July 21, 2024

Gordon Holds First JUD Talks Speech Competition

Lauren Popillo '19. Courtesy of Jonathan Frink.

By Makayela Isbell ’20
Staff Reporter

The JUDTalks debut during this year’s Founders week. Named after Adoniram Judson Gordon, the JUDTalks were created by the Communication Arts department. Dr. Christine Gardner, chair of the Communication Arts department, introduced the event.

The students who participated in the final round of the JUDTalks were Rebekah Stauffer (‘19), Jackie Petrocelli (‘18), Corrinne Palmer (‘18), Lauren Popillo (‘19), Samuel Florez (‘19), and Sarah Petrillo (‘20).

Petrillo received first place and the People’s Choice award. Popillo received second place, and Stauffer placed third.  

Petrillo, a Kinesiology major, named her talk “You Are Not Stressed.” She centered her talk around how “we need to reframe what we call stress.”

Petrillo said that “your body cannot tell the difference between stress and anxiety,” so it responds to both of these situations in a similar fashion.

Petrillo won first place and the People’s Choice award, winning a $300 cash prize and a meal at the local Honeycomb with the Communication Arts department and three guests of her choosing.

Popillo, a Communication Arts major, named her talk “When the World Isn’t Enough.”

Popillo said that she “had the dream of being a whale trainer at Seaworld” when she was younger. She said that when “her plans did not work out as [she] thought they would” she went on “Amazon and purchased 15 self help books.”

She later said that “the only way we can fill the void we have is by Jesus.”

Popillo ended her talk by saying “I read fifteen, twenty books, when I only needed to read one” as she held a Bible in her hands. Popillo came in second, winning a $200 cash prize.

Stauffer, an Accounting and Computer Science major, titled her talk “Rest as God rests.” Stauffer talked about the importance of the Sabbath in the life of a college student.

Stauffer said “the Sabbath isn’t supposed to be legalistic” and that “we are made to imitate God by resting.”

Stauffer said that taking a Sabbath has “drawn [her] closer to God” who is the “ultimate creator.” Stauffer came in third, winning a $100 cash prize.

Petrocelli, a Communication Arts major, titled her talk “Failure isn’t fatal.”

Petrocelli said that without failure “we wouldn’t have the Cat in the Hat, we wouldn’t have Abraham Lincoln on the penny, we wouldn’t have beautiful wedding dresses designed by Vera Wang…” Petrocelli ended her talk with saying that “failure is inevitable” but it “also isn’t fatal.”

Palmer, a Communication Arts major, named her talk, “The Power of Story.”

She opened her talk with a description of the Disney movie “Finding Nemo,” saying that Disney is what “inspired [her] to become a filmmaker.”

Palmer said that “storytelling is the most powerful communication tool that human beings have” and that “storytelling is innate within us.”

She talked about her time at the L.A. Film Studies program, through the Best Semester program during the Fall ‘17 semester, where she “wrote about her personal story.”

Here she was able to develop a character for her script, and that “each [person] has a unique perspective on life,” and that we “should tell our story because no one else can.”

Florez, an English Literature and Philosophy major, titled his talk “What I Learned About the World from M.C. Escher.”

Flores opened by saying that “We live in a world that is increasingly complex” and there is “no difference” in our Christian communities.

M.C. Escher is an artist who is famous for a series of art titled “Impossible Constructions,” which are optical illusions. He said that “art reflects back on us paradox and flux.”

Flores said that “acknowledging our world is full of paradox” is the first step, and that “beyond that paradox is the one who created everything.”

The judges were alumni Julia Spruance (‘11) and Bersley Cherry (‘16), as well as Kirby Francis, a former adjunct faculty member at Gordon where he taught Public Speaking.

The student co-hosts were Arwen Struthers (‘21) and Stephen Fung (‘18). The JUDTalks are modeled after the TED Talk format consisting of visual aids and no notes.

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