CSU, Chico News

Journalism Student Wins National Speech Contest

Date: 07-08-2014

Sarah Langford
Public Affairs

When California State University, Chico student Morgan Dixon gave an example of an informative speech to her peers last spring, she never imagined it would land her first place in a national competition.

The third-year journalism and public relations student has been selected as one of four grand-prize winners in Cengage Learning’s 2014 Student Speech Video Contest. The contest called for video submissions capturing one- to 10-minute informative or persuasive speeches from college and university students around the country.

Cengage, which publishes educational materials, puts on the annual contest to collect examples of effective public speaking.

At the request of then-CSU, Chico speech professor Ryan Guy, Dixon gave an example of a polished informative speech to an introductory communications class. Her engaging, nine-minute delivery focused on the impacts that universal speech translators, technology that translates any language, could have on communication.

Dixon submitted a film of the speech, given in an informal classroom setting, and was surprised and pleased to learn she’d won.

“Most people think of public speaking as a terrifying and nerve-wracking experience – which, at times, it can be,” she said. “But when you practice and polish a speech to the point if being really proud of it, the feeling that comes over you before you start speaking is incredibly powerful. You have the ability to affect people in a purposeful way, and it feels great.”

Dixon received a $500 scholarship. Her video will be included in Cengage’s digital learning platform Mindtap as an example of an excellent informative speech.

Dixon is a member of CSU, Chico’s Speech and Debate Team and has seen impressive success this year. She qualified for the American Forensics Association’s National Individual Events Tournament and received first place in several regional competitions.

Director of Forensics Sue Peterson said the program fosters valuable skills in its students.

“This award expands the recognition of Morgan’s speaking ability beyond the speech and debate community,” she said. “The fact that three of the four grand prize recipients are competitors in forensics at their schools speaks to the skills that speech and debate develops in its competitors.”

CSU, Chico’s Speech and Debate Team is a full-service intercollegiate forensics program. Students compete in cross examination, policy debates and individual events in tournament settings against other colleges and universities. For more information, please visit www.csuchico.edu/forensics.