Maci with a cow

Meet the Grad Slam Finalists: Maci Mueller

UC Davis Grad Slam Finalists

Quick Summary

  • Meet Animal Biology graduate student Maci Mueller.

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Maci Mueller

Program, Degree & Year of Study:  
Animal Biology, M.S., 1st year

Previous Degree(s) & College(s): 
B.S. in Animal Science from University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Research Interest: 
My research interests are related to genetic improvements of livestock through biotechnology and the related public policy.

Title of Grad Slam Presentation: 
Mess with the bull - Don't get the horns: Gene-editing to improve animal welfare

What initially attracted you to your field of study?
At a very young age, I was interested in animals and biology and was fortunate to grow up on a cattle ranch in Nebraska. My career as an animal scientist will allow me to combine my passions of biology with my love of livestock.

What did you do to prepare for Grad Slam? 
After drafting my slides and outline for my presentation, I sought input from my lab members, as well as friends outside of my field of work. With their suggestions I made revisions and practiced while timing the presentation multiple times.

Did you encounter any obstacles while preparing for Grad Slam? How did you overcome them? 
The biggest obstacles for me, were the time limit and careful word choice needed. With only 3 minutes, it's difficult to explain the research thoroughly enough and at the same time keep it at a level where a general audience can understand. Practicing with people outside of my lab provided me with an outside opinion and assurance that my explanations were clear.

What do you think sets you and your presentation apart from the other contestants? 
I grew up extremely involved in the cattle industry and the research I'm conducting and presenting on has the potential to greatly benefit this industry I have been so passionate about all of my life.

What are your other passions/hobbies? 
I love to be around cattle and almost all things agriculturally related. When I'm not with cattle, I enjoy outdoor recreation such as golfing, playing tennis and skiing.

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 present the significance and fundamental points of their work at UC Davis in a clear, direct and interesting manner.

Over 80 master's and doctoral students from across UC Davis' 99 graduate programs submitted proposals for this year's competition, which kicked off with a qualifying round on February 28 at the ARC. Faculty and staff from across UC Davis volunteered to serve on the judging panels.

The finalists will compete against each other at the UC Davis Final Round at the Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum of Art on April 14 from 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm. The event is free and open to the public, and is co-sponsored by the Manetti Shrem Museum of Art. Registration is now open at

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