The Results Are In

Congratulations to the 2018 Recipients of the Jody Deering Nyquist Awards for Excellence in Public Speaking!

SOURCE: Fotolia

Every year, undergraduate students in Professor Matt McGarrity’s Intro to Public Speaking course showcase their talents in a public competition that is intended to reward those students who have demonstrated excellence in the study of communication, public speaking, and original research.

The 2018 honorees are:

  • First Place: Griffin Dugan || Advocacy Speech on Better Support Systems for Victims of Abuse
  • Second Place: Diana Catinas || Advocacy Speech Against Sentencing Juveniles to Life in Prison
  • Third Place: Satvik Agarwal || Advocacy Speech on Ending Global Hunger


  • Ivan Trindev || Ceremonial Speech on the Relay for Life
  • Pharady Chea || Ceremonial Speech on Her Father
  • Samantha Sun || Ceremonial Speech on Elon Musk

As in years prior, the competition judges are all skilled communicators with a demonstrated expertise in community engagement:

  • Danish Dhamani || Co-founder of the public speaking app, Orai
  • Maddy Epstein || Senior Account Executive at WE Communications, UW Communication Alumna
  • Mikayla Hall || Internal Content Manager and Copy Editor at House Republican Conference, UW Communication Alumna

Here is a sampling of what these esteemed professionals said about this year’s finalists and awardees:

“Griffin’s use of movement visually cued the audience that a shift was on way, adding suspense and engagement to his speech. His personal tie to the issue and emotional delivery frames the subject strategically, and he relates the facts to what students at UW could understand.”

“I love that Diana pulled the viewers in by starting the speech with relatable milestones, and then showing the drastic difference of experience that those in the juvenile justice system experience.  Bringing Henry’s narrative into the advocacy speech brings color, depth, and emotional value – this was what ‘did it’ for me.”

“I felt motivated by the emotional call to action, and simple steps that everyone could take to alleviate the problem. I feel motivated to help end global hunger, and am thankful that there are passionate people like Satvik to raise awareness!”

“Whenever I think of the Relay for Life, I’m going to remember [Ivan] saying ‘generosity’ and ‘community,’ because they were woven consistently throughout his speech. He had a clear structure and he appeared passionate about the topic.”

“[Pharady] shared a very personal, powerful story. I was captivated […] I also liked the ending and the hint at a broader theme.”

“[Samantha] proves why Elon Musk demonstrates incredible values that have changed the world. I was interested to keep learning about Elon’s accomplishments, as she shared entertaining stories and speaks clearly and with confidence.”

More about Jody Deering Nyquist:

 Jody Deering Nyquist is Associate Dean Emerita of the UW Graduate School and an emerita member of the graduate faculty of the UW Department of Communication. In the Department of Communication, Nyquist taught undergraduate and graduate courses in interpersonal and instructional communication, interviewing, small group facilitation, public speaking, and media. In 2005, Nyquist was inducted into the inaugural class of the Department of Communication’s Hall of Fame, and was selected as the Department’s Distinguished Alumna of 2014.