Grad students to give elevator pitches about their research

Faculty, staff and students are invited to hear Rice graduate students give 90-second summaries of their research or studies in the first campuswide Graduate Student Elevator Pitch Competition May 2 from 4 to 6:30 p.m. in Duncan Hall’s McMurtry Auditorium.

The competition was originally planned for April 12 but had to be rescheduled when a member of the audience experienced a medical emergency and was hospitalized. He has since recovered.

The competition will give grad students an opportunity to convey the importance of their work just as if they were in an elevator with a potential investor and had to convince that person to fund their research. Faculty, staff, alumni and community members have volunteered to judge the contest.

“Differing from traditional elevator pitch competitions, this competition won’t necessarily reward the student whose idea makes the best commercial sense; rather, it will focus on students’ ability to engage their audience intellectually,” said Arnaud Chevallier, associate vice provost of academic affairs and graduate studies.

Cash prizes will be awarded to the top three participants — $500 for first place, $300 for second and $200 for third. And one student will win an iPad mini based on the audience’s vote of their favorite pitch.

The first round of pitches is scheduled from 4 to 5 p.m. After a 15-minute intermission, the second round will be held from 5:15 to 6. An awards reception with light refreshments is scheduled for 6 to 6:30.

Because seating is limited, people who want to attend should RSVP to

The Graduate Student Association and the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies are sponsoring the competition.

About B.J. Almond

B.J. Almond is senior director of news and media relations in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.