Since its inception, over 200 UW undergraduates have trained to become speech consultants. Coaching speech provides benefits to both the trainer and the receiver. Visitors to the Center get high-quality feedback that can immediately improve their speeches. Coaches deeper their sense of rhetorical judgment, which makes them better speakers and consultants.

Matt McGarrity | Director

Matt is a Teaching Professor of Communication at the University of Washington.

Matt started the Center in 2006 and has trained every consultant since. Matt’s teaching and research focus on public speaking, argumentation, debate, and the history of rhetoric. He founded and continues to direct the University of Washington Center for Speech and Debate. He has won multiple teaching awards, including UW’s Distinguished Teaching Award, Toastmaster’s Communications & Leadership Award, and the National Speakers’ Association’s Outstanding Professor Award. His free online public speaking class has reached a million students in over 170 countries.

Affiliate Faculty

Justin Eckstein

Justin Eckstein (PhD, University of Denver) is an Associate Professor of Communication at Pacific Lutheran University and Affiliate Faculty in the Department of Communication at the University of Washington. Dr. Eckstein studies how a sensual social supplies citizens with resources for advocacy. He co-edited Cookery: Food Rhetorics and Social Production (University of Alabama Press), published in peer review journals, numerous edited collections, and conference proceedings. Dr. Eckstein’s scholarly contributions won him the 2020 Rhetorical Communication Theory’s Early Career award. Since 2015, he has worked with the Washington State Debate Coalition (WSDC) a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to supporting debates in the state of Washington. In 2020-2021, he was awarded a Fellowship at the Jackson Family Foundation. Since then, Dr. Eckstein has used his expertise to consult with likeminded groups that share his commitment to depolarization.

Current Consultants

Chloe Adams

Chloe Adams is a second-year student at the University of Washington and an intended Communications major. Her background in public speaking lies primarily in performing arts, in both onstage and executive roles; theatre has been an invaluable experience in helping her to develop a confidence, focus, and resilience that she is particularly grateful for. As a consultant, Chloe aims to support her peers in developing the same self-assurance. Everyone brings something unique and special in their approach to public speaking, and her goal is to help them express it.

Noreen Bayouk

Noreen is a second-year student majoring in Marketing and minoring in Real Estate. She is currently the president of Orthodox Christian Fellowship (OCF) at the University of Washington; she is also a gold member of the Undergraduate Women in Business (UWiB) student organization. In the past, Noreen has been involved with many opportunities that involve public speaking, such as performing in plays and holding leadership positions. Her love for public speaking arose after she gave a speech for her high school graduation. Noreen is a talkative person and loves storytelling, so she enjoys public speaking and talking with others. As a speech consultant, Noreen aims to help others by providing a comfortable place for them to practice their speeches and improve their public speaking skills. She hopes to connect with other students so she can help them build the confidence to effectively express themselves through speech.

Jamie Christiansen

Jamie is a fourth-year student at the University of Washington with a major in Communication and a minor in Informatics. As a speech consultant, she strives to create a safe environment for students at all levels to feel comfortable asking for help. Last year she ranked first place in the Jody Deering Nyquist annual speech contest, and has experience being paid to perform in front of large audiences.

As a peer educator, Jamie strives to create a place where all students’ voices are heard. Regardless of the stage a speech is in, she is always happy to help. This could include finding ideas, creating slides, improving delivery, or even calming nerves. She encourages students to improve their public speaking skills with practice and feedback to grow confidently as speakers. Jamie is excited to work as a 2nd-year speech consultant and will assist each student with a strategy that maintains their unique style.

Kayah Corpus

Kayah is a second-year student with an intended major in Biology: Physiology. Although he is pursuing a degree in Biological Sciences, he shares a love and understanding towards the power and importance of public speaking. He believes the skills that can come from public speaking can be utilized in every aspect of life, whether an individual enters a career that primarily focuses on it or not. Kayah officially started his public speaking career not too long ago. He took COM 220 in the Autumn of 2023, but the start of his passion toward the subject was instantaneous and has only grown since.

Kayah understands that speeches are difficult: writing is tedious, practicing is tiresome, and performing is terrifying; however, he is determined to help every student in whatever step they find themselves. He surrounds his teaching style on making students feel comfortable, heard, and most importantly, encouraged. Every student has a unique style of learning and performing a speech, and thus, Kayah makes it his goal to aid students by playing to their strengths and unique talents.

Ella Cuneo

Ella is a second year pursing a double major in communications and psychology. With a love for writing and reading, she is interested in people, how they communicate, think and interact! Ella believes that public speaking is a skill you can use in many areas of life and with some confidence and encouragement, public speaking is a skill you can see concrete improvement in. Ella knows that speaking in front of an audience can be very intimidating and works to provide an encouraging and comfortable space to make mistakes and learn from them!

Dale Dai

Dale, a third-year mathematics major and international student, brings a unique perspective to his role as a speech tutor. With a passion for both numbers and language, he excels in helping students overcome communication barriers, particularly those facing cultural and linguistic challenges. Dale combines analytical thinking with creative strategies to boost confidence and clarity in public speaking. His empathy and understanding, rooted in his own experiences, make him an invaluable mentor on campus. Dale is dedicated to empowering students to find and confidently express their voices.

Kailee Ding

Kailee is a third-year majoring in Communications and minoring in Business Administration and Leadership. With a background from com 220, she has gained valuable insights into speech delivery and writing techniques.

Kailee’s coaching approach is centered around empathy and personalization. She aims to create a supportive environment where students feel encouraged to step out of their comfort zones. Through constructive feedback and individualized support, her goal is to helps students grow and develop their communication skills with confidence.

Mia Gesinger

Mia was born and raised in Washington State and is now a second-year student at the University of Washington. She is a Communication major with an intended minor in Textual Studies and Digital Humanities. As someone who started University very apprehensive of public speaking, she is excited to help people break out of their comfort zones and learn how to get comfortable speaking to an audience. She understands the importance of public speaking as a skill that can aid in many different aspects of people’s lives. She hopes to focus on helping people craft strong well-written speeches as well as work on their public speaking anxieties.

Yuna Lee

Yuna is a second-year student studying Communications with a minor in Business. With experience in public speaking, management, one-on-one coaching, marketing and publication, she has a diverse experience in Communications! 
With tailored coaching sessions, practical exercises, and personalized feedback, Yuna will help empower you to speak with clarity, confidence, and conviction. Whether you’re preparing for a presentation, enhancing your leadership presence, or conquering your fear of public speaking, she’s here to guide you every step of the way!

Rich Mamiya

Rich is a second-year majoring in communications and philosophy. As his high school non-profit’s PR manager, he has a wide range of public speaking experience. From article interviews to TV interviews, Rich knows how difficult it can be to present in front of an audience. Knowing this, he emphasizes poise, comfortability, and repetition during his consultations. It takes bravery to be able to give a presentation, and even more to ask for help!

Mackenzie Oliver

Mackenzie Oliver is a second-year student at the University of Washington double majoring in Communication and English. Her extracurriculars (excluding speech consulting) include writing for The Daily, the UW student newspaper, and interning at a local publishing press. Mackenzie is super interested in studying literature, human interaction, and the media – and hopes to find a career in publishing post-graduation.

Despite being terrified of public speaking prior to taking COM 220 in Spring of 2023, Mackenzie has since become passionate about speechwriting and wants to be a reassuring presence to students who might initially feel the same way. As a consultant, Mackenzie hopes to make her peers (through practice) feel comfortable and confident not only in their manuscripts, but in their speech performance.

Corey Olson

Corey is a second-year student pursuing a double major in Journalism and Public Interest Communication and LSJ. He began his public speaking career in musical theater at the age of five and took his first public speaking course in high school. His extracurriculars include writing at The Daily and holding membership in UW’s Society of Professional Journalists chapter.

A significant aspect of Corey’s approach to tutoring is to foster a space of inclusivity and individuality. Specifically, he finds that recognizing and embracing a client’s unique mannerisms or quirks helps release any wariness around public speaking and ultimately enhance their ability to effectively address an audience. In addition, he looks at coaching as an opportunity for simultaneous growth between the client and coach, and wants to ensure that the client has all the tools necessary to feel and do their best.

Julia Santamaria

Julia is a second-year student at the University of Washington. She is a political science major. She is passionate in a wide variety of political issues, such as voting and educational rights. She loves learning about new issues and discussing them with others.

Julia was introduced to public speaking through her high school’s robotics club. She helped raise money for the club, so she had to regularly give business pitches with big companies (such as Boeing), which she found very scary. However, the scariest public speaking moment Julia has ever encountered (to this day) was when she had to give a speech to her 2,000-person high school, with 5 minutes notice.

Julia hopes to create a comfortable and encouraging environment for people to practice their public speaking, as she truly believes that public speaking can help with all aspects of a person’s life, regardless of who they are or what they do.

Makenna Schwab

Makenna is a third-year student studying Journalism and Public Interest Communications with a minor in Leadership. With a long history of public speaking for fundraisers, galas, presentations, and more she understands that there are different styles of public speaking. Makenna has a passion for finding confidence in front of an audience but knows the realities of public speaking apprehension too and wants to support you in your public speaking journey.

An important part of Makenna’s coaching approach is to see you and your piece holistically and encourage you to not lose your own voice in the development and performance of a speech. Each piece or event requires different things of people but the most important part is that your speech really is YOUR speech. Makenna looks forward to working with you all this quarter!

Nusha Sepehri

Nusha Sepehri is a second-year student majoring in Computer Science at the University of Washington. She has taken COM 220 and thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to strengthen her public speaking skills. She has gained experience speaking in front of people over the years from volunteering, club leadership, and different events within the Persian community. The ability to deliver a speech or just be able to get your point across professionally is invaluable regardless of your field of work.

Nusha is excited about collaborating with individuals on their public speaking journey and witnessing their growth in confidence. She wants to foster a space where people can try new things and be comfortable with their abilities. Everyone has the capability to write a compelling speech and the capacity to deliver it in a way they can be proud of.

Masroor Siddiqui

Masroor Siddiqui is a computer science student here at the UW. He has done debate since middle school and has given many speeches at large events. Masroor enjoys listening to podcasts ranging from comedy to philosophy and learning about anything and everything. He is also an enthusiast of all things anime, comic books, movies, TV shows, baseball, soccer, and everything in between!

Masroor likes to combine the speaker’s style with his techniques to help strengthen the speaker’s speech. He likes to break down problems and apply a solution that is catered to the speaker. Masroor also feels it is important to highlight and practice the strengths of a speech, just as much as practicing the weaknesses. Masroor firmly believes that anyone can give an amazing speech and strives to create a supporting environment for speakers.

Emily Suver

Emily is a second-year student double majoring in Communications and Sociology. Her background in performative arts and other various public speaking opportunities makes her capable and confident in coaching.

As a speech coach, Emily strives to foster a caring, comfortable and motivating environment. Emily wants everyone walking in her door to feel heard, seen and able to practice comfortably without fear of judgment, but rather improvement and growth. She is excited to coach this year and meet everyone!

Mia Tomagan

Mia Tomagan is a second-year student at the University of Washington pursuing a Communication major and a leadership minor. As a speech consultant, her goal is to help people step out of their comfort zones and increase their confidence in their skills. She found that in her time in COM 220, it was rewarding to realize you could do something you initially found to be intimidating; she strives to make others feel this as well. Mia understands that many people may feel anxious approaching public speaking but will help you achieve a higher level of confidence!

Center Alumni

The Center has had many UW students serve as tutors and consultants. Many of whom continue to apply their consulting skills. Below are a few notable alumni of the program.

Mikayla Hall

Mikayla is a content editor for a non-profit, preparing opinion pieces and editing original content. She was previously a speechwriter for Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Eastern Washington.

“The most valuable aspect of tutoring at the speaking center was the opportunity to work with so many different people. You learn how to work with people to improve their writing and speaking, but in a way that highlights their own unique styles and voices. While I no longer serve in a speechwriting role, the ability to adapt my own writing and editing to other people’s voices is a skill I’ll carry with me to any job I may have down the road.”

Maddy Epstein

Maddy is currently a Senior Communications Manager at Microsoft. Prior to that, she worked for years as a Communications Account Director at the PR firm, WE Communications. Maddy has drafted executive speeches, helped manage Microsoft’s Environmental Sustainability Communications Agency Team, and launched a Corporate Responsibility Campaign for AT&T’s CEO. She also helped lead communications for Capitol Hill Block Party.

“Being a tutor in the Public Speaking Center has been integral to my career. I have heavily referenced my experience as a public speaking tutor in every job interview. Beyond landing the job, my experience has helped me perform in my job. Public speaking is a critical skill, especially if you work in the field of communications.  As they say – if you really want to learn something, try teaching it to someone else. My experience as a tutor has informed how I write speeches, add humanizing charisma to my writing, and help brief others for public speaking engagements. I am so grateful for my experience at the public speaking center.”

Elizabeth Woolf

Elizabeth is currently a speech and communication consultant at Woolf Communication focusing on engineering. She has also consulted in the Healthcare and Life Sciences industry. She consulted for Slalom and served as a keynote speaker for their events. She is a Make-A-Wish Ambassador, delivering talks in Washington.

Serving as a consultant in the Center “changed how I perform as a professional. Not only did it exponentially increase my skills in public speaking, but it taught me how to give and receive feedback – a critical part of career growth.”

William Ray

William is an Analytics Lead for Google Cloud Storage. He has worked in economic consulting, preparing analyses for various cases, such as the lawsuits against mortgage originators after the 2008 financial crisis.

The Center is “a great opportunity to learn to do a consulting-type role where you meet 1:1 with others and offer them support. I also feel strongly that the best way to learn something is by teaching. Often when I have to speak now I self-reflect by thinking about what advice I’d give to someone who came to the speaking center. It was a great use of my time and I’m glad I was able to take advantage of it in college.

Hannah Doyle

Hannah Doyle is a diplomat in the U.S. Foreign Service. As a Foreign Service Officer, her mission is to promote peace, support prosperity, and protect American citizens while advancing U.S. interests abroad. She graduated from the University of Washington with a B.A. in Communication and a minor in Scandinavian Area Studies.

“My time at the UW Speaking Center was fundamental to cultivating effective communication skills. The knowledge I gained as a speech consultant – how to think on my feet, how to build rapport, and, most importantly, how to listen – informs my work on a daily basis.”