Science Slam

Congratulations to Colleen Ray of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Department of Sociology, winner of the 2017 Science Slam!

Click here to see pictures from the 2017 Science Slam.


Nebraska MRSEC welcomed “Physics Girl” Dianna Cowern, keynote speaker and emcee for this year’s Science Slam!



Science Slam is a campus-wide contest where graduate and undergraduate researchers from ALL SCIENTIFIC DISCIPLINES are challenged to communicate their work in short, dynamic, and engaging presentations, with a winner to be decided by the audience. Relive the glory of our 2016 Science Slam here!

Dianna Cowern is a science communicator and educator. She is the primary content creator for her YouTube channel, Physics Girl with PBS Digital Studios. Dianna received her BS in physics from MIT before researching low-metallicity stars at the Harvard CfA and designing an iPad app as a software engineer at GE. She then pursued her career in STEM outreach working as an educator at the Reuben H Fleet Science Center and as a physics outreach coordinator at UCSD. Her work on Physics Girl has been featured on the Huffington Post, Slate Magazine, and Scientific American blogs.

Meet the 2017 Slam Finalists!



Catie Brown is a graduate student in the Department of Psychology with the Center for Brain, Biology, and Behavior.  In her Slam talk, “Office Chairs: Research’s Real Enemy,” she’ll tell us how, as a research psychologist, she learned the hard way that the small details really do matter, and that even the most inane and ridiculous errors are still just that—errors.

Lisa Poppe is a graduate student in the School of Biological Sciences with the Nebraska Center for Virology.  In her Slam talk, "I'm a Scientist?," she’ll discuss how our biggest mistakes may not be what we do, but rather what we fail to do, and explain why it is essential for scientists to share our work outside the scientific community.

Tom Luhring is a postdoctoral researcher in the School of Biological Sciences.  What do frogs, salamanders, UV lights, and rice cakes have in common?  Find out in Tom’s Slam talk, “Salamanders + Ostrich Burger = ???”, and hear his story about how love of the outdoors can come back to bite you.



Colleen Ray is a graduate student in the Department of Sociology.  In her Slam talk, “Slamming the Stigma," she’ll explain that while some research mistakes are short lived, others feel like they last a lifetime. Her story will reveal how 20 years of research mistakes helped to form a scientific identity.

Rachel Lukowicz is a senior undergraduate at Doane University. Have you ever tapped on the glass at an aquarium and watched the fish disperse? In her Slam talk, "Pulling Jello out of Jello: How to Extract Fish Brains," Rachel will explain how this fear response can be studied by removing the jello-like brain from the jello-like fish skull.

Nebraska MRSEC's 2017 Science Slam in the News:

Channel 8 Physics Girl Coverage 

MRSEC Nebraska

In the press

Nebraska Today
Lincoln Journal Star




Science Slam committee:

Jocelyn Bosley, Nebraska MRSEC Assistant Director for Education and Outreach
Rebecca Lai, Nebraska MRSEC Education/Outreach Director and Chemistry Prof
Ramesh Laungani, Doane University Biology Prof