Undergraduate Research Slam

Undergraduate Research Slam 2019 Entry period: March 1, 2019 - April 1, 2019 

Preliminary round: April 26, 2019 (10:00 am - 5:00 pm) in Library room 1312. 50 presenters.

Final round: May 9, 2018 (5:30 pm - 8:00 pm) in Old Little Theater. 15 presenters.  

The Undergraduate Research Slam offers students the chance to give dynamic, 3-minute oral presentations of their research or creative activity to a panel of judges. All UCSB undergraduates participating in research during the 2018-2019 academic year are eligible. The top 3 students will earn research awards ranging from $1500-$2500.

The first round of 50 presentations will take place on April 26, 2019 (10:00 am -5:00 pm) in Library room 1312. Students are not required to attend the entire event, but must schedule an hour appointment during one of the windows. A panel of judges will determine the top 15 finalists, who will compete in the final round on May 9, 2018 (5:30 pm - 8:00 pm). 

Students MUST be available during the first round event and during the final event on May 9 to be considered. Spaces will be alotted on a first-come, first-serve basis by signing up through the online entry form.

All Slam events will be open to the public.

ELIGIBILITY To be eligible, students must:

  • Be a currently-enrolled UCSB undergraduate
  • Have worked on their research or creative activity during the 2018 - 2019 academic year
  • Be an individual (While groups are allowed to present a single poster at the Colloquium, students may not present as a group in the Slam. Participants within a group should focus their individual presentation on their particular contribution to the group project, and must have permission from other group members to present at Slam.)

Students do not need to have been awarded an URCA grant to participate in either the Colloquium or the Slam.

ENTRY AND SELECTION PROCEDURES Entry for the Slam opens on March 1 and closes on April 1 at 11:59 P.M. PST. Students submit an entry form online. Sign up is first-come, first-served – after 60 students choose a time slot for the first round (50 + 10 wait list spots), students will not be able to sign up for the Slam, and the entry form will be closed. After submitting an entry form, students will be notified via UMAIL if they were selected to participate. Wait listed students will be contacted in case a presenter withdraws from the first round.


  • Presentations for both the first and final rounds must be THREE MINUTES in length and no longer. 1 point deductions will begin every 10 seconds a presenter goes over the limit (e.g. 3:10 minute presentation = 1 point deducted from final score). 1 point deductions will also be given for presentations under 2:30 minutes. We will have a person keeping track of time in the first row to indicate when the presenter has reached 3 minutes.
  • Students must use Microsoft PowerPoint for presentations and will be required to submit their slides prior to each event so they can be compiled and loaded onto the computer being used (see deadlines below).
  • Slides must have a width of 10 inches and a height of 7.5 inches.
  • No more than 3 slides are allowed (1 title slide, prepared for you by the contest organizers, is not included in this total). Embedding of audio and/or video clips is allowed. Slide animations are allowed only if they are used to build or reveal items on one slide, but not to (remove and) introduce full-size items that mimic an additional slide (Acceptable animation | Unacceptable animation [download and view as slideshow in PowerPoint]). Please contact us with any questions regarding the slides, and be sure to attend one of the Presentation Workshops (date and location TBD).
  • Props must be approved by the Undergraduate Programs Coordinator one week in advance.

JUDGING Presentations will be judged based on: 

  • Presence and delivery
  • Effective use of visuals
  • Timing (3 minutes and no longer)
  • Significance of research or creative activity
  • Appropriateness for a non-specialist audience
  • Clarity and organization
  • Engagement

Click here to download the official judging rubric.

PHOTOGRAPHY AND VIDEOGRAPHY By entering the competition, the presenter agrees to allow UCSB's Office of Undergraduate Education to use the resulting photographs and/or video from the Undergraduate Research Slam, which may include the presenter’s image or presentation, for publicity surrounding the contest and/or in other contexts, such as promotional materials, website, etc. If the presenter has questions or concerns about making their presentation publicly available, please contact the Undergraduate Programs Coordinator.

AWARD CEREMONY The first, second, and third place winners will be announced at an awards ceremony immediately following the Slam Finals on May 9. 


  • March 1 - April 1: Undergraduate Research Slam entry form submissions accepted. Confirmation emails will be sent shortly after entry form closes.

  • Aprll 4: Undergraduate Slam workshop with Professor Gina Genova & Professor Madeleine Sorapur from 5-7pm in Library 1576 (ground floor, Oceanside)

  • April 5: Undergraduate Slam workshop with Professor Gina Genova & Professor Madeleine Sorapur from 5-7pm in Library 1576 (ground floor, Oceanside)

  • April 22: PowerPoint slides for the first 50 presentations must be submitted via email to URCA@Ltsc.ucsb.edu.

  • April 26 Preliminaries: First round of presentations – from 10:00 - 5:00 pm in the Library Room 1312

  • April 29: Fifteen finalists will be announced via UMAIL.

  • May 6: Final PowerPoint slides for the event must be submitted via email to URCA@Ltsc.ucsb.edu.

  • May 9 Finals & Awards Ceremony: Undergraduate Research Slam from 5:30 pm - 8:00 pm, Old Little Theater – participants will be alerted of their time slot via UMAIL.

Please contact the URCA office with any questions: URCA@Ltsc.ucsb.edu, (805) 893-3090, Library 1576 (ground floor Oceanside)


Congratulations to our 2018 Undergraduate Research Slam winners and finalists!

2018 Winners


1st Place: Mitchell Hee – Advancing Therapies to Treat Blindness
Biology, College of Creative Studies


2nd Place: Zenzile Riddick – Decolonizing our Schools: Neocolonial Punitive Methods in U.S. Public Education
Sociology, College of Letters & Science

3rd Place: Sydney Hunt – Lights, Camera...Wait, What’s That Smell?
Biology, College of Creative Studies

Emeriti Award: Sharon Tamir – Viral Host Proteins: Elucidating the Mechanism of Cell Enslavement
Biology, College of Creative Studies

People's Choice: Ryan Sadjadi – The Nile Grass Rat as a Pre-Clinical Model for Diabetic Retinopathy
Biology, College of Creative Studies

2018 Finalists

Summer Burke – Genetics: The Key to Curing Retinopathy
Biochemistry, College of Letters & Science 

Matthew Daly –  Inflamed by Weight Stigma: The Effects of Social Experiences on Physiological Health
Biopsychology, College of Letters & Science

Samantha Gerraty – Hiraeth
Zoology & Dance, College of Letters & Science

Ariel Gershman – Utilizing Ionic Liquids for Amphibian Disease Mitigation
Pharmacology, College of Letters & Science

Ezra Kosviner – Interactions of the Zika virus 3’UTR with Host Cellular Proteins
Chemistry & Biochemistry, College of Creative Studies

Rachel Liu – Oil and Microbes in the Gulf of Mexico
Biology, College of Creative Studies

David Lowe – Surviving Stress Through Alternative Translation!
Biology, College of Creative Studies

Abby Miller – Determining the Effects of Pathogen Infection and Treatment on Organixmal Performance
Zoology, College of Letters & Science

Ricardo Moreno – A Broad Survey of US Food Reveals large Discrepancies in Fatty Acid Content Dependent on Manufacturer, Live Stock Feed, and level of Processing
Biochemistry, College of Letters & Science

Amelia Strom – Neural Representations of Kanizsa-type Illusory Contours
Biopsychology, College of Letters & Science

Veronica Torres – Parasite Species Richness and Burden in Relation to Diet in a Hermaphroditic Fish (Halichoeres semicinctus)
Biology, College of Creative Studies


Congratulations to our 2017 Undergraduate Research Slam winners and finalists!

2017 Winners 

1st Place: Chloe Brotherton – A 'Bitch' by Any Other Name: Reclaiming Gendered Insult Terms
Language, Culture and Society, College of Letters & Science

2nd Place: Jessica Norris – The Enactment of Cap and Trade in China
 Political Science, College of Letters & Science

3rd Place: Anoop Praturu – Are Galaxies Foggy?
Physics, College of Creative Studies

4th Place Emeriti Award: Chris Sercel – Development of a Laser-Heated Water Thruster
Physics, College of Creative Studies


2017 Finalists:

Michael Arnold – Characterization of Camptothecin Nanoparticles
Biological Sciences, College of Letters & Science

Sarah Bay – Immune Function and Acute Testosterone Change in Male Undergraduates
Anthropology, College of Letters & Science

Dolev Bluvstein – Nanoscale Electrical Conductivity Imaging with the Nitrogen Vacancy Defect in Diamond
Physics, College of Creative Studies

Cole Hoyt – Mass Shootings, Media, and Gun Control Legislation
Political Science, College of Letters & Science

Brooke Klooster – College Rape Culture and the Community
Sociology, College of Letters & Science

David Lowe – The Prophecy of Cancer Relapse: Resurrecting the Dead
Physics, College of Creative Studies

Carina Motta – Preserving Baja: Classification of Potentially New Suaeda Species
Pre-Biology, College of Letters & Science


Gillian Nguyen – Soil: a Promising New Green Energy
Ecology and Evolution, College of Letters & Science

Zenzile Riddick – Wolves in Sheep's Clothing: Christian Missions and the Colonial Destruction of the Black Identity
Sociology, College of Letters & Science

Christian Rodriguez – Visionary Exploration: Sharpening the view of Exoplanets
Physics, College of Letters & Science

Alexander Smolentsev – Curing Diabetic Retinopathy with the help of the Nile Rat
Biopsychology, College of Letters & Science

Emma Zhang – Identifying Genes Regulating Sex Drive in the Fruit Fly and its Application in the Mosquito
Biochemistry-Molecular Biology, College of Letters & Science


Congratulations to our 2016 Undergraduate Research Slam winners and finalists! See The UCSB Current story on the Slam here.

2016 Winners 

1st Place: Kevin Dervishi – Investigating Tau Dimerization: The Implication of Tau Oligomers in Neurodegeneration
                   Biology (Biochemistry emphasis), College of Creative Studies

2nd Place: Nicole Bush – Circularized RNA in Fruit Fly Eggs
                    Biology, College of Creative Studies

3rd Place: Sarah Bay – Are Acute Changes in Endogenous Testosterone Associated with Changes in Cellular Immunity?
                   Anthropology, College of Letters & Science

2016 Finalists:

Jennifer Cruz – Performance Moderates Female-directed Hostility in Male-dominated Environments
Communication, College of Letters & Science

Andrew Dawson – Testing Pharmaceuticals’ Authenticity for Developing Areas
Chemistry/Biochemistry, College of Creative Studies

Nicole Dodd – Language Contact Between Andalusian Arabic and Spanish: The Orientalizing Suffix
Linguistics (Spanish emphasis) and Global Studies, College of Letters & Science

Zachary Feinn – Providing Free WiFi to the Homeless
Computer Engineering, College of Engineering

Michelle Higgins – Investigating the Effects of Vinca Alkaloid Drugs on the GTP Binding Site of Tubulin
Cell and Developmental Biology, College of Letters & Science

Risa Jensen – Emotions, Message Framing, and Persuasion
Sociology & Communication, College of Letters & Science

Henry Morse – Applied Microbial Extracellular Polysaccharides as a Method of Increasing Plant Production
Biochemistry, College of Creative Studies

Dinh Nhan – The Role of YciB Protein in E.coli
Microbiology, College of Letters & Science

Kelly Noah – Mindfulness Meditation Effects on Breast Cancer Survivorship Stress
Biochemistry, College of Creative Studies

Tyler Ogunmowo – Understanding the Generation of Sleep Patterns using the Fruit Fly
Biochemistry, College of Letters & Science

Gold Okafor – Did I Do That?: Locating and Disrupting Neural Processing for the Sense of Agency
Biopsychology, College of Letters & Science

Alexander Smolentsev – Making the Familiar Novel - Familiarity in a Virtual Environment and its Effect on Immersion
Biopsychology, College of Letters & Science