School of Medicine Doctoral Students Among Grad Thesis SLAM Winners

April 24, 2024 by

Cori Espelien (left), Aleksandra Cwiek, Caroline Riedstra

Cori Espelien (left), Aleksandra Cwiek, Caroline Riedstra

On Tuesday, April 16, nine doctoral candidates — five of whom are from the School of Medicine — met up on the Grad Thesis SLAM stage in Alumni Hall to compete for a $1,000 prize and bragging rights.

In what was one of the closest competitions in the 11-year history of the event, Cori Espelien, in the School of Engineering’s Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department took home the top prize, followed closely by the SOM’s Aleksandra Cwiek from the Department of Cell Biology and Caroline Riedstra from the Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Cancer Biology. Aleksandra also won the coveted Audience Choice Award. Also performing strong in the final competition were the SOM’s Alexys Riddick, Rossymar Rivera Colón, and Yuang Sun. Rounding out the nine presenters were Juliana Trujillo from the School of Engineering, and Melle Scholten and Natalie Thompson from the School of Arts and Sciences. Congratulations to all!

The Grad Thesis SLAM, hosted by PhD Plus and the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Affairs, challenges students to communicate their research in under 3 minutes in an engaging and understandable way for a general audience. Students may use a prop and only one PowerPoint slide (with animations, sound, or video) to help them convey their research story, so they must be strategic in their use of visuals and words.

To make it to the final stage, students first compete in a preliminary judging round, which took place the first week of April. At this stage, 18 students from across the university presented to a panel of judges and received constructive feedback on their presentations. The top nine got a chance to apply that feedback to their presentations for the final round.

Filed Under: Education, Research