Freshman wins President’s Public Speaking Competition

Isabel Baker, a UCO freshman and professional media major, won the $500 scholarship from the first President’s Public Speaking Competition held Feb. 16 in the Liberal Arts Lecture Hall.

The purpose of the new contest is to give students the opportunity to present their public speaking skills and to recruit more members for the UCO speech and debate team. It is also a chance for students to voice their concerns for the campus community. Overall, the goal and theme of the speech competition was to persuade the audience to make UCO a better place.

Students are required to give a 10-minute speech and are graded on presentation and quality public speaking skills. Baker saw an opportunity to speak on a topic that hit close to home and has an ongoing presence in the campus community. Within the award winning speech, Baker spoke on mental illness and how it affects the students of UCO. 

“I want to help others who also have experiences like I do, especially at UCO…at a campus that I feel has done a fairly decent job at dealing with mental health but could be better. Students could also work towards letting themselves get that help that they might need,” said Baker during her acceptance speech. 

Other topics that Baker discussed in her speech included anxiety, self harm, and depression. She mentioned her love for “Stress Paws” in the campus library and the impact of UCORE, a centralized Campus Engagement Network.

The next President’s Public Speaking Competition will be coming this fall. Although the theme is undecided, Matthew Moore, director of speech and debate, said they are trying to keep the themes focused on campus life. 

To be eligible for the next competition, a student must be enrolled as either part time or full time at UCO. “Stress Paws” is from 3 to 5 p.m. every Thursday on the fourth floor of the Nigh University Center. To find out more information on UCORE, visit

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