Flash Pitch Competition

FlashPitch Award Recipients

Congratulations to the graduate students who were selected as award recipients for the Division of Graduate Studies’ first annual FlashPitch competition!
First Place: Fathima Nafrisha Cassim Bawa, Biomedical Sciences
Second Place: Angela Cappuzzello, School Psychology
Third Place: Mohsine Bensaid, Curriculum and Instruction, and Payel Datta, Chemistry and Biochemistry
People’s Choice Award: Stanley Seah, Psychological Science

Please click here to view the winner's elevator pitches

FlashPitch Finalists 

Thank you to everyone who participated in our first annual FlashPitch competition, and congratulations to the 10 individuals who were selected as finalists!
Mohsine Bensaid – Doctor of Philosophy in Curriculum and Instruction
Jessica Black – Master of Science in User Experience Design
Angela Cappuzzello – Doctor of Philosophy in School Psychology
Fathima Nafrisha Cassim Bawa – Doctor of Philosophy in Biomedical Sciences
Payel Datta – Doctor of Philosophy in Chemistry
Viveka Jenks – Doctor of Philosophy in Higher Education Administration
Eve Krueger – Master of  Fine Arts in Theatre Studies
Michael Palmieri – Doctor of Philosophy in Political Science
Heather Salvo – Doctor of Philosophy in Speech Pathology
Stanley Seah – Doctor of Philosophy in Psychological Science
View the 10 finalists’ elevator pitches below.


First Annual FlashPitch Competition

The Division of Graduate Studies is hosting its first FlashPitch competition – a 90-second elevator pitch competition for graduate students. Participants will gain experience in:

  • Presenting their research to an interdisciplinary audience.
  • Developing critical elevator pitch skills so you will be able to clearly communicate your research in networking situations, at conferences and in the job market.
  • Delivering a pitch on your research agenda or research interests.

In addition to gaining valuable experience, graduate students will be competing for cash prizes!

First Place: $400
Second Place: $250
Third Place: $150
People’s Choice: $150

You can register for the event on the FlashPitch registration formThe deadline to submit your pitch is by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on Friday, March 26. We’re looking forward to seeing your submission!

Finalists will be announced by Monday, April 5. Members of the Kent State community will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite pitch to help determine the People's Choice Award. Award recipients will be announced on Friday, April 9, during Graduate Student Appreciation Week.

Watch the workshop presentation by Graduate Studies and LaunchNet explaining how to participate and offering advice for crafting an effective pitch. (Must log in with kent.edu credentials to view video)

Judging Criteria

ProfessionalismRecommendations include wearing professional or business casual attire, presenting in front of a professional background that doesn't distract from the presentation, using professional language for an interdisciplinary audience, not reading from a script or consulting notes frequently and following rules and submission guidelines.

Communication and Engagement: Did the presenter express their ideas in a clear and effective manner? Did the presenter captivate the judges' attention? Did the presenter convey enthusiasm for their research agenda and/or research project? After hearing their pitch, did the judges want to learn more?

Content: Did the presenter clearly explain their research agenda and questions that their research plans to address? Did they briefly provide relevant context, background or define jargon terms to clearly communicate concepts?  Did they communicate the possible impact or implications of their research? Did they communicate the significance or value of conducting this research, which may include what gaps in scholarship the research might fill?

Time Management: Did the presenter deliver their pitch in the allotted 90 seconds? Did they spend an appropriate amount of time on specific elements of the research given the time constraints? Did they spend too much or too little on any particular element of their pitch?


  1. Graduate students have a maximum of 90 seconds to share a pre-recorded video without any visual aids (ex: no PowerPoint slides, props, poster presentations, etc.) delivering a pitch on an individual research project or their research agenda.
  2.  When presenting, students should explain their research interests, questions their research plans to address, briefly contextualize research within their field as needed,  identify what gaps exist in the research and discuss possible implications of the research.
  3. Videos of pitches must be recorded horizontally. Students can record their pitch  on their phone, laptop or other recording device. Students should upload their video file to the  FlashPitch registration form
  4. In order to be eligible, graduate students must submit their registration and video recording by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on Friday, March 26.


Dark environments impact the overall quality of your video because cameras do not perform well in dim lighting. Ensuring you are well lit guarantees the camera and therefore, your audience, can see you clearly. Look for a room in your home that has a lot of natural light. If you are using light from a window, ensure you are facing towards the window so light falls on you directly. Any additional lighting you can introduce will further improve the quality of your video. 

When filming your video at home, ensure you choose a very quiet environment where you have as much control over the sound as possible. For example, choose a small room where you have the ability to close all doors and windows. Make sure any noisy electronics in the room such as fans, air conditioners, computers, and phones are temporarily turned off. These technologies can be distracting to your audience.

Be aware of any audible interruptions you do not have control over such as airplanes, lawns mowers and cars. Consider filming during a quiet time of day such as early in the morning when there are likely to be less interruptions. If there are audio interruptions during your recording, do not continue. Wait it out and try again at a later point.

Aim for a clean, plain wall as your background, completely free of visual distractions from the waist up where you will be framing your shot. You may also consider recording your video with a professional background using a green screen or applying a background filter on video conference platforms like Zoom.

Make eye contact with the camera and avoid reading from notes or a script.