Name: Michael Gonzalez
Hometown: Fort Worth, Texas
Major/Minor: Communication Studies/Psychology
What are you looking forward to the most at this year’s contest?
We will be joined with four other Texas universities at this contest. As eager as I am to listen to their speeches, I’m more stoked to meet those hailing from scholastic cultures unlike ours. I believe every student is seasoned in the unique flavor of their respective university. It’ll be a treat to meet them.
How has the Communication Studies department prepared you for this contest?
Dr. Shoen taught me to keep things simple. Dr. Appel showed that “and” often makes a better “but.” Dr. Finn reminded me to be a human in presentations. Dr. Jackie believed in the power of my words, and Instructor Moore helped conduct the mess of my ideas into a profound ballet. If hypothetically divorced from this department, my participation in this contest would be hysterical fiction. I’m sincerely blessed to have them, and others in Comm Studies, as a guiding voice in my life.
Were there any challenges you may have faced in preparation for this event?
We’re given 10 to 12 minutes to share an epic moment in Texas history. It may not threaten some, yet to me and my topic, it’s cruel and unusual. To share the depths of my topic in 10 minutes is to funnel the Pacific Ocean through a coffee straw. Collapsing the story of Southwest Airlines’ genesis within the allotted 10- to 12-minute frame is the most difficult task of them all while simultaneously being highly rewarding.
Any piece of advice for others thinking of competing?
To those considering this contest, Instructor Moore puts it best – be you. It’s in your somebody-ness that leaves the highest impression. The well-educated audience will likely remember not your knowledge nor your distinguished language, but rather how you manifested *you* throughout your speech. It isn’t anymore scholarly to sound like a conformed robot void of personality. It just makes things blander. So be you.