Students Demonstrate Persuasive Skills in CA 100 Speech Contest

Each semester, hundreds of undergraduates from across UW-Madison take Comm Arts 100, Introduction to Speech Composition. Part of the university's Communication-A requirement, the course is designed to help students write and deliver effective speeches, as well as to understand the rhetorical principles of effective (and ethical) public discourse. During the semester, each student writes and delivers four original speeches—an introductory speech, an informative speech, a commemorative speech, and a persuasive speech. Toward the end of the semester, instructors nominate their most outstanding persuasive speeches for the CA 100 Speech Contest. A few weeks ago, on the evening of May 8th, 15 students (out of 400 enrolled in the course) participated in this spring's occasion of the long-standing tradition. The semifinals consisted of three groups of five students each, with the top two from each group advancing to the final round, which was judged by Professors Stephen Lucas, Sara McKinnon, and Jenell Johnson. Contest finalists, their teaching assistants/instructors, and speech topics were:

  • Camille Plesha (Alyx Vesey): Gratuities for foodservice professionals
  • Alexa Riopelle (Nora Stone): Animal testing
  • Aaron Millonzi (Jonah Horwitz): Big Brothers and Big Sisters
  • Zach Roberts (Rene Chaffins): DREAM Act
  • Grant Kazan (Derek Long): Football concussions
  • Samera Jome (Michael Becker): Using DDT to prevent malaria in Africa.

The first-prize winner was Samera Jones, pictured below with her TA, Michael Becker. She received a cash prize of $150.

The second-prize winner was Grant Kazan, shown below with his TA, Derek Long. Grant received a cash prize of $125.

 Congratulations to them—and to everyone who participated in the contest!