Students currently in Communication 101 tested their speaking skills last week, as they competed in the Lee Sherman Dreyfus Comm 101 Speaking Contest.
The contest is an opportunity for students to give speeches for the chance to win scholarship money. Students may participate in either the informative or persuasive categories, with each category having around 20-25 students participating.
Dr. Cade Spaulding, a professor at the University Wisconsin-Stevens Point, described how students could get involved with the event.
“When the students give their speeches the instructional assistants pick out the ones that did an exceptional job on their presentations in class. Then they approach them and invite them to participate in the contest,” Spaulding said.
Students may also participate without being selected after obtaining permission from the instructional assistant teaching their class. Students that were enrolled in Comm 101 last semester are also invited to participate.
After the preliminary round, the best speeches are selected to move on to a final round that was held on April 19. The three best speeches from each category win a part of the scholarship money that is available.
The judges for the final rounds are different every year and are selected from around the area.
“This year we have a lawyer from Wausau that has about 30 years experience in law,” Spaulding said. “We also have Andrew Stoner from the division of communication who has a real rich history in public relations.”
The Lee Sherman Dreyfus family provides the funding for making the event possible and are the reason why scholarship money is available as a prize.
Jared Pankow, a student double majoring in communication and Spanish, participated in the informative category.
“I think it highlights the fact that more and more employers are looking for communication skills,” Pankow said. “You have to make a balance between your own words and valid research that backs it up.”
Brianna Parker, a student majoring in media studies, also participated in the contest.
“It’s a good resume builder, even if you don’t win you can say you participated,” Parker said.
The Lee Sherman Dreyfus Comm 101 Speaking Contest allows students to test skills that will be useful to them their entire lives, no matter what field they end up in.
It teaches that good communication is more than public speaking and that the skills they have learned in Comm 101 will apply to a number of other communication applications every day of their lives.