2021 Public Speaking Competition award recipients Aurora Cai ’21, Lily Delle-Levine ’21, Jay Menner ’21, Eric Moss ’24, and Abbie Wolff ’22.

Five students were awarded prizes in three categories in the annual Public Speaking Competition that took place this year over Zoom. Presentations were either persuasive or informative in nature, and in one category, students addressed an assigned topic.

In the McKinney Prize competition, a prize is awarded to one student from each class for a 5 to 8-minute persuasive speech that is socially relevant and of interest to the extended Hamilton community. The 2021 McKinney Prize recipients and their topics are:

Class of 2021: Aurora Cai, “Do Not Let Your Uniqueness Mute You

Class of 2022: Abbie Wolff, “Mark Zuckerberg Wants You to Keep Scrolling: The Real Value of Your Screen Time

Class of 2023/2024: Eric Moss ’24 “The .1%

Find Your VOice

Developing the ability to communicate in a clear, organized and effective way is a central goal of a liberal arts education — and a prerequisite for a successful career. Hamilton is one of only three top liberal arts colleges with an independent Oral Communication Center.

written & oral communication

The Clark Prize competition is open to members of the senior class and calls for participants to address an assigned topic through both written and oral presentations. This year’s topic was “Is Social Media a Waste of Time?” The 2021 recipient is Lily Delle-Levine, whose winning presentation is titled “Time for Change: Social Media as Social Action.”

The Warren E. Wright Prize competition is open to full-time students who have taken the public speaking course Genres of Oral Communication. This competition requires an informative speech rather than a persuasive one. That is, the purpose of the speech should be to enlighten rather than to advocate. The 2021 Wright Prize recipient is Jay Menner ’21, who addressed the topic “Who Was Alexander Hamilton?”

Winners will be awarded more than $12,000 in prizes on Class & Charter Day. The Oral Communication Center organized the Public Speaking Competition.

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Three Hamilton students were awarded the top prizes in the College’ s2022 Public Speaking Competition, and they have shared their best tips for educating, entertaining, and persuading their audiences.

Jonathan Dong '21 (right) with Loni Koukoumaftsis, senior aquarist at the Australian Institute for Marine Science (AIMS) near Townsville, Australia.

A Bristol Fellow's Global Journey in Aquaculture

Jonathan Dong ’21 has always been intrigued by the world of aquaculture. He began breeding fish in middle school, and grew to wonder at the life history of the species with which he worked. When he entered Hamilton, originally on a pre-med track, he found new ways to explore this passion. He founded the Aquaponics Club with three other students during his sophomore year. He began taking more environmental studies and biology courses, and during his study abroad in Australia he contributed to a research paper on invasive fish species.

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