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Honors College Student Wins State Scholarship Award at Speech and Debate Tournament

Megan Copeland ‘23 (Communication, Political Science) recently won the Top Scholarship in Communication award at the 41st Annual Indiana Forensics (IFA) Individual Events Championship held on February 18, 2023 at the University of Indianapolis. 

Copeland is a varsity member of the UIndy Speech and Debate Team as well as a student in the Ron and Laura Strain Honors College. Her winning paper is titled, “Talking Politics on University Campuses:  Political communication, social media apps, and interpersonal relationships.” According to the IFA website, the Top Scholarship in Communication award is given to a paper that reflects significant engagement with an academic discipline like the social scientific study of human communication behavior. 

“Megan’s passion for interdisciplinary scholarship is the driving force behind her success. I believe her work stands out for its engagement of literature as well as its application for our modern world,” said Dr. Stephanie Wideman, assistant professor of communication, director of the UIndy Speech and Debate Team, and Honors College advisor to Copeland.

“Winning the IFA scholarship award was incredibly unexpected, but an honor. This would not have been possible without the constant help and motivation from the UIndy Ron and Laura Strain Honors College, the UIndy Departments of Communication and History and Political Science,” explained Copeland.

Dr. James Williams, Executive Director of the Ron and Laura Strain Honors College and associate professor of history, celebrated Copeland’s journey by saying, “Megan’s outstanding project reflects a thoughtful journey, from asking a powerful question about politics in online communication, to probing that question with solid research methods, to then sharing her analysis through superb writing. I couldn’t be more proud of how she handled that journey, and she’s absolutely deserving of the accolades she’s received with her award. Her research has launched conversations among faculty, staff, and students at institutions across the country because she’s taken the extra step of sharing her knowledge at multiple conferences.”