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Doctoral Student Awarded 1st Place in CSULB Grad Slam

Published June 25, 2021
Nicholas Matthews
Nicholas Matthews

Nicholas Matthews, a third-year doctoral student in the College of Education’s Educational Leadership program, won first place in the 2021 CSULB Grad Slam competition. Matthews’ winning submission in the non-STEM category shared his research on accessible instructional materials and disabled student success.

Grad Slam at CSULB is a campus-wide competition for the best short graduate student research presentation. The video presentation is judged by a panel who look for comprehension, content, engagement, and oration. Successful Grad Slam presentations engage a non-specialist audience, while communicating key details about their research in three minutes or less.


Below Matthews shares his thoughts on what earning this distinction means to him and his professional plans after completing his doctoral degree.

Q: What does this distinction and award mean to you as a doctoral student? 

A: I think it means two things. First, this award validates the importance of my dissertation topic. As I shared in my research, making instructional materials accessible for college students with disabilities is a critical equity consideration, and I am glad the Grad Slam judges agreed. Second, this award speaks to the quality of the Ed.D. program and the caliber of its faculty. My ability to communicate rigorous scholarly findings in just a short three-minute video was due in no small part to the outstanding instruction and guidance I received throughout my three years in the program.

Q: What are your professional plans after completing your doctoral degree? 

A: I am tenured faculty at Cerritos College, and while that won't change in the short term, my doctorate degree has perfectly situated me to advance accessibility at Cerritos as a scholar-practitioner. I recently accepted a reassigned time position as a faculty Distance Education Coordinator. In this role, I will be assisting my colleagues across campus with making their instructional materials more accessible as well as providing general distance education support. I also plan to seek out collaborations with colleagues on other campuses as well as opportunities to further build upon and share my dissertation research. The sky's the limit!

Watch Matthews’ Grad Slam video submission.