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Now Hear This UD!

Student speakers shine at public speaking competition

Seven student speakers competed in the fifth annual Now Hear This UD! (NHTUD) public speaking competition April 19 at the University of Delaware.

The event, with the theme Dare to Shine, showcased undergraduate speakers with topics focused on issues that affect global communities, personal wellbeing and the environment.

Amanda Defilippis, a junior communication major, won first place with her speech, An Endangered Species: The Dying Coral Reefs.

Other winners included

• Second place: Sydney Bruck, a senior pre-veterinary medicine and animal biology major, for Pollinator Population Decline;

• Third place: Emily Goldner, a sophomore accounting and finance major for Obesity; and

• Audience favorite: Noah Mogil, a sophomore entrepreneurship and technical innovation major for Stoicism Applied Today.

Other finalists included Fawn Bartok, a sophomore communication major for Education Reform; Jia Mohnani, a senior finance and financial planning major for Unlocking Your Subconscious Mind; and John Wehmeyer, a sophomore operations management major for Positive Effects of Youth Sports.

Mogil noted the benefits of such an event on campus. “Not only did I get to meet other UD students,” he said, “I most importantly was able to practice my public speaking skills. These skills are an asset in the business world, and there is only one way to get better, through practice.”

While the event spotlighted some of UD’s best undergraduate speakers, it also brought important issues to the forefront.

“Beyond highlighting the talents of our great student speakers, we wanted NHTUD to serve as a platform to discuss issues that can have an impact on all of us,” said event organizer Christopher Volker, associate director of oral communication within the University Writing Centers.

Defilippis agreed. “It is very inspiring to see other students talk about an issue that is important to them and overcome any fears they may have, to do so,” she said.

Speakers were selected based on a two-step application and audition process. Each finalist was then paired with an Oral Communication Fellow, an undergraduate public speaking tutor within the University Writing Centers, to serve as a “coach” prior to the main event.

The event was sponsored by Fountainhead Press, the Center for Political Communication, the Office of the Provost and the Department of Communication. In addition, NHTUD was planned and staffed by the COMM351: Oral Communication Fellows course as a part of their semester assignments, taught by Volker.


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