Grad Slam Finalist Profile: Biomedical Engineering Graduate Student Abby Nielsen
Meet Abby Niesen, Biomedical Engineering Graduate Student and Grad Slam Finalist
Abby Niesen (she/her)
Program, Degree, and Year of Study
Biomedical Engineering, Ph.D. program, 3rd year
Previous Degrees and College
B.S. in Civil Engineering from Tufts University
M.S. in Biomedical Engineering from the University of California, Davis
Title of Grad Slam Presentation
A Knee’d For Individualized Care and Implant Longevity
Describe your presentation style in three words.
Clear, Engaging, Informative
What did you do to prepare for Grad Slam?
To prepare for Grad Slam, I attended many of the workshops offered by Grad Pathways Institute focused on presentation structure and tips for making presentations more engaging. I also completed an online course over the summer titled, "Share Your Research: How to Give a Good Talk" which reinforced many of these concepts.
What initially attracted you to your field of study?
I originally received my bachelor's degree in civil engineering studying the mechanics of structures, but in my spare time I'm very active and enjoy hiking, biking, rock climbing. These pastimes made me start thinking of the human body as a mechanical structure, as it is also subjected to loading which can lead to injury. The field of orthopedic biomechanics allows me to combine engineering and clinical science resulting in a perfect fit!
Grad Slam is about presenting complex ideas for a general audience. Why would people want to learn more about your research?
My research is very relatable since I work directly with patients undergoing knee replacement surgery, a common surgical procedure that impacts about 1 million Americans with advanced knee osteoarthritis each year. Hence, my research has the ability to impact anyone who will develop knee osteoarthritis and require a knee replacement in the future.
What do you like to do in your free time?
When I'm feeling active, I enjoy rock climbing at Rocknasium and The Boulder Field, hiking near Lake Tahoe, or biking around Davis. At home, I get crafty with DIY home projects (anything that involves wood and paint) and experiment with new recipes (like homemade pizza) in the kitchen.
Do you have any mentors who helped you develop your interest and strength in research communication? If so, how did they help you?
My research advisor taught me that research is most impactful when it is effectively communicated with others, which is especially true for my project since I have the responsibility of calling prospective patients, explaining the goals of my project, and asking if they are interested in enrolling in my study. This is one of the main reasons I decided to improve my scientific communication skills for general audiences. Overall, I learned that the most important thing when communicating science is to think about your audience whether they are your colleagues, clinical staff, or even your parents and use terminology that makes sense for the situation.
Learn More About UC Davis Grad Slam Finalists
Good luck at the competition, Abby. Be sure to read all of the Grad Slam Finalist Profiles.
Watch the Final Round Virtual Competition
This year, the continuing COVID-19 pandemic has added a new video component to the already challenging public speaking event. The finalists will compete against each other at the UC Davis Final Round during National Graduate and Professional Student Appreciation Week. Cheer on the Grad Slam finalists virtually on Thursday, April 8, from 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. RSVP to reserve your spot!
The winner of the campus final round will have the opportunity to compete at the University of California-wide competition on May 7. In 2019, UC Davis champion and Plant Biology Ph.D. candidate Katie Murphy went on to win the top University of California prize of $6,000. Visit the Grad Slam website to learn more about UC Davis Grad Slam.
UC Davis Grad Slam Sponsors
Graduate Studies would like to thank this year's UC Davis Grad Slam sponsors for their generosity and support.
The Office of Research serves as the primary campus resource for matters related to research and technology commercialization. OR provides services and resources to simulate research, facilitate collaborations, optimize infrastructure, ensure compliance and translate innovations into commercial applications for societal benefit. Learn more by visiting the UC Davis Office of Research website.
Public Scholarship and Engagement (PSE) is fostering a culture of engagement at UC Davis that increases the university’s impact through mutually-beneficial relationships that have local, regional, statewide, and global reach. We envision UC Davis research, teaching and learning that serves society and makes a positive difference in the world. Learn more by visiting the Public Scholarship and Engagement website.
Global Affairs brings the world to UC Davis, welcoming more than 10,000 international students, scholars and leaders, and hosting programs that inspire global curiosity, understanding and engagement. Compelled by the valuable outcomes of thinking globally, we make transformative opportunities a reality by supporting the thousands of students and faculty learning and researching globally—and by facilitating collaborations that tackle the world’s most pressing challenges through more than 150 global partnerships. Putting our vision of a UC Davis community that engages, thrives, and leads in this interconnected world into action, Global Affairs is in pursuit of an ambitious goal: Global Education for All.
About Graduate Studies
Graduate Studies at UC Davis includes over 100 dynamic degree programs and a diverse and interactive student body from around the world. Known for our state-of-the-art research facilities, productive laboratories and progressive spirit – UC Davis offers collaborative and interdisciplinary curricula through graduate groups and designated emphasis options, bringing students and faculty of different academic disciplines together to address real-world challenges.
UC Davis graduate students and postdoctoral scholars become leaders in their fields: researchers, teachers, politicians, mentors and entrepreneurs. They go on to guide, define and impact change within our global community.
For information on Graduate Studies’ current strategic initiatives, visit the Graduate Studies strategic plan page.