Speech and Debate team wins big at State Championship

The University of Indianapolis Speech and Debate Team won big at the Indiana Forensics Association (IFA) State Championship in February 2018 at Ball State University.  Three members of the team earned the honor of being named a state champion, and the team as a whole earned top honors throughout the tournament. The Greyhounds finished third in the overall team award sweepstakes category.

The UIndy Speech and Debate Team is a nationally ranked community that competes in events to enhance student’s communication, research and public speaking skills. Stephanie Wideman, assistant professor of communication, is the team director.

speech-and-debate

From left to right: Sierra Roberts, Vanessa Hickman, Ryan Jordan-Wright, Craig Chigadza, Melanie Moore, Taylor Woods, India Graves, Shayla Cabalan, Roci Contreras, Kaylee Blum, Hilary Bauer

“Our success at the state competition is reflective of the student’s hard work and dedication to honing their personal skills as well as representing the university well,” Wideman said.

Taylor Woods ’22 (communication) earned the title of State Champion in Novice Poetry Interpretation. “I joined the Speech and Debate Team as a freshman without any prior experience in the field,” Woods said. “I’ve grown so much since being on the team, which has helped me in a variety of areas in my life.”

Craig Chigadza ’22 (psychology) earned the title of State Champion in Novice Extemporaneous Speaking. “Being part of the speech and debate team here at UIndy has been life changing,” he said. “Not only am I developing an important skill in public speaking and critical thinking, but I am gifted a family away from home and a group of young men and women who are seeking to make an impact by addressing vital global issues.”

Hilary Bauer ’22 (studio art and political science) earned the title of State Champion in Novice Impromptu Speaking. “I was beyond thrilled to represent UIndy at the state championship,” she said. “The university provides us with the materials and opportunity to succeed at this level. I’m grateful for the support we receive as a team.”

See a full list of team results below.

Congratulations to all Greyhounds who competed: Sierra Roberts, Vanessa Hickman, Ryan Jordan-Wright, Craig Chigadza, Melanie Moore, Taylor Woods, India Graves, Shayla Cabalan, Roci Contreras, Kaylee Blum and Hilary Bauer

The team will travel to two national tournaments in March to finish out the competitive season.

IFA State Championship results:

  • Novice Impromptu– State Champion Hilary Bauer, 6th place Craig Chigadza
  • Novice Extemporaneous– State Champion- Craig Anesu Chigadza, 3rd Place Hilary Bauer
  • Novice Poetry– State Champion Taylor Woods
  • Varsity Persuasion– 2nd Place Shayla Cabalan, 6th place Vanessa Hickman, 7th place Melanie Moore
  • Novice Persuasion– 6th place Craig Chigadza
  • Varsity Poetry– 2nd place Roci Contreras, 6th place India Graves
  • Varsity After Dinner Speaking– 3rd place Vanessa Hickman, 5th place Shayla Cabalan, 6th place India Graves
  • Varsity Prose– 5th place India Graves, 6th place Kaylee Blum
  • Novice Prose– 3rd place Taylor Woods
  • Varsity Extemporaneous– 7th place Melanie Moore
  • Varsity Informative– 5th place Kaylee Blum
  • Program Oral Interpretation– 5th place Kaylee Blum
  • Duo Interpretation– 6th place Taylor Woods and Craig Chigadza

 

 

 

UIndy Speech and Debate Team is tournament champion at Owensboro

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(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.

owensboro750

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.


Results:

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

Audrey Cunningham reflects on 24 years leading UIndy Speech & Debate Team

Audrey Cunningham, front row, second from left, with the Speech & Debate Team in 2011.

Audrey Cunningham, front row, second from left, with the Speech & Debate Team in 2011.

The University of Indianapolis Speech & Debate team has been winning regional and national accolades for more than 30 years, thanks in large part to Audrey Cunningham, the former team director. For 24 years, Cunningham, who serves as Basic Course Director in the Department of Communication, has been coaching students to success behind the podium and beyond.

Cunningham has enjoyed helping students develop lifelong speaking and debate skills that are easily transferable to a variety of careers. The speech team is open to all majors, and the students Cunningham has coached over the years have pursued successful careers in a variety of disciplines, including public relations, broadcasting, law, school counseling and secondary education.

“We encourage different majors because it’s one of those skill sets that transcends everything,” she explained.

Cunningham noted that the most dramatic improvements tend to happen during a student’s first year.

“That freshman year, they are learning all the basics. A lot of times they can be more successful that year because there are tournaments they can compete in with other novices of the first year. They’re competing more on par,” Cunningham said.

By senior year, Cunningham said that students have acquired a broad range of speaking skills. The competitions stretch students’ skills by challenging them to compete in extemporaneous, informative and persuasive speaking, as well as prose, poetry, duo and impromptu formats. There’s even a category for after-dinner speaking. Students are required to discuss topics ranging from voter disenfranchisement to gun control.

“The more people participate, the more confident they become in their abilities,” Cunningham said.

Audrey Cunningham

Audrey Cunningham

Under Cunningham’s guidance, the team earned the University’s first team title in 1990 from the National Forensic Association (NFA). Over the years, UIndy’s team has placed several times among the top ten in the Team Sweepstakes in the NFA competition, as well as making frequent team and individual appearances in the top ten in state, regional and other national competitions. Students from UIndy’s team have also competed in an international tournament in London.

In 2013-14, Cunningham co-directed the team with Rebekah Gaidis ’03, assistant professor (and a three-year team veteran herself) who went on to serve as sole team director until 2017. Stephanie Wideman is an assistant professor and the current team director. Both Gaidis and Wideman have led the team to stellar state and regional performances.

Professor Cunningham’s dedication to the art of public speaking is an inspirational force in the Department of Communication. She ran the Speech & Debate team for over twenty years, and in that time she was able to build the team into a cornerstone of speech education at UIndy,” said Wideman.

A longtime southsider, Cunningham’s UIndy connections run deep. Her two children, Kathleen Cunningham ’11 (English) and Chris Cunningham ’09 (communication) are alumni. She also has plenty of Emerald Isle connections. Her husband, Brian, is from Ireland, and is a singer and guitarist for the Irish Airs. Audrey has served as president of the Irish Dancers of Indianapolis and emcees Indianapolis’ Irish Festival.

Speech team places first at invitational

speech-teamThe UIndy Speech Team won first place as a team on Nov. 5 at Owensboro Community College’s invitational speech and debate tournament.

The winners included:

Team Awards:
Individual Events Team Sweepstakes Tournament Champions
Team Traveling Trophy Winner

Individual Awards:
Individual Events Pentathlon Sweepstakes – Tournament Champion Vanessa Hickman, 2nd Brooke Abbott
Poetry Interpretation – 2nd Vanessa Hickman
After-Dinner Speaking – Tournament Champion Brooke Abbott
Dramatic Interpretation – 2nd Vanessa Hickman, 3rd Emma Rund, Top novice Dae’Ja Gaston
Prose Interpretation – 2nd Carolyne Wilhelm, 3rd Kameron Murdock, Top Novice Hanna McClard
Impromptu Counseling – 2nd Vanessa Hickman, 4th Brooke Abbott
Impromptu Speaking – 6th Kaylee Blum
Extemporaneous Speaking – Tournament Champion Jessica Carroll
Persuasive Speaking – Tournament Champion Carolyne Wilhelm, 2nd Jessica Carroll
Informative Speaking – 3rd Jessica Carroll, 4th Shayla Cabalan
Duo Interpretation – 2nd Kameron Murdock & Emma Rund, 3rd Vanessa Hickman & Brooke Abbott, 6th Dae’Ja Gaston & Shayla Cabalan
Programmed Oral Interpretation – 4th Brooke Abbott, 6th Kaylee Blum
Impromptu Weathercasting – 5th India Graves
Coach of the Year – Rebekah Watson Gaidis

Coached by UIndy alumna Dr. Rebekah Watson Gaidis, Assistant Professor and Director of Forensics in the Department of Communication, the team looks ahead to their final tournament of the semester on Nov. 18 at Bowling Green State University.

Prof: Debate could seal presidential race

The first debate of the 2012 presidential race promises to be a pivotal moment, not only in Mitt Romney’s campaign but also in the annals of national politics, a University of Indianapolis historian says.

Frantz

“Four years ago, a bookie setting odds on a Romney-Obama matchup would have expected a center-right Republican challenger and a center-left Democratic incumbent,” says Edward Frantz, associate professor of history at UIndy. “Instead, we have a Republican challenger who, aside from his religion, seems to represent the moderate Establishment, but finds himself trying to harness the anti-establishment energy of the Tea Party movement, which has pushed the Republican Party to the right.”

President Barack Obama has obvious vulnerabilities heading into the election, Frantz says, including a gridlocked Congress, a divided populace and – most notably – a still-sluggish economy. Although Obama has enjoyed some foreign policy success, he also must defend a record of gradualism and moderation that contrasts with his 2008 message of hope and change.

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Women’s History Month: Celebrating female pioneers

In honor of Women’s History Month, we asked University of Indianapolis faculty who their role models were.

Many thanks to our contributors! Take a look at the slide show to see who they chose to commemorate.

Communications faculty:
Stephanie Mahin joined the University as assistant professor in fall 2017 and teaches classes in strategic communication, public relations, public speaking and other aspects of communication.

Stephanie Wideman is director of the University’s Forensics Speech and Debate Program and an assistant professor.

Sciences faculty:
Kimberly Baker, an assistant professor of biology, specializes in molecular genetics, cell biology and cancer biology.

Ann Cutler, associate professor of chemistry, is a longtime editor of the Journal of College Science Teaching and has research interests in science text comprehension.

Sandy Davis, associate professor of biology, is an expert in botany, plant reproductive biology and evolutionary biology.

Krista Latham, associate professor of biology, is the director of the University of Indianapolis Human Identification Center. Her work in the Texas borderlands identifying the remains of migrants who died making the perilous journey across the border has been covered by national media. She has published several books on forensic techniques.

Arts faculty:
Rebecca Sorley, professor of music, is Director of Student Support and Coordinator of the Music Business Concentration. She teaches piano to all levels from pre-college through piano majors.

University of Indianapolis honors legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

kennedykingstoryThe University of Indianapolis is a proud partner of the Kennedy-King Memorial Initiative, which is organizing events commemorating the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s death, and his lasting legacy.

The Initiative was established to elevate and preserve the values and legacy of Robert F. Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by raising awareness, provoking thought and inspiring action to eliminate division and injustice. April 4, 2018 will mark 50 years since the loss of Dr. King, and Robert F. Kennedy’s historic Indianapolis speech.

The University’s Office of Equity & Inclusion has been working closely with the Initiative with the goal of becoming a catalyst to move conversations and action forward in Indianapolis.

“As a higher education institution, the University of Indianapolis serves as a model for social justice, a think tank for social consciousness and a space for intellectual discourse and debate. As such, we are uniquely positioned to help convene conversations that extend the work of Dr. King and others who have fought tirelessly for the inclusion, equity, and equality of all people,” said Sean Huddleston, vice president for the Office of Equity and Inclusion.

University of Indianapolis students will be volunteering at events throughout the city this week.

See all events here.

On April 3rd, for National Service Recognition Day, the University will join communities across the country to host the annual AmeriCorps and SeniorCorps National Service Day Recognition Luncheon, sponsored by the Kennedy-King Memorial Initiative and the Mayor’s Office. The Deputy Mayor will attend on behalf of the office, and President Robert L. Manuel will provide remarks. The luncheon will be held in UIndy Halls B & C in the Schwitzer Student Center at the University of Indianapolis.

Off-campus events:

April 3: A Ripple of Hope
5:30 p.m.: Reception, 7 p.m.: Screening, 8 p.m.: Panel

Eugene And Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center, 450 West Ohio Street

This acclaimed documentary by filmmaker Don Boggs sheds light on the fateful night of April 4, 1968 in Indianapolis. If you’ve seen this definitive take on this historic moment, now is the perfect time to revisit the powerful true story. If you’ve never seen it, now you can. Enjoy a pre-film reception and the film,  A Ripple of Hope (2008, 55 mins.) — followed by a panel discussion.

April 4: Still We Reach: Community Reflection & Conversation
10:30 a.m.
Landmark For Peace Memorial, 1702 N Broadway Street

Congressman, author and civil rights pioneer John Lewis joins with Kerry Kennedy, president of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights and daughter of RFK, and other national and local dignitaries, for reflections on the lasting influence of these two men.

April 4: Still We Reach: KKMI 50th Commemoration Ceremony
5:00 p.m.
Landmark For Peace Memorial, 1702 N Broadway Street                    

Join national and local dignitaries for the official commemoration event, featuring songs, remarks and remembrances by civic leaders, religious leaders, artists, and more.

*Tickets to both 50th anniversary commemoration events on April 4 are sold out. You can live stream the 10:30 a.m. event from any computer or mobile device using this link: http://ow.ly/FTqa30jgrY0

Bill of Rights display is timely reminder of American freedoms

Visitors to the Krannert Memorial Library may have noticed a new display in the second-floor study area. It’s called “The Bill of Rights and You!” The display is part of “Amending America,” a national initiative that explores the power of the Bill of Rights and the American system of government. 

Tanner Alexander, left, and Daniel Miller

Tanner Alexander, left, and Daniel Miller

Political science students at the University of Indianapolis say the Bill of Rights is worth some thought – and appreciation.
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UIndy launches capital campaign for city archives

Institute for Civic Leadership will support research, education, leadership development, innovation in urban government

UIndy President Beverley Pitts announced the Institute for Civic Leadership & Mayoral Archives during a March event that brought five current and former mayors to campus, an example of the type of activity the institute would be well-suited to host.

See campaign chairman David Frick on Inside Indiana Business

Hear WFYI radio report

The University of Indianapolis today announced a $7.5 million fundraising campaign to establish, outfit and staff its recently announced Institute for Civic Leadership & Mayoral Archives.

Current and former members of UIndy’s Board of Trustees already have pledged more than $1 million toward the effort, which is now entering its public phase.

The institute will be a hub for research, workshops, conferences and public conversations related to urban government and community leadership. Its foundation is a collection of official documents, correspondence, speeches, photos, audiotapes and other artifacts from the administrations of former Indianapolis mayors Richard Lugar, William Hudnut, Stephen Goldsmith and Bart Peterson. The items represent a remarkable four-decade period during which the city remade its image, revitalized its downtown and drew national and international attention with such developments as the establishment of Unigov, the arrival of an NFL team, and the creation of Circle Centre Mall and White River State Park.

“These archives need to be mined to tell the story of how this community went from ‘India-no-place’ to a vibrant American city,” said campaign chairman David Frick, who aided in that transformation as deputy mayor under Hudnut and later helped build WellPoint Inc. into the nation’s leading health benefits provider, retiring as executive vice president and chief administrative officer.

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