UC Davis graduate student Katherine Murphy

UC Davis Grad Slam Finalist: Katherine Murphy

Meet Katherine Murphy
Plant Biology Graduate Student and Grad Slam Finalist


Katherine Murphy

​Program and Degree
Plant Biology, Ph.D. program, 4th year
Designated Emphasis in Biotechnology

Research Interests
The role of diterpenoids in maize (corn) stress resistance.

Previous Degree(s) and College(s)
Bachelor of Science in Chemistry with Honors, Stanford University

Grad Slam Presentation Title
Call the Plant Doctor

Describe your presentation style in three words.
Passionate, energetic, corny

What did you do to prepare for Grad Slam?
I practice my talk during my bike commute. I look strange talking to myself, but I've gotten a lot of practice!

What initially attracted you to your field of study?
I love molecules and have found that plants are far better at chemistry than people are. I found a passion for corn research as an undergraduate where I can study chemistry and help feed the world.

What do you like to do in your free time?
I garden, exercise, and watch reality TV with friends!

If you could invite one person (from any point in history) to sit in the audience and view your presentation at the March 13 Final Round, who would it be and why?
My Grandpa Murphy, because I think he would be really proud of me.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Standing in a corn field, teaching my students how to pollinate corn, and marveling at something cool we are discovering.

Are you #TeamKatherine?

Cheer on Katherine and the other nine finalists at the UC Davis Grad Slam Final Round on March 13.

Sign up via Eventbrite and like and follow the UC Davis Graduate Studies Facebook page to tune into the live stream.

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.

Presentations should be no longer than three minutes in length and prepared for a diverse audience comprised of students, faculty, and community members. Judges will strongly consider clarity and effectiveness of the presentation by a general university audience. 

Learn more by visiting the Grad Slam webpage.

About Graduate Studies

Graduate Studies at UC Davis includes over 100 dynamic degree programs and a diverse and interactive student body from around the world. Known for our state-of-the-art research facilities, productive laboratories and progressive spirit – UC Davis offers collaborative and interdisciplinary curricula through graduate groups and designated emphasis options, bringing students and faculty of different academic disciplines together to address real-world challenges.

UC Davis graduate students and postdoctoral scholars become leaders in their fields: researchers, teachers, politicians, mentors and entrepreneurs. They go on to guide, define and impact change within our global community.

For information on Graduate Studies’ current strategic initiatives, visit the Graduate Studies strategic plan page.

Secondary Categories

General News Graduate Student Success Grad Slam