By Kennedy Briscoe

The UConn Communication Society held their 5th Annual Public Speaking Competition on April 9 at 6 p.m. in the Student Union Theater at the University of Connecticut.

The winners of the competition were Sam Huang in third place, Emily Waddington in second place and Christine Martin in first place.

The five contestants posing with their awards. Photo: Kennedy Briscoe.

The theme of the night was: “What impact is social media having on our personal relationships?”

The show kicked off with an introduction from the night’s hosts Rory McGloin and Grace Gagnon.

Rory McGloin is a professor at the University of Connecticut who teaches the fundamentals of public speaking course in the Department of Communication and serves as the director of undergraduate studies. He also has a Ph.D. in communication and serves as the advisor for the Uconn Communication Society.

Grace Gagnon is a senior at the University of Connecticut and served as the president of the Communication Society last year. She is studying journalism and communication. Grace is also heavily involved with UCTV News at the University. She plans on pursuing a career in broadcast journalism, preferably as a TV reporter in the future.

The competition had five contestants and three judges.

Judges included Uconn Communication Professor & Director of Graduate Studies Amanda Denes, WFSB-TV Reporter & Anchor Caitlin Nuclo and NBC Connecticut Political Reporter Maz Reiss.

Contestants included Uconn students Sam Huang, Emily Waddington, Yoshua Goodman, Christine Martin and Marvin Louis. Contestants were chosen at random to speak.

There were three rounds with each having their own specific category.

The first round was the prepared speech.  Each speaker recited a pre-written speech that they had previously practiced multiple times.

The second round was the question and answer portion. Each contestant was asked a question by one of the judges. The question was based on information from their previous prepared speech.

Sam Huang presenting his speech during the second round. Photo: Kennedy Briscoe

The third round consisted of an impromptu speech where participants were read a question by the hosts and had 10 minutes to formulate their final presentation.  

When contestants talked about social media, the theme of the night, they chose a side and stuck with it for the entire night.

First up was Huang and he sided with the positive sides of social media. He stated that it helps us to create relationships and it helps to strengthen relationships while simultaneously helping in the facilitation of new ones.

Waddington spoke next about the negatives of social media and how it makes you feel distant and compare yourself to everyone around you. She said she believed we must have a relationship with ourselves first and that the absence of social media is a good thing.

Goodman was the third speaker of the night and similar to Waddington believed social media’s negatives outweigh the positives. He said it is tearing us apart.

Next, Martin vouched for social media stating that it helps us maintain our existing relationships and helps with uncertainty reduction. However, she mentioned it does create a false sense of closeness and diminishes our quality of relationships, so we should connect ‘out here’ and not on our phones.

Lastly, Louis spoke about the history of social media and how it helps us to stay connected professionally.

By the end of the night, the judges chose the top three contestants which consisted of Emily Waddington, Christine Martin, and Sam Huang: third place went to Huang, second to Waddington and the winner was Martin.

Winner Christine Martin. Photo: Kennedy Briscoe