Communication Arts Spring 2015 Speak-Off


On February 11, three students battled it out in the FIU Communication Arts Department’s semi-annual “Speak-Off”event. With more than 150 students attending, this year’s competition centered around the theme of “Crossing Borders” and directed participants to present their arguments on the global effects of communication and how communication has the power to connect the far corners of the world like never before. The three finalists, Krista Shuckerow, Derek Barcelo, and Victor Naziazeni (pictured left to right above), were selected from audition tapes and all delivered their speeches with passion and pizzazz. After the judges deliberated and the votes were in, Victor Naziazeni was declared the winner for his confident delivery, style, and organization. Krista Shuckerow received second place, and Derek Barcelo took third place.

Victor Naziazeni, a junior at FIU, discussed how modern technology has broken down barriers and improved our world. He argued this point by showing data from the research of Max Roser, a James Martin Fellow at the Institute for New Economic Thinking at Oxford Martin School, on inequality and the increase in inclusiveness in recent years. Krista Shuckerow talked about the power of communication to create a movement promoting women’s education around the world. She argued that “everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms . . . regardless of race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other views, national or social origin, class, wealth, birth, or other status.” Derek Barcelo, a junior at FIU, spoke on cyber activism, the process of using Internet-based socializing and communication techniques to create, operate, and manage activism. He advised the “baby boomers” not to denigrate his generation for their obsession with technology, arguing that if social media had existed in the sixties, we would see a lot of selfies of Woodstock and other events from the baby boomers’ youth.

Senior Marketing major and past Speak-Off winner David Bell served as the emcee of the event and entertained the crowd with his witty banter. The judges were current Communication Arts students.

The Speak-Off has been a biannual event for decades. Designed to showcase the talents of public speaking students, the Communication Arts Department Speak-Off competition gives students the opportunity to show off their rhetorical and oratorical skills and inspire others through the power of their words. Competitors are provided with a basic topic related to communication and tasked with creating their ideas into a compelling and powerful 4-6 minute speech. Finalists are then chosen from an array of submissions by the coaches at the CommArts Studio and Public Speaking faculty, who go on to deliver their prose to a large audience of their professors and peers at the Speak-Off.

The Speak-Off speech competition is open to all FIU students enrolled in Public Speaking classes who want to showcase their speaking abilities. Speeches adhere to a selected theme and applicants develop their speeches to educate, inform and inspire. For more information, visit:


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