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Meet the Grad Slam Finalists: Emery Anderson-Merritt

UC Davis graduate student Emery Anderson-Merritt in a hole in the ground
Tuesday, February 27, 2018 (All day)

Emery Anderson-Merritt

Emery Anderson-Merritt

​Program and Degree: 
Geology, Master's, 2nd Year

Research Interests: 
Earthquake geology, Neotectonics

Grad Slam Presentation Title: 
The Mojave San Andreas: Understanding Fault Behavior Using Displaced Landforms

What initially attracted you to your field of study?
I'm fascinated by the challenge of untangling processes that we can observe in nature but cannot manipulate directly. I also dig fieldwork (pun intended) since I love being outdoors and working with my hands!

How would you describe your presentation style?

What was the biggest challenge you faced in developing your presentation?
Figuring out how to introduce my presentation was challenging. It was difficult to put my childhood earthquake experiences into only a couple of sentences, and I worried that the resulting description would be overly dramatic. I was visiting my folks on the day I finished my script, and in an amusing turn of events, we had a pretty decently-sized temblor late that night. After the shaking stopped, the first thing I thought was "Nope, that earthquake description was just fine!"

Other than your own, which presentation in your Qualifying Round time slot impressed you the most?
I enjoyed (Soils and Biogeochemistry doctoral student) Daniel Rarth's presentation about soil clumping. The illustrations were really lovely, and it was a fun topic to learn about since I spend a lot of time looking at soil and sediments in the field!

Aside from your graduate research, what are your other passions or hobbies?
I like to race bicycles, memorize poetry, and tell really awful jokes about woolly mammoths.

Are you #TeamEmery?
Cheer him on at the April 5 UC Davis Grad Slam Finals. The event is free and open to the public, but seats are limited so reserve your ticket via Eventbrite today.

About Grad Slam

UC Grad Slam is an annual contest in which master’s and Ph.D. students across UC campuses – in disciplines ranging from hard sciences to humanities – compete to sum up their research for a general audience. Students should present the significance and fundamental points of their work at UC Davis in a clear, direct, and interesting manner.

Participants are judged on how well they engage the audience, how clearly they communicate key concepts and how effectively they focus and present their ideas—all in three minutes or less.

Grad Slam contests are held on each of UC’s 10 campuses from February through May. The first place winners from each campus will square off to capture the systemwide title and their share of $10,000 in prize money.

For more information on the competition, visit