Syd Simonis, a sophomore in the game design and development program at UW-Stout with a minor in art history, knows she speaks well in public and conveys her messages clearly. She always did well in Forensics in high school, earning many gold and silver awards. But even though she did well, she never made it to a final round.
“When competing against others, I always felt I missed the mark just that little bit,” Simonis said.
So, when Simonis won UW-Stout’s Public Speaking Showcase in spring 2018, she said it felt really weird, but nice to have her hard work recognized.
“It was this contrast in my experience of knowing I was a good speaker individually, but not being able to prove that in a competitive setting,” Simonis said. “When I won first place at the showcase, I was so surprised.”
Assigned to give an informative speech in Fundamentals of Speech, a class required for every student, Simonis chose anxiety disorders as her topic. Calling herself a ‘third-generation anxious mess’, she had to juggle between having a personal connection with her topic while remaining unbiased.
“My presentation was mainly verbal. I only had one slide, versus the others’ PowerPoints,” explained Simonis. “I covered the points of living with anxiety, symptoms and diagnosis, some statistics, and how to treat anxiety.”
Presenting speakers were judged on criteria such as organization, pacing, and voice. Simonis conveys all of these aspects of speech very well. In fact, Simonis presented her topic so well at the showcase, Dr. Jennifer Hawkins asked her if she would deliver her speech to the Health Communication class.
Declaring a communication studies minor
Recognizing her projects in GDD involve group work, Simonis decided to declare her minor in communication studies to improve her communication skills.