Mar 15, 2019
Xiaofei Lin with her award
Biochemistry graduate student Xiaofei “Fay” Lin (Hoffmann group) wins Audience Choice Award at the 5th Annual Grad Slam Final Competition.
      
Lin gave her prize-winning three-minute talk titled “Decrypting the Immune System Code” at the final competition on Wednesday, March 13, 2019, at the California NanoSystems Institute auditorium. The graduate students who participated in the competition were celebrated at a reception following the event.
 
UCLA's Grad Slam is an annual campus-wide competition that involves graduate students giving three-minute talks describing their research in layman's terms to a panel of judges. A video of Lin’s talk can be viewed here. Over 250 faculty, students, and researchers attended the event and over 300 viewers watched the live webcast.  Audience Choice is awarded to the talk that receives the most votes from the audience. 
 
The 11 finalists spanned disciplines from across campus including nursing, molecular biology, medicine, immunology, biochemistry, biomedical physics, english, spanish, pharmacology, and social sciences. "It was such a rewarding experience to compete among such a diverse and talented group of scholars and connect with the overall UCLA campus," Lin said. "Representing the Chemistry & Biochemistry Department was a great honor." 
 
Lin is a graduate student in the UCLA Biochemistry, Molecular and Structural Biology Program. She received a B.A. degree in biology from New York University, and is now working towards her Ph.D. in the laboratory of Prof. Alexander Hoffmann (UCLA Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics) as a Cellular and Molecular Biology Trainee. In 2018, Lin received national recognition as a NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) Honorable Mention recipient.
 
Biochemistry graduate student Xiaofei "Fay" Lin giving her award winning 3-minute pitch titled “Decrypting the Immune System Code”.
Biochemistry graduate student Xiaofei "Fay" Lin giving her award winning 3-minute pitch titled “Decrypting the Immune System Code”.
 
Lin (center) with Dean of UCLA Graduate Division Robin Garrell (left) and President of the UCLA Graduate Student Association Michael Skiles (right).
 
Chemistry & Biochemistry graduate students Katherine Bay (Houk group) and Jennifer Ngo (Orin group) were semi-finalists in the competition which is comprised of preliminary and semi-final rounds, culminating in a final competition and reception.  
 
2019 UCLA Grand Slam Winners - Nyasha Mafora (1st place), Allison Daly (2nd place), Joseph Friendman (3rd place), Xiaofei Lin (Audience Choice) - with Dean of UCLA Graduate Division Robin Garrell (far left) and President of the UCLA Graduate Student Association Michael Skiles (far right).
 
This year's first place winner, Nyasha Mafora (Biomedical Physics), will receive a $5,000 fellowship and advance to a UC-wide competition that will be held in San Francisco on May 10, 2019. Second and third place winners received fellowships in the amounts of $3,000 and $2,000 respectively, and Lin received the Audience Choice award of $1000.
 
The competition not only helps foster the important career development skill of articulating graduate research in an understandable and engaging way to those inside and outside the academic community, but it also highlights the excellence, importance and relevance of UCLA graduate students and their research.
 
UCLA’s Graduate Division and Graduate Student Association organize the yearly competition to encourage graduate students to learn to convey their research and ideas in a manner that anyone can understand and appreciate. 
 
 
Article by Penny Jennings, UCLA Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, penny@chem.ucla.edu. Talk photo courtesy of Fay Lin. Posed photos by Reed Hutchinson.