Research Rockstars Undergrad Slam

Research Rockstars Undergrad Slam at UC Davis


1st PLACE: Seth Strumwasser, Ecology, Evolution, and Biodiversity

2nd PLACE: Annie Wang, Materials Science and Engineering

3rd PLACE (tie):  Joleen Cheah, Biological Sciences
                         Tanner Van Es, Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior

PEOPLES CHOICE: WIlliam Bennett, Geology

HONORABLE MENTION: David Dominguez, Chemical Physics

William Bennett, Geology

Joleen Cheah, Biological Sciences

David Dominguez, Chemical Physics

Tanner Van Es, Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior

Annie Wang, Materials Science & Engineering

Seth Strumwasser, Ecology, Evolution, and Biodiversity

The Undergraduate Research Center is partnering with the Exploratorium to sponsor the first-ever “Research Rockstars” Undergrad Slam video contest for undergraduate researchers to showcase their research, scholarship or design project and win up to $500!!  This contest is open to all students in all disciplines! 

This contest follows a popular tradition of the UC Grad Slam, which is an annual contest for graduate students to communicate their research. The Grad Slam aims to make research accessible by providing emerging scientists and scholars with the skills to engage the public in their work. Participants are judged on how well they engage the audience, how clearly they communicate key concepts and how effectively they focus and present their ideas—all in three minutes or less.  Now undergrads get their chance!!

Showcase your research, scholarship or design project by making a 3-minute video explaining your research project and its impact. Win cash prizes up to $500, as well as bragging rights, for the best videos - and the opportunity to work with Exploratorium: The Museum of Science, Art and Human Perception ( in San Francisco to develop an exhibit or other ideas to further showcase your research.  

Check out recent winners of the Grad Slam:


Reviewer’s choice awards (1st, 2nd and 3rd Place awards, up to $500): Winners will be judged on academic and/or scientific merit, quality of the content/message, and creativity used in the production and narration of the video. A panel of reviewers will help choose the winners (first place award = $500, second place award = $300 and third place award = $200). Reviewers include UC Davis faculty, members of CapSciComm, and Exploratorium Program Directors.

Popular choice award ($300): Involve your friends and family!  The video with the highest number of popular/audience votes (i.e. views) will win the popular choice award ($300).


All applicants must currently be pursuing undergraduate research and fit the following criteria:

  • Undergraduate student at UC Davis; any year, any discipline (currently enrolled or graduated in the 2017-18 academic year)
  • Research, scholarship or design project performed under the guidance of a UC Davis faculty sponsor in any area.
  • Make a 3-minute YouTube video featuring and explaining your research appropriate for a wider audience.  Your video cannot be longer than 3 minutes!
  • Upload video on YouTube so it is publically viewable.  If you don't clicked Publish, your video won’t be viewable by other people.  Include a title (up to 100 characters) and description (up to 5000 characters) when you upload your video on YouTube.
  • Along with your video, submit a 200-word description of the project and/or experimental method as well as the larger context of the project. This description should also be appropriate for a wider audience.  Please try to avoid discipline-specific jargon in your description.
  • The student entering the contest must conceptualize, direct, and narrate; editing and technical assistance is allowed.
  • The video should include some glimpses featuring the student performing their research.
  • The video should include an audio narration outlining the background and description. Overall creativity is encouraged in the communication style.
  • Once uploaded on YouTube, the link and 200-word description should be submitted in the application form here.  (
  • If you show research in a lab, you MUST be wearing proper PPE and have permission of the lab PI.  If you don’t, UC Davis websites cannot post it.
  • If you use music in your video, you MUST use royalty-free music!  If you don’t, your video will be booted from YouTube and UC Davis websites cannot post it.
  • Take ownership of your research, but make sure to give proper acknowledgements to facilities, faculty, staff, lab-mates, friends and family that are in your video or involved with your research, when appropriate.
  • Make sure to include that your research was performed at UC Davis.  You are also encouraged to include your name and major.
  • If you wish to participate in the contest as a group of undergraduate students from a research team/lab, you are most welcome to do so. However, there should be only one leading researcher who should conceptualize and direct the video. Also, he/she should be the person entering the contest as the applicant on the submission form and be submitting one video on behalf of the group in the application. (If the applicant is declared a winner, he/she is most welcome to share the cash award with the team members!)



DEADLINE:  WEDNESDAY, MAY 30, 2018, at 5:00 p.m.

Blue and gold rectangle link button with the words