Two Bradley Students Step Out of Comfort Zone and Thrive in National Competition

May 26, 2021

Two first-year students at Bradley beat out 1,000 of their fellow classmates to represent the university on a national stage. Isabella "Izzy" Fontane and Megan Woods, neither of whom are Bradley University Speech Team members, were chosen from among their peers to compete in a virtual, national speech competition. Woods made it to the final round of the Holle Excellence in Public Speaking Competition, placing among the top six participants in the nation.

Bradley communications instructor Dakota Horn believes both students accomplished a lot just by being chosen to participate. "Each semester, roughly 1,000 students enroll in COM 103, a required speech course for all Bradley freshmen," he said. "Ten instructors were each asked to select two students they believe would be strong competitors. Out of all the students selected, only two were allowed to compete in the national competition."

Another competition requirement meant the students could not be members of the school's speech team. "This factor gave students, who may not have previously considered speaking a strength of theirs, an opportunity to go out of their comfort zone and gain an empowering experience their freshmen year," added Horn.

Fontane, a marketing major from Deerfield, Ill., delivered a speech about changing our diet to help the environment. "I was honored to be chosen to represent Bradley University in this competition and thoroughly enjoyed the process of further developing my persuasive speech," she said. Her instructor was Brad Elward. You may click here to view her persuasive speech.

A nursing major from Naperville, Ill., Woods' topic asked college freshmen to follow COVID-19 guidelines. "I never thought I was cut out to be a good public speaker, yet alone a competitor and finalist in a national competition," she said. "This opportunity allowed me to learn more about myself and the rewards of hard work, dedication, passion, motivation and practice." Woods' instructor was Jim Farrell. You may click here to view her persuasive speech.