Five UA students win cash awards in speech contest


It pays to speak up — five University of Akron students won a combined $2,750 during a speech contest at the School of Communication on April 24 sponsored by Pearson Learning Solutions.

  • Garrett Auckerman of Akron, a sophomore nursing major, won the first-place prize of $1,000 for his “Human Civility” speech.
  • Christina Comisso of Akron, a freshman nursing major, won the $750 second-place prize for “McDiabetes.”
  • Theresa Rios of Ravenna, a sophomore physical therapy major, won the $500 third-place prize for “Milk Does a Body Good, Right?”
  • Louis Ray of Akron, a freshman biochemistry major, and Kristen Smith of Strasburg, a freshman physical therapy major, each won $250 for “Civic Engagement in America” and “Media Influences on Body Image,” respectively.

Faculty members selected the semifinalists from students who gave the best problem-solution speeches last fall and this spring in the UA School of Communication’s Introduction to Public Speaking and Effective Oral Communication classes.

Judging the April 24 contest were Christine Sabo, marketing director for the Akron Beacon Journal/; Candace Campbell Jackson, vice president and chief of staff at UA; Tim Quine, communications director for FirstEnergy Solutions; Stan Piatt, talk-show host at WNIR-FM; and Jeff Goldman, vice president of sales for Pearson Learning Solutions. John Zipp, associate dean of the Buchtel College of Arts and Sciences, was the master of ceremonies.

Media contacts: Bonnie Keiper (coordinator of General Education speech courses and senior instructor at UA) — 330-972-8413 or, or Cyndee Snider, 330-972-5196 or