Fall 2013 Honors Speech Contest

10855805693_18a6267178_bThe Fall 2013 Honors Speech Contest was out of its element this year due to the Rankin Center construction and absence of the Dome Room. Nevertheless, the speeches still went on… Just in Science 102. The usual amount of four finalists battled for the first place spot. The contestants are as follows:

First Place

10855525946_cb00bf4be0_bName: Aaron Zebolsky
Year: Freshman
Major: Pre-Medicine
Involvement: FSUbuntu, Tutoring at the Office of Multicultural Student Services (OMSS), Lab Research with Dr. Hoerter, Fall 2013 Honors Speech Contest
Achievements: Woodbridge N. Ferris Scholarship, 1st Place Fall 2013 Honors Speech Contest

Speech Topic: The Artificial Retina: a device that partially restores vision to people who have gone completely blind because of a disease called Retinitis Pigmentosa. It was developed fairly recently by Dr. Mark Humayun and a multitude of other scientists, doctors, and corporations.

Even though Aaron won the speech contest, he wasn’t originally planning to enter the competition. “I felt I gave the speech pretty poorly in class, but my professor and a couple of my classmates said I should [compete],” Aaron confessed. Even though most people get nervous public speaking and are prone to mistakes when giving a speech due to nerves or inexperience, Aaron wasn’t going to live with ending his speech on a less-than-satisfactory note. “My real motivation was to redeem myself, because I knew I could do it better than I did in class.

Aaron is (obviously) more than happy with how he redeemed himself with his speech. “It nice to have some professors come up to me afterwards and say I did well,” Aaron commented. “It was a great experience. I now have something to list under the “achievements” section of graduate school applications!”


10855615584_98253b0695_bName: Wayne Bersano
Year: Freshman
Major: Hotel and Restaurant Management
Involvement: Student Government, National Society for Minorities in Hospitality, Newman Center, Crossfit Frigid, Fall 2013 Honors Speech Contest
Achievements: Fall 2013 Honors Speech Contest Runner-Up, Eagle Scout, Michigan Student Service Award, Mayor of Pinconning Scholarship, SC Johnson Scholarship, Dow Corning Scholarship, Knights of Columbus Scholarship, Morning Rotary Club Scholarship, United Bay Community Credit Union Scholarship, Ruth L. Shattuck Scholarship, Provost’s Scholarship, Top 5 of High School Class

Speech Topic: Bullying and why it needs to be stopped, giving a more in-depth look at what is currently happening, for instance, in the NFL and schools. Some information about the “Trevor Project” (an organization “supporting people who are gay, bisexual, transgender, or questioning”) and what they are doing to fight bullying.

Weary about giving his speech, Wayne received a little “nudge” from his professor, Mr. TJ Lakin, to speak in the contest. “On a whim, I decided to compete in the speech contest,” he said. “But I got a lot more experience in public speaking, first and foremost. I had the opportunity to speak about a topic I chose because of my passion for it.”

Besides enlightening his audience on bullying and current, social situations relating to his topic, Wayne also was enlightened. “I noticed positive and negative things I do while speaking in front of larger crowds,” he learned. “Thanks to the contest, I can now change the negative aspects of my speaking and enhance some of the things I was already doing right.”


10855805673_e234170855_bName: Kathleen Lucas
Year: Freshman
Major: Pre-Nursing
Involvement: Habitat for Humanity, Lifeguard at the UREC, 30-Hour Famine, Fall 2013 Honors Speech Contest
Achievements: Fall 2013 Honors Speech Contest Runner-up

Speech Topic: Claude E. Shannon

“In this first semester of college,” freshman Kathleen Lucas said, “I have gained independence and knowledge from being in the Honors Program and participating in various Honors activities.” So, why wouldn’t Kathleen participate in the Honors Speech Contest when her professor suggested it? Kathleen spoke about Claude E. Shannon, a well-known American mathematician who founded the information theory. “He is from my hometown,” she said. “I wanted to know more about him, as well as let other people know about him too.” As well as educating herself and others about Shannon, Kathleen educated herself on the experience of public speaking in larger crowds… one of the many perks of being an Honors student!


10855460715_eefb76fd73_bName: Hannah Wilkins
Year: Freshman
Major: Pre-Nursing
Involvement: His House, Women’s Club Volleyball, Youth Ministry Leader at Trinity Fellowship, Fall 2013 Honors Speech Contest
Achievements: Fall 2013 Honors Speech Contest Runner-Up

Speech Topic: Why people kiss.

Hannah’s reasoning for participating in the speech contest was a little more than a “nudge” of encouragement from her professor! “I was nominated by my classmates,” she said. “And my teacher bribed me with homemade cookies!”

Even though Hannah received homemade cookies and nominations of support from her classmates, Hannah excitedly accepted a $20 gas card. “It was an amazing learning opportunity,” she claimed. “I am now aware of what I need to improve on while presenting.”

This article was written by Endeavor editor Logan Bixman.


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