 1st Place – Best Presentation
$750 - 2nd Place
$500 - 3rd Place



Contact your faculty advisor or the graduate coordinator of your program to express your interest in participating in Grad Slam.  Complete an application by the deadline.
(Note: Incomplete, late, or partial applications/material are not acceptable.)


  • Applications will be reviewed and semifinalists selected.
  • Semifinalists will be asked to record and submit a video of their three minute presentation.
  • Submissions will be reviewed and finalists selected.
  • Finalists will give their three-minute presentation in-person on the day of Grad Slam, Thursday, April 13th.

Competition Rules and Presentation Structure

  • A single static PowerPoint slide is permitted (no slide transitions, animations or ‘movement’ of any kind; the slide is to be presented from the beginning of the oration).
  • Presentations are limited to three minutes maximum. Competitors exceeding three minutes are disqualified.
  • Presentations are considered to have commenced when presenters start their presentation through movement or speech.
  • No additional electronic media (e.g. sound and video files) are permitted.
  • No props (e.g. costumes, musical instruments, laboratory equipment) are permitted.
  • Presentations are to be delivered in traditional presentation style.
  • Presenters must submit original research from their thesis, dissertation, graduate project, or any other research-based projects they are working on. The research can focus on the development of new ideas, methods, or products, or it may focus on the application and revision of current methods or models. Students in creative degree programs such as the MA Music should focus on how their creative work applies to the broader exchange of ideas and the role it plays in providing new perspective or changing attitudes.
  • You must record your presentation and provide a URL to your video to enter the Grad SLam competition.  We recommend using Zoom to record your talk.   If you are selected to participate in Grad Slam, you will be asked to provide a picture of yourself (a professional-looking headshot) and a short biography,.
  • In the event of a tie, a representative from the Office of Graduate Studies will break the tie.
Each presentation will be judged using the criteria below.
  • Clarity:  Did the speaker provide adequate background knowledge to make the talk and the importance of the project understandable?
  • Organization: Did the presentation follow a clear and logical sequence?
  • Language matches audience:  Was the topic and its significance communicated in a language appropriate to an interested, but non-specialist audience? (For example, did the speaker avoid or explain discipline-specific jargon?)
  • Significance:  Did the presenter explain why the project mattered, addressing the impact and results of the research?
  • Delivery:  How was the delivery, including pace, enthusiasm, confidence, body language, and dynamism of vocal delivery?
  • Visual:  Did the slide enhance the presentation and help to emphasize the primary points of the talk?  Was the slide well designed, clear, legible and concise?
  • Engagement:  To what extent did the talk speak to your intellectual curiosity?  Did it make you want to learn more about the topic?

Participants are encouraged to use the services of the SCAA in preparing their presentations.

Example presentations:


  • Keep your language simple and accessible for someone outside your field.
  • Think of it like telling a short story with an introduction, middle, and end.
  • Write a script to guide your thinking.   Practice and revise until you can give your talk without the script.   When you record or present, don't read directly from the script, since it will not feel as natural or engaging.  Look and talk directly at your camera. 
Thanks to the Office of Graduate Studies at CSU Fullerton for these tips.


Contact: The Office of Graduate Studies.
Phone: 510-885-3716