Grad Slam 2024 Final Judges

The five judges below will choose the 1st, 2nd, and 3nd place awardees from among the finalists at the live Grad Slam event on April 3, 2024. A separate set of screening judges reviewed initial video entries and selected the finalists.

Erin Allday

Erin Allday is a reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle who covers gender and sexuality. Previously, she was a longtime health writer with a focus on covering infectious diseases, including HIV/AIDS and the COVID pandemic. A Southern California native, Erin has lived in the Bay Area since graduating UC Berkeley. Before joining the Chronicle in 2006, Erin worked at newspapers all over the Bay Area covering topics such as business and technology, city government, and education. 

Ranyee Chiang

Ranyee Chiang, PhD '08 is a director at the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, where she leads the Meteorology and Measurement Division. Previously, she worked with the United Nations Foundation, and with the American Association for the Advancement of Science as a science policy fellow. She received her PhD in Biological and Medical Informatics at UCSF, and did a postdoc at NYU, where her research focused on teaching and learning about scientific evidence. Ranyee is a past board member of the Graduate Division Alumni Association.

Brian Feng

Brian Feng, PhD '07 is a principal investigator at Calico Life Sciences. His lab uses scalable, information-rich methods such as high-content imaging to explore age-related processes and diseases. joining Calico, Brian spent many years working at Novartis, applying phenotypic screening to the discovery of new antibiotics. He has also worked at X (formerly google[x]), an Alphabet-backed company specializing in “moonshot” research projects. Brian received his PhD in Chemistry and Chemical Biology at UCSF, and did postdoctoral research at Stanford with mentor James Chen. He is a current board member of the Graduate Division Alumni Association.

Kristen Harknett

Kristen Harknett, PhD is a professor of Social and Behavioral Sciences at UCSF, and director of the Sociology PhD program. Her research and teaching interests include unstable work schedules and worker health and well-being, kin and social support, family demography, quantitative methods, and policy evaluation. Kristen also co-directs The Shift Project, a large-scale survey and research study of low-wage workers in the service sector, which maps the connections between schedule instability and other working conditions and worker health and well-being. She received a PhD in Sociology and Demography from Princeton University.

Laura Persson

Laura Persson, PhD is a postdoctoral scholar in UCSF's Department of Cell and Tissue Biology, working in the lab of mentor Noelle L'Etoile. Her research looks at the intersection of RNA interference, DNA repair, and behavior by exploring the role of an RNA interference-related protein, Nrde-2, during DNA damage in human cells and worms. Laura provided engaging insight into her research process in her first-prize-winning talk at UCSF Postdoc Slam 2023, entitled The Wormnado: What a Tiny Worm Can Teach Us About Collective Behavior. She received her PhD at Stanford.