Grad Slam trophies sit in a sunny windowsill

Top 10 Finalists of 2023 UC Davis Grad Slam Announced

Graduate students will compete at the April 6 semi-final round

Graduate Studies is proud to announce the 2023 top 10 finalists of UC Davis Grad Slam.

This year’s top 10 finalists will be competing at the semi-final round of UC Grad Slam on April 6. The event will be held at the Graduate Center at UC Davis. The graduate students will be vying for the chance to win $2,500, among other awards, as well as the opportunity to compete in the final round of UC Grad Slam where they could win the UC-wide title and additional prize money.

UC Grad Slam is an annual competition where master’s and doctoral students are invited to share their research in a compelling presentation that is three minutes or less. UC Davis has been participating in UC Grad Slam since 2016.

A panel of internal and external volunteer judges selected this year’s top 10 UC Davis graduate students from a competitive pool of videos submissions. Those who made it to the semi-final round were reviewed and scored based on their presentation skills and compliance with the competition criteria. Graduate Studies administrators say the top 10 finalists are a great example of the breadth of high-level research being done among the graduate student community at UC Davis.

“We are so pleased to have a such a broad representation of graduate research represented among this year’s finalists,” said Erum Abbasi Syed, executive assistant dean of Graduate Studies. “From climate change to literary censorship to genomics—there are so many topics that will be part of this year’s Grad Slam. It is sure to make for wonderful event.”

The champion of the UC Davis Grad Slam competition on April 6 will go on to compete with winners from other campuses at the University of California Grad Slam annual competition, which will be held in person at the LinkedIn headquarters in San Francisco on May 5, 2023.

Congratulations to the 2023 Top 10 Finalists!

(listed in alphabetical order by last name)

Nalina Aiempichitkijkarn smiles at camera with arms crossed and wearing a black and white stripped shirt.

Nalina Aiempichitkijkarn
Ph.D. candidate, Animal Behavior Graduate Group
College of Biological Sciences
“Social Connection as a Double-Edged Sword: Lessons From Monkey Disease Transmission”

Rebecca Andersen

Rebecca Andersen
Ed.D candidate, Educational Leadership (CANDEL)
School of Education
“Dismantling the STEM Career Search Labyrinth"

Brandon Cutler

Brandon Cutler
Ph.D. candidate, Chemistry
College of Letters and Sciences
"Food of the Future: Rethinking How We Look at Plant Waste and Processing Using Magnetic Resonance"

Rachael Dal Porto

Rachael Dal Porto
Ph.D student, Civil & Environmental Engineering
"Tiny Particles vs. Global Climate Change"

Lauren Hitt is wearing black top with white dots and standing in a garden

Lauren Hitt
Master’s student, Ecology Graduate Group
College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
“Lawsuits & Laser Beams: Learning the Secrets of Putah Creek Salmon”

Josephine Hubbard

Josephine Hubbard
Ph.D. candidate, Animal Behavior
College of Biological Sciences
“Behavioral Flexibility in Urban Animals”

Yasmin Mendoza

Yasmin Mendoza
Ph.D. student, English

College of Letters and Sciences
“Don't Say --- : An Exploration of the Censorship of Literature in the United States”

Julia Mouat

Julia Mouat
Ph.D. candidate, Integrative Genetics and Genomics Graduate Group

College of Biological Sciences
“Grandmas, Ghosts and Genes”

Hans Oberschlep

Hans Oberschelp
Ph.D. candidate, Mathematics
College of Letters and Sciences
“Securing Data by Shuffling Cards”

Marcela Radtke

Marcela Radtke
Ph.D. candidate, Nutritional Biology Graduate Group
College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences
“Starving for a Degree: The Impacts of Food Insecurity in University Students”

Additional Awards and Designations 

In addition to competing for the chance to participate in the UC competition in May, finalists at the April 6 event could earn the following awards:

  • First Place: $2,500
  • Second Place: $1,500
  • Third Place: $750
  • People’s Choice Award: $500
  • Public Impact Prize: $500

People’s Choice Award

The People’s Choice Award is granted to the contestant who receives the most votes from members of the public who are either in attendance at the event or are watching via a livestream. The voting link will be shared following the presentations at the event in Walker Hall. 

Public Impact Prize
For the second year in a row, UC Davis Public Scholarship and Engagement will be awarding an additional prize to the student who best demonstrates how their research has or will have significant impact by addressing a public concern or topic.


Global Education for All Designation 

GEFA Badge

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 2023 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. 

  • Rachael Dal Porto
  • Lauren Hitt
  • Marcela Radtke

Join Us!

Join us for the UC Davis semi-final round on Thursday, April 6 from 1 - 3 p.m. at the Graduate Center at Walker Hall. Seating is limited, so RSVP soon.

To learn more about the UC Grad Slam happening on May 5 from 10:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m., visit