On Monday, March 23rd, six of Bryant’s best speakers competed in the 6th Annual Public Speaking Colloquium, directed and organized by Professor Susan Baran. Top honors went to A.J. Beltis (Winner) for his speech entitled “Talkin ‘Bout My Generation”, Tucker Lewis (Second Place) who spoke about mental illness in “My Mother”, and Hannah Crofut (Third Place) who delivered a nostalgic family speech called “Blocks of Ice.” The remaining finalists included Breanne Lubinsky, Briana Trifiro, John Phelps, and alternate speaker, Christian Contreras.
All seven students competed against 45 other Bryant speakers on Friday, March 20th in the preliminary round of the Public Speaking Colloquium, which took place in the TV Studio and was streamed live around the world. They were judged on such criteria as body language, vocal quality, speech construction, and confidence, among other things.
Baran, a lecturer in the Communication Department said the event was the “most successful to date” with over 200 people showing up to lend support to Monday’s speakers. “This is an extremely important event,” she said, “it not only emphasizes the importance of speaking and writing in an academic setting, but also helps prepare students for competitive professional settings as well.” The 6-year sponsor of the event, Hanover Insurance, couldn’t agree more. The group has continued to support the PSC since its inception and has committed to doing so indefinitely. Hanover has been dedicated to Bryant students for many years and gives PSC participants a competitive edge in their company.
This year’s event was hosted by Todd Stewart, a Bryant alum, who has not only participated in the competition himself, but helped spearhead the event seven years ago. He now teaches public speaking at Bryant. The judges included Derek Snow from Smithfield High School, Professor Mike Roberto, Nancy Persson from the Hanover Group, and Christina Shaw, another Bryant alum and the first winner of the PSC back in 2010. The preliminary round was hosted by Senior, Nicollette Riccio and judged by Dr. Chris Morse and Dr. Kristen Berkos, both from the Department of Communication, and David Beauchamp, a digital marketing manager from FGXI.com whose flagship company is Foster Grant. They endured the difficult task of choosing the best 6 speakers from a list of over 50 participants!.
The winners of the event were all awarded cash prizes ranging from $1200 to $250, and three lucky audience members received raffle prizes including a VISA gift card, a $50 gift card to Chipotle, and a brand new iPad donated by Hanover.
The Public Speaking Colloquium, now in its 6th year was created with support from the College of Arts and Science and the Department of Communication. Both have been instrumental in lending resources to the event and insuring campus-wide participation. Other active supporters of the event include Tom Zammarelli and the production crew, Eileen McAuliffe, Kim Keyes, Dr. Wendy Samter, Dean of the College of A&S, former Dean, David Lux, and President and Mrs. Machtley who are on hand every year to support the speakers.
According to Professor Baran it is never too early to start thinking about next year’s program. She welcomes all students to inquire about entering the competition by emailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Now is the time to get on the list! This is an excellent opportunity to impress potential employers and stand out in professional interviews. Perhaps host, Todd Stewart said it best…You can have all the knowledge in the world but if you are unable to communicate it, it is useless.
Thank you, Bryant community and Hanover Insurance, for another spectacular year of the Public Speaking Colloquium!