Titan Grad Slam 2023

Interested in presenting your thesis or research? The Grad Slam event showcases and celebrates the wide array of excellent research and creative activity taking place at the graduate level. During the competition, participants are allowed 3 minutes and one PowerPoint slide to present their research to a non-expert audience. Enter our annual Titan Grad Slam now!

Titan Grad Slam ApplicationOpens in new window

Want to present but need assistance? You can see what these 3-minute talks look like from last year's competition here.

Important Dates

  • Titan Grad Slam submission deadline - April 4, 2023 5:00 PM
  • Titan Grad Slam – April 12, 2023, 3:00-4:00pm - Register to attend now!Opens in new window (Live virtual event)
  • CSU Grad Slam – May 5, 2023 (Live virtual event)

Titan Grad Slam Cash Prizes

  • $500 for first-place winners
  • $200 for second-place winners
  • $100 for third-place winners

Presentation Format - Submission Instructions

  • In order to submit, you must fill out the application form and include an abstract (100 words or fewer) describing your work.
  • Presentations have to be spoken word (no song, rap, poem, or dance) and should not exceed three minutes.
  • Students can use one static slide to accompany their presentation. You may not use any animations, movements, videos, sound, or other electronic media.
  • Your personal background may be a neutral background or a solid color.
  • No props can be used.
  • You must use original work from your thesis, dissertation, graduate project, or any other research, or creative projects. The topic can focus on the development of new ideas, methods, or products, or it may focus on the application and revision of current methods or models. Students in MFA or other creative degree programs should focus on how their creative work applies to the broader exchange of ideas and the role it plays in providing new perspective or changing attitudes.
  • If you have any questions about the Titan Grad Slam submission requirements, please contact gradstudiesrecept@fullerton.edu.

Titan Grad Slam Event

  • If you are selected to participate, you will present your three-minute talk in a live virtual event on April 12, 2023 from 3:00-4:00pm.
  • The timer begins when you engage the audience. If you exceed your three minutes, you will be disqualified.
  • Judges will rate each competitor with a common rubric and winners will be announced at the end of the event. In the event of a tie, a representative from Graduate Studies will break the tie.
  • The two first-place winners will move on to the live virtual CSU Grad Slam.

Titan Grad Slam Judging Criteria

Comprehension and Content

  1. Did the presentation provide an understanding of the background and significance of the research question being addressed, while explaining terminology and avoiding jargon?
  2. Did the presentation clearly describe the impact and/or results of the research, including conclusions and outcomes?
  3. Did the presenter follow a clear and logical sequence?
  4. Was the research communicated in language appropriate to a non-specialist audience?
  5. Did the presenter spend adequate time on each element of their research? Did they elaborate for too long on one aspect or was the presentation rushed?

Engagement and Communication

  1. Did the presenter careful not to trivialize or generalize their research?
  2. Did the presenter convey enthusiasm for the research? Did the oration make the audience want to know more?
  3. Did the presenter capture and maintain the audience’s attention?
  4. Did the speaker have vocal range, maintain a steady pace, and demonstrate confidence?
  5. Did the slide enhance the presentation? Was the image clear, properly-sized and concise?

Tips for an Extra Slammin’ Talk

  • A web search for “Grad Slam winners” will reveal excellent examples of successful talks for your reference.
  • Keep your language simple and accessible for someone outside of your field.
  • Think of it like telling a short story with an introduction, middle, and end.
  • Write a script to guide your thinking. Practice and revise until you can give your talk without the script. When you record or present, don’t read directly from the script, since it will not feel as natural and engaging. Look and talk directly at your camera.
  • If you need assistance with your presentation, you can request a session with the CSUF Graduate Studies leadership team! Email gradstudiresrecept@fullerton.edu and we will schedule a meeting with you.

Titan Grad Slam Judges

Darren Jones Professional Shot

Darren Jones

Darren Jones is the Executive Director, Strategy and Transformation for Enterprise Technology at The Walt Disney Company where he has worked for the past fourteen years.  Darren is a proud 1991 graduate of Cal State Fullerton with a Bachelors in Business Administration and he also holds a MBA in Marketing from Wayne State University in Michigan. Darren sits on a number of Boards including: Cal State Fullerton Philanthropic Foundation, Cal State Fullerton Alumni Association, Pathways of Hope and the Beechwood School Foundation.





Nicholas HeadshotNicholas Cabeza

Nicholas Cabeza serves as the Government Affairs Analyst for the City of Long Beach in the Office of the City Manager. In this capacity, Nicholas monitors and analyzes legislative and policy proposals in accordance with the adopted Federal and State Legislative Agendas.

Nicholas Cabeza has worked in government relations for several years in Long Beach. Formerly as the Long Beach Field Representative for Assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell, Nicholas served as a liaison between the Assemblymember and constituents, public agencies, businesses, non-profits, and community-based organizations. Most recently, Nicholas worked at the California School Boards Association, where he planned and executed government affairs activities and strategic engagements between school board members in Southeast Los Angeles County and state and federal legislators.

Nicholas Cabeza holds a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Southern California, and a bachelor’s degree in public administration from California State University, Fullerton. Nicholas also serves on the Cal State Fullerton Alumni Association Board of Directors as President-Elect. 



Binod Tiwari smilingBinod Tiwari

Dr. Tiwari joined CSUF in 2006 as a tenure track assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering. He was promoted to associate professor with tenure in 2012 and given an early promotion to professor in 2015. He's supervised more than 200 undergraduate, graduate, community college, high school, and short-term international students on faculty-student research projects. The University has recognized Dr. Tiwari's dedication to teaching with several awards, including the CSUF 2017 Outstanding Professor Award. He earned his Ph.D. in environmental management science and geotechnical engineering from Niigata University in Niigata, Japan. Additionally, he received his post-doctoral studies in geotechnical engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Currently, he is an editor of more than four prestigious journals in civil engineering.




Ava phillips smilingAva Phillips

Ava Phillips is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with a private practice in Claremont, CA. She graduated from Cal State Fullerton in 1997 with a Master of Counseling degree in Marriage, Family and Child Counseling. She has a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Cal State Dominguez Hills. Ava currently serves as the Chief Financial Officer on the board of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists. She serves as Secretary on the board for Parktree Community Health Center in Pomona, CA. She has served her community in the mental health field for over 27 years. Ava is quoted as saying, “I’ve had the humble privilege and honor of working with people of all ages, ethnicities, socioeconomic levels, cultural backgrounds and lifestyles to change and improve their lives.”