For the past four years, the Penn community has gathered in late February for an afternoon of TED Talk-style presentations by Penn Arts & Sciences graduate students representing the Humanities, Social Sciences, Natural Sciences, and Professional Master’s programs. Penn Grad Talks (formerly known as Grad Ben Talks) is going virtual this year!

What is it?

A series of TED Talk-style presentations by Penn Arts & Sciences graduate students representing the humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and professional master’s programs. Up to five finalists in each category will be selected to record an 8-minute talk which will be released to the public online during the week of March 1. Judges will select winners in each category for a $500 cash prize. There will also be one $500 prize for the overall Audience Choice Winner selected by online votes. Winners will be announced in a virtual reception at the end of the week.

Who is eligible to enter?

Students who are currently enrolled in a doctoral or master's program through the School of Arts & Sciences Graduate Division, or in a master's program in the School of Arts & Sciences College of Liberal and Professional Studies.

Why would I do this?

This is a great opportunity to see if you can describe your work so that your grandmother would understand you. You will get an edited recording of your talk and feedback from our panel of judges made up of a Penn faculty member, communications staffer, and a fellow grad student from another discipline. Did we mention there are cash prizes?

When does it take place?

The videos will be released by category throughout the week of March 1. We will hold a virtual reception at the end of the week to announce the winners and celebrate.

Where does it take place?

The entire event will take place online this year due to COVID-19 restrictions. Presentations will be pre-recorded and distributed on Penn Arts & Sciences social media accounts and website. The celebratory reception will take place live in Zoom Meetings.

How do I enter?

Interested students should submit abstracts (no more than 200 words) describing their proposed topic no later than close of business on Friday, January 22, 2021 using the entry link above.

Up to five finalists will be selected from entries in each category to record a video presentation for the event. Selected finalists will be notified in the beginning of February. Finalists will be asked to record their talks using Zoom and to submit recordings by February 17. All applicants will need to indicate that they agree for their talks to be posted online.

Tech support for Zoom recordings will be available from Penn Arts & Sciences.

Click HERE for more information on Penn Grad Talks, including winning presentations from previous years.