Barry McNamara  |   Published May 12, 2021

Communication Studies News

Furness wins department’s speaker showcase; Lambda Pi Eta initiates announced.

HONOR STUDENTS: Among the inductees earlier this month into Monmouth College's Kappa Chapter of t... HONOR STUDENTS: Among the inductees earlier this month into Monmouth College's Kappa Chapter of the national communication honor society Lambda Pi Eta are from left, Elizabeth Gustafson, Thomas Witty, Allie Ramlo, Caroline King, Ben Dobberstein, Erika Cruz Diaz, Erin Henkel and Lily Dixon.MONMOUTH, Ill. – Reading Day was Speaking Day for Monmouth College’s communication studies department.

On the day between Monmouth’s last day of regular classes and the start of final exams – traditionally known on campus as Reading Day – the department held its Lee McGaan Speaker Showcase, named in honor of emeritus professor and 1969 Monmouth graduate Lee McGaan.

Much like a spelling bee in elementary school, winners from each of the department’s five spring semester sections of COMM 101 – the required “Fundamentals of Communication” course for all first-year students – were selected and invited to compete in the showcase, held on May 6.

“You are the top five of more than one hundred COMM 101 students this semester. This is résumé material. It’s a point of pride, to be sure.” Lori Walters-Kramer


“Congratulations on being here today,” said professor Lori Walters-Kramer as she introduced the event. “This is something to be proud of. You are the top five of more than one hundred COMM 101 students this semester. This is résumé material. It’s a point of pride, to be sure.”

The students, who each spoke for six or seven minutes, included freshmen Abigail Furness of Grinnell, Iowa; Elizabeth Guzman of Chicago; Tyler Harms of Flanagan, Illinois; and Corey Pevitz of Highland Park, Illinois. Junior Ditza Montesinos of Villa Park, Illinois, made her presentation remotely.

Furness, who spoke on the value of the College’s music program, was declared the winner by a panel of communication studies faculty members.

“I’m a business major, and I can imagine having to give a lot of presentations,” said Furness, who is also studying music and Spanish. “So I think public speaking is very important. Even just for daily life, it’s an important skill to have – the ability to organize ideas and appeal to a specific audience.”

Furness realizes that public speaking is a fear for many, but she said it doesn’t have to be.

“It’s not as nerve-racking as it may seem,” she said, noting that’s especially true for speakers who choose a topic that relates to them.

Held twice a year since 2010, this was the College’s first speaker showcase since 2019, due to the pandemic.


Lambda Pi Eta

Later in the afternoon, the department held an initiation ceremony for its Lambda Pi Eta national honor society, another annual event that was also lost to the pandemic a year ago. The department played catch-up and announced the induction of students from the past two years, including Sydney Barry and Will Best, who both graduated in 2020.

Also inducted were:

Erika Cruz Diaz ’21 of Montgomery, Illinois
Lily Dixon ’21 of Dunfermline, Illinois
Ben Dobberstein ’21 of Oswego, Illinois
Elizabeth Gustafson ’21 of Kewanee, Illinois
Erin Henkel ’21 of Kewanee, Illinois
Troy Hippen ’22 of Monmouth
Madison Hull ’22 of Monmouth
Caroline King ’21 of Farmington, Minnesota
Jake Landry ’21 of Sugar Land, Texas
Allie Ramlo ’22 of Tremont, Illinois
Renee Rude ’21 of Washington, Illinois
Thomas Witty ’21 of Phoenix, Arizona

Witty provided some background as part of the ceremony, noting that the Greek letters of Lambda Pi Eta, which was founded in 1985, stand for the Greek words logos (logic), pathos (emotion) and ethos (credibility), the three forms of persuasion.

Monmouth College’s Kappa Chapter is distinguished in being among the society’s 10 inaugural chapters. Today, there are more than 500 active chapters worldwide.

Dedicated to recognizing outstanding undergraduates who study communication in its many and varied forms, Lambda Pi Eta offers opportunities for participation in professional organizations and is a vehicle for the presentation or publication of student scholarly work.

Requirements of membership include: completion of at least 16 course credits in college, of which at least 3.5 course credits are in communication studies; a cumulative GPA of at least 3.0; a communication studies GPA of at least 3.25; ranking in the upper 35% of the graduating class; and being enrolled as a student in good standing.

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