GVSU’s Speech Lab heads to the national stage

GVL / Kasey Garvelink - Alvin Dann Jr. writes on the white board while working at the Speech Lab on Apr. 4, 2016 in Allendale.

Kasey Garvelink

GVL / Kasey Garvelink – Alvin Dann Jr. writes on the white board while working at the Speech Lab on Apr. 4, 2016 in Allendale.

Shae Slaughter

Later this month, Grand Valley State University’s Speech Lab staff will attend the 15th annual National Association of Communication Centers (NACC) conference in Pittsburgh with the chance to win multiple awards.

The Speech Lab consists of 15 student members and two faculty directors, Carl Brown and Danielle Leek, both professors in the school of communications. Together, the staff members provide a peer consultation center that gives support to students through the methods of critical thinking and collaboration.

While generally thought of as being focused on oral presentations and classroom speeches, the Speech Lab staff can provide support for a wide variety of student needs. 

“If you are giving a speech at your best friend’s wedding, you can come practice at the Speech Lab,” Leek said.

As April comes into full swing, the faculty directors and some of the staffers have their eyes set on another goal, the upcoming national conference. The Speech Lab received six nominations for a variety of different accolades.

Held at Carlow University on April 22 and 23, the NACC hopes to support the communication centers of colleges and universities from across the nation. The conference calls attention to these centers specifically by awarding students and staff who excel in their areas of study.

Awards are given to undergraduate and graduate students as well as faculty who write original research papers.

Brown said the group of students going to the NACC has a competitive spirit and love the work and research they do, which has helped to prepare them for the upcoming conference.

Students and staff get nationally recognized based on a director’s nominations of their research, which is then reviewed by a committee and selected for competition. The selection process ensures that those competing are the best of the best in the nation.

Brown and Leek received a joint nomination for the Joyce Ferguson Faculty Award, and they will also be accompanied by four students nominated for their own awards.

Isaac Simon is nominated to win the Huddy-Gunn Graduate Paper Award. Both Ashley Rapp and Ari Zucker are nominated for the Outstanding Consultant Award. Kelsey Hines is nominated for the Bob and Ann Weiss Paper Award, as is Zucker, who won the award last year.

Brown believes the passion these students have for their work is rewarding in the long run.

“Developing the skills required to help others in these ways, in turn, empowers our consultants,” Brown said. “When they graduate, our staff is prepared to take on the challenges that will be demanded of them in their personal and professional lives.”

To schedule an appointment at the Speech Lab, visit www.gvsu.edu/speechlab.