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Grad Slam Finalist Profile: Immunology Graduate Student Chelsea Kelland

Meet Chelsea Kelland, Immunology Graduate Student and Grad Slam Finalist

Chelsea Kelland (she/her)

Program, Degree & Year of Study
Graduate Group of Immunology, Ph.D., 3rd Year

Research Interest
Osteoimmunology and Autoimmunity

Previous Degree and College
B.S. in Biology with dual-minor in Chemistry and Spanish from Xavier University of Louisiana

Title of Grad Slam Presentation
The Impact of Inflammation on Bone-Eaters in Arthritis

Describe your presentation style in three words
Conversational, Engaging, Concise

What did you do to prepare for Grad Slam?
In undergrad, I took a 'Science Communications' course, which interested me in presenting science as a speech, versus the conventional style of PowerPoint and poster presentations. The lack of visuals made preparing the speeches much harder. However, it gave me the tools and 'know-how' to break down these large, intricate concepts into simpler scenarios that everyone can understand. I applied these same methods to create my Grad Slam presentation on my current work.

What initially attracted you to your field of study?
I'm an immunologist at heart. I've been fascinated with the human body and its many systems since I was a child playing operation. Over time this fascination and curiosity morphed into a passion for science and medicine. Finally, my experiences in biomedical research as an undergrad confirmed my desire to perform research and immunology. It just felt like the perfect fit for me and my interests.

Grad Slam is about presenting complex ideas for a general audience. Why would people want to learn more about your research?
I think people have a misconception about arthritis and its many forms. We are taught that this is a disease that 'just happens' when, in actuality, it's much more complex. I want them to recognize this and become more engaged in the work that my lab, and other labs, are performing.

What do you like to do in your free time?
I love to watch movies, go on long walks, and (when the world is open again) go to the gym.

Do you have any mentors who helped you develop your interest and strength in research communication? If so, how did they help you?
I was first introduced to research my freshman year of college when I studied Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia under the tutelage of Dr. Thomas Huckaba. This experience introduced me to the world of research and its endless possibilities—I've been hooked ever since. 

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I plan to pursue a career in academia as I want to function as a mentor to marginalized and minority undergraduate students interested in research and graduate studies. As such, I see myself working as a faculty member conducting research in a university environment in ten years.

Learn More About UC Davis Grad Slam Finalists

Good luck at the competition, Chelsea. 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.

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