Royce Olarte, a Ph.D. candidate in Mathematics Education in the Gevirtz School Department of Education, earned the Runner-Up award and a $1,000 prize in the Final Round of the UC Santa Barbara 2024 Grad Slam research presentation competition held on April 5.

Grad Slam is an annual event that spotlights the research being done by graduate students at UC Santa Barbara. Students present their research in 3-minute talks that are evaluated for accessibility, organization, delivery, and engagement.

The 2024 Grad Slam champion is Kacie Ring, a Ph.D. student in Ecology, Evolution & Marine Biology. Nakoa Ferrant from Environmental Science also earned a Runner-Up award, and Daniella Walter from Mechanical Engineering received the People’s Choice award.

Royce’s Grad Slam research topic was “Becoming a Math Professor: Graduate Students' Professional Identity Development." He is working with Dr. Sarah Roberts and broadly, his research interests are in postsecondary mathematics education, professional identity development of graduate students, and equity in higher education. Royce received his BS in Mathematics from La Sierra University in 2017, MS in Mathematics for Teachers from Portland State University in 2018, and MA in Education from UCSB in 2022. Prior to attending UCSB, Royce was an adjunct mathematics professor, primarily teaching courses in pre-calculus, calculus, and data science. 

In March, Round 1 of Grad Slam featured 5 students from the Gevirtz School of Education. Royce earned the First Place $1,000 award and advanced to represent Education in the Final Round competition. The Round 1 Runner Up award and $500 prize went to Hui Zhang, a Ph.D. candidate in Education, and her topic was titled "Factors that Impact Immigrant Parents' Services Choices for their Children with Autism." 

Round 1 included the following students and their research from the departments of Education and Counseling, Clinical and School Psychology:

Miriam Burnett (Education) - "A Cause for Concern: Historical Implication of Legacies of Racism and Intersectionality on Concepts of Sense of Belonging at Predominately Non-Black Institutions in Higher Education in the U.S."

Arnold Rodriguez Robles (Counseling, Clinical & School Psychology Dept.) - "Exploring the Intricacies of Language and Executive Functioning"

Joaquin Becerra (Education) - "Hispanic-Serving Institution: Servingness & Campus Climate."