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Hyde Park Forum to Feature Persuasive Speaking Competition for Kent State Communication Studies Students

Posted Apr. 11, 2014

By Ernie Galgozy, COMM Studies Intern  

Click to view Hyde Park Forum Live Stream.

The Kent State University School of Communication Studies will host its annual Hyde Park Forum on April 16, 2014, in the Student Center Ballroom of the Kent State campus.  

The event, which starts at 6:30 p.m., is an opportunity for students enrolled in the Human Communication Class to engage in persuasive public discourse for an audience of peers, family, and faculty. Students come from a variety of majors. This year’s panel of judges includes Heather Wells, Miss Ohio 2013 and Kent State alumna. 

Judges rate student performances to designate first, second, third and honorable mention. The forum, which typically draws 900 people to the event, includes audience members casting their votes for speaker will receive a People’s Choice Award. 

“We bring together highly engaged students and community members for an event that celebrates freedom of speech,” according to Jennifer McCullough, Ph.D., Basic Course Director and assistant professor in the School of Communication Studies. “At the event, you will hear interesting persuasive speeches on a whole range of topics.” 

“Students enrolled during the fall and spring semester of the current academic year are able to compete, providing us a slate of speakers that can best present a persuasive speech within a five-minute time frame,” McCullough said.  

The seven students, their topics and instructors are as follows:

  • Chelsea Cushman, The Gift of Sponsoring a Child (Melody Reese)
  • Alexander Daniels, Personal Websites: Professional Branding (Bill Kelvin)
  • Madeline Frederick, Active Living as Transportation (Alex Riecke-Gonzales)
  • Melanie Munroe, Read for Your Life! (Maria Butauski)
  • Emily Thomas, America's Fast Food Frenzy: Time to Choose a New Meal? (Aaron Hanlin)
  • Ryan Vargo, Can You Hear Me Now?  (Alex Riecke-Gonzales)
  • Mackenzie Wilson, Rape Culture in America (Pam Harr)  

“We’re fortunate to have a strong panel of judges from the greater Kent community and Kent State almuna Heather Wells, a graduate of Kent State’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication,” McCullough said.  

Joining Wells are fellow judges representing local civic, educational and business organizations:  

  • Marilyn Sessions, Human Resource and Training Officer for Hometown Bank, Kent
  • Suzanne Theisen, Educator/Debate -Competitive Speech Coach for Stow-Munroe Falls City School District
  • David Trebing, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, School of Communication Studies, Kent State
  • Heather Wells, Miss Ohio 2013, Kent State University, School of Journalism and Mass Communication graduate
  • Stanley Wearden, Ph.D., Dean, College of Communication and Information
  • Lori Wemhoff,  Executive Director, Kent Area Chamber of Commerce

Kent State University’s School of Communication Studies has undergraduate degree programs with concentrations in Organizational, Applied, Public, Global, Interpersonal and Health Communication. Graduate programs include master’s degrees in Global, Health, Mediated/Mass and Interpersonal Communication.