(L-R) India Graves, Craig Chigadza, Taylor Woods, Vanessa Hickman, Kaylee Blum, Ryan Wright-Jordan, Melanie Moore, Roci Contreras
The University of Indianapolis Speech and Debate Team turned in a strong performance recently at the 2017 24th Annual BBQ Capital of the World Speech and Debate Tournament hosted by Owensboro Community and Technical College. UIndy’s team placed fourth in the overall team award sweepstakes category, with individual students earning top three status in several categories.
The UIndy Speech and Debate Team is a nationally ranked community that competes in speech and debate events to enhance students’ communication, research and public speaking skills. Stephanie Wideman, assistant professor of communication, serves as team director.
“My primary goal is for students to cultivate their own voice through engagement in competition. The undergraduate experience is such an important time as students are not only learning about the world, but also about themselves,” Wideman said.
Shayla Cabalan ’20 (communication and English) earned top spots in After Dinner Speaking and Radio Broadcasting and second place in Persuasive Speaking.
“Public speaking remains one of America’s top fears to this day, so it’s pretty amazing that the speech team willingly faces that fear on a daily basis,” Cabalan noted.
Melanie Moore ’20 (computer engineering/computer science) won first place in Persuasive Speaking, fifth in Extemporaneous Speaking and seventh in Pentathlon. She is considering a career in web or app development.
Top left to right: Ryan Wright-Jordan, Vanessa Hickman, India Graves, Shayla Cabalan, Roci Contreras, Kaylee Blum, Craig Chigadza, Melanie Moore, Sierra Roberts, Taylor Woods, Hilary Bauer
“I think these experiences will help me in my career because engineers are always working in groups to complete a project. Communication is key in this situation because everybody has a key piece of the puzzle to complete and they all have to fit together perfectly,” Moore said.
Students said they gain confidence as they develop their skills in all types of public speaking, including how to speak with limited preparation time. Wideman said other goals include developing written and oral performance skills, critical thinking and leadership abilities. All build confidence and enhance the team dynamic, she said.
“I believe that involvement in the speech and debate community is a rich and exciting place for students to explore themselves through their communication practices. At the end of the day, I want to see students graduate with the knowledge they need and the voice to represent that knowledge to the communities they encounter after graduation,” Wideman said.
Overall Team Award: 4th Team Speech and Debate Sweepstakes
Name: Craig Chigadza ’21 (psychology and pre-law)
Awards: 6th place Extemporaneous Speaking
Name: Hilary Bauer ’21 (graphic design and political science)
Awards: 5th place Radio Broadcasting
Name: India Graves ’18 (communication)
Awards: 3rd Prose, 5th After Dinner Speaking
Name: Kaylee Blum ’20 (archaeology)
Awards: 2nd Informative Speaking, 3rd Impromptu Speaking
Name: Melanie Moore ’20 (computer engineering/computer science)
Awards: 1st Persuasive Speaking, 5th Extemporaneous Speaking, 7th Pentathlon
Name: Roci Contreras ’20 (academic & career exploration)
Awards: 6th Persuasive Speaking
Name: Ryan Wright-Jordan ’18 (psychology and communication)
Awards: 5th Informative Speaking, Top Novice Impromptu Counseling
Name: Shayla Cabalan ’20 (communication and English)
Awards: 1st After Dinner Speaking, 2nd Persuasive Speaking, 1st Radio Broadcasting
Name: Sierra Roberts ’21 (history)
Awards: 3rd Persuasive Speaking
Name: Taylor Woods ’21 (communication)
Awards: 5th Impromptu Weathercasting
Name: Vanessa Hickman ’19 (business administration & management)
Awards: 3rd Extemporaneous Speaking, 2nd Impromptu Counseling, 2nd After Dinner Speaking, 5th Pentathlon