Pitch Competition

Rising Stars 2019 is pleased to announce a Research Summary Pitch competition!

Congratulations to the Rising Stars 2019 Pitch Competition Winners!

  • Natasha Jaques, “Social and Affective Machine Learning” (MIT)
  • Pardis Emami Naeini, “Privacy and Security Label for IoT Devices” (Carnegie Mellon University)
  • Shuang Chen “Managing Interactive Cloud Services on Current and Future Server Platforms” (Cornell University)
  • Elahe Soltanaghaei, “Sensing the Physical World Using Pervasive Wireless Infrastructure” (Carnegie Mellon University)

Eligibility: Open to all Rising Stars 2019 Participants

Competition Application Deadline: October 23, 2019. Applications are now closed.

The Competition

The competition is open to all Rising Stars participants.  Mentors and invited faculty members and Rising Stars Participants not competing will be in the audience. The winners will be announced at the dinner on October 31.

The Presentation

In 90 seconds, give an engaging presentation which introduces your research and its impact in a manner suitable for a general technical audience. Judges will not ask questions after the presentation.

Presentation Length

You will have a maximum of ninety seconds for your presentation, starting from when you begin to speak. A timer will display remaining presentation time. 


Based on the criteria below, judges will select four winners: two CS-related pitch and two ECE-related pitch. Winners will be invited back to the University of Illinois campus to present their talk in either the Illinois Computer Science Speaker series or the ECE Speaker Series depending upon their research focus. Winners will have travel, hotel, and meals paid for their invited talk.

Judges and Judging Criteria

The decisions of the judges are final. The judging panel will be comprised of people representing a range of disciplines and professional experience within Computer Science and ECE. Judges will evaluate each presentation based on the following criteria:

    • Clear presentation structure
    • Topics flow well
    • Captures audience interest
    • Explains the purpose of the work
    • Enough background information is provided to understand the topic
    • Clear explanation of role in the project
    • Complex terminology/jargon is explained
    • Conveys enthusiasm and passion
    • Keeps the audience’s attention
    • Effective performance style (eg. gestures, expressions, body language, volume, pace)


Slides are optional. You may submit up to two slides that will be displayed during your presentation. This slide is due on October 23.  Slides can be emailed to Jancie Philippus: risingstars2019@illinois.edu. Slides will be preloaded onto one computer and projected for the audience. Microphones will be provided.


Video, photographs, or audio recordings from the final round will be posted online. Video consent forms will be provided to competition participants.