Grad Students Battle for Best Pitch

UC Riverside’s best and brightest will go head to head during annual Grad Slam finals event, held at the Culver Center on April 23

RIVERSIDE, Calif. ( — The standard elevator pitch lasts 118 seconds: eight to hook your audience, or so the thinking goes, and another 110 to reel them in.

Graduate students at the University of California, Riverside, will get an extra 62 seconds to make an impact — and an added dose of competition-induced pressure to contend with — during this year’s Grad Slam finals.

Held at UCR’s Barbara and Art Culver Center of the Arts at 3834 Main St., the free, public event will take place Monday, April 23, from 5-8 p.m. Advance registration is requested and can be completed here.

Each spring, the systemwide Grad Slam initiative sees some of the University of California’s more than 56,000 master’s and doctoral students go head to head to deliver the ultimate three-minute, TED-style talk. Contestants’ presentations must accurately distill their graduate research into brief, nontechnical explanations, with the goal of making complicated scientific and scholarly concepts more accessible to the general public.

In three minutes or less, and with no more than a three-slide PowerPoint presentation to serve as visual backup, each competitor must give a clear and effective talk that conveys the intellectual significance of their research.

“Grad Slam is a great opportunity to learn what the next generation of scholars is likely to produce,” said Shaun Bowler, dean of UCR’s Graduate Division. “In just a few minutes, our students will tell you what’s new and novel, and why you should care.”

The grand prize winner of UCR’s final Grad Slam round will take home $5,000 and move forward to square off against winners from the nine other UC campuses at LinkedIn’s San Francisco headquarters on Thursday, May 3.

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