Flash Pitch Competition


Videos of 2021 FlashPitch Finalist Presentations.

Second Annual FlashPitch Competition

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

  • Presenting your research to an interdisciplinary audience.
  • Developing critical elevator pitch skills in order to clearly communicate your research in networking situations, at conferences and in the job market.
  • Delivering a pitch on your research agenda, research interests or a specific research project.

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

Registration will be open from February 23 - March 23 to submit your FlashPitch video.

Finalists will be announced by Monday, April 4. 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 Monday, April 11.

Preparing your FlashPitch Workshop

To prepare for the competition, join LaunchNet and the Division of Graduate Studies for a virtual workshop on Tuesday, March 8 at 12 p.m. Eastern Time to learn more about how to prepare your pitch for the competition. You can register for the workshop via the workshop registration form or email kreynol3@kent.edu for the link to attend. 

Students can also make a pitch meeting appointment with LaunchNet to discuss and received feedback on their pitch for the competition.

View this handout on crafting an elevator pitch

Judging Criteria

Communicating your Research Question: Effectively communicate a clear and focused research question(s) 

Communicating Why your Research Matters and Possible Impact or Implications: Effectively communicate why the research is important and why it has value. Communicate what the potential implications of engaging in this research might be and what issues or problems it might address, better understand or solve.

Engagement: Convey enthusiasm for the research while capturing and maintaining the audience's attention and interest in the research.

Organization and Clarity: Organize the presentation logically, with clarity, and provide appropriate context for someone outside the specific discipline to understand.

View the Rubric


  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/interests.
  2. When presenting, students should explain their research interests, their research question(s), and address why the research matters (ex: what gaps in the current research does this address or what are 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 Wednesday, March 23.
  5. Students can record their video using the camera on their phone or by recording themselves with a laptop webcam by using Zoom or Microsoft Teams that allows you to download your video as a MP4 file. You can upload a the MP4 video file to the registration form. If you have issues with recording or uploading your video, contact Kyle Reynolds at kreynol3@kent.edu and he can assist.


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.

Virtual Presentation Tips Handout

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

2021 FlashPitch Finalists 

Thank you to everyone who participated in our first annual FlashPitch competition in 2021, 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