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Past Contest Participants

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An important platform for students

​NOVEMBER 2019―Are you thinking about entering the Speak Up! Audio Essay Contest? See what past contest participants have to say. In interviews with Chelsea Jones, a University of Delaware junior and Center for Political Communication intern, 2017 and 2018 participants described what they learned from the experience.

Enter Speak Up! to add your voice to the campus-wide conversation. The third annual audio essay contest, hosted by UD's Center for Political Communication, is open to students currently enrolled in University of Delaware degree or certificate programs. Entries must be electronically submitted by 11:59 pm on Friday, December 6, 2019. For contest info and guidelines, visit

Christine Colalillo, 2018 Contest Finalist

Christine Colalillo, a University of Delaware senior and Voices Matter 2018 contest finalist, said that participating in the contest helped her to recognize how personal experiences can shape political beliefs: "Political conversation is very important on this campus. There are beliefs that have wider ranges than what we think. The contest provides a really good incentive. I don’t think there are any negative aspects of briefly talking about an experience that shapes how you view elements of democracy or democracy itself. It allowed me to reflect on a situation that was out of my memory for the most part. But looking back on that situation, it did impact how I view our government and our basic foundations of this country."

Taylor Garbowski, 2017 Contest Finalist

Taylor Garbowski, a University of Delaware senior and Voices of the Divide 2017 contest finalist, described her experience with the contest: "In UD’s campus, there is definitely a struggle with apathy. Not everybody engages in these  reflective spaces. But having more of them and bringing them to the forefront of our campuses’ advertisements―where this is where you can speak about yourself and learn more about others―is so crucial in fighting that apathy. I felt like using my voice with that platform would allow people to expand their understanding of the world and potentially self. People actually caring about my difficult and empowering experiences and how I translated that to them through the essay really meant a lot to me in understanding where I fit and where I'm valued."

How hard is it to apply?

Taylor Garbowski and Christine Colalillo said that free resources and equipment at UD Library's Student Multimedia Design Center made it easy for them to create their essays. 

CHRISTINE COLALILLO: "It’s literally so easy. I was able use resources that are available in the basement of the library. The microphone there is super easy to use. I really just talked about a story that happened to me."

TAYLOR GARBOWSKI: "There are free materials in the library, free for you to come in and use the studio. You can submit your essay right after doing it. If you’re not tech savvy completely, you can use the smart phone. It’s so simple to be involved in the process."

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  • Department of Communication
  • Department of Political Science and International Relations