The annual Jody Deering Nyquist Speech Contest is named after the former UW professor and administrator. By showcasing some of the best speech and argumentation at UW, the contest honors Dr. Nyquist’s commitment to education and civic engagement.

Annually, the top speeches in UW’s public speaking courses are nominated for the contest. The finalists are judged by a panel of UW speech alumni.



In 2023, the contest was open to all UW undergraduates. Students submitted speeches in response to the theme: Who is a great public speaker? Students could talk about well-known figures from history or someone who may not be widely recognized, but whose oratory skills have left a lasting impact on them

1st place (tie). Jamie Christensen


1st place (tie). Liana Wu


2nd place. Grant Sanderson

3rd place. Ryan Carroll

Judging panel
Megan Braun, Marketing Manager, Amazon Go

Karli Casto, Founding Principal at pilotED Schools


In 2022, the contest was open to all UW undergraduates. Students submitted speeches in response to the theme: What lessons should UW learn from the COVID pandemic? The theme allows for a wide range of ideas about how the UW community should plan for a post-pandemic era.

1st place. Kaitlyn Laibe


2nd place. Jamie Christiansen

3rd place (tie). Jaelyn Sotelo

3rd place (tie). Liana Wu

Judging panel
Judy Kimball, Vice President of Marketing at GLG

Evan Seguirant, Senior recruiting manager, Twitter


1st Olivia Knoll. Olivia performed a ceremonial speech praising the efforts of the Purple Period of Crying campaign to prevent infant head trauma.


1st Evan Whitmeyer. Evan provided an illuminating ceremonial speech on Benjamin Franklin.

2nd Angelina Kuan. Angelina argued persuasively about the need for policy action in securing abortion access in developing countries.

Hannah Zaini. Hannah argued in support of the Trevor Project and their efforts to ban sexual conversion therapy.

Helena Burk. Argued for policy action against the tampon tax by supporting efforts of Period Equity.

Brielle Bush. Brielle argued for increased

Judging panel
Clara Manahan, Communications Director and Policy Advisor to Councilmember Jeanne Kohl-Welles at King County Council

Stephanie Gero Dahlstrom, an Associate Attorney at Montgomery Purdue PLLC.


Suspended due to COVID-19


1st place. Noah Whitman. Ceremonial speech for my father.


2nd place. Kristine Nichols. Advocating for the Center for Reproductive Rights

3rd place. Darren Lee. Honoring the 442nd Infantry Regiment

Drew Locknane. Advocacy for Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN)

Baylee Harding. Praising Seattle Children’s Hospital

Brianna Cho. Commemorating Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Judging panel
Victoria Broehm, Director of Communications at American Feed Industry Association.

Emma Brown, Manager of Communications and Marketing at Washington State Dental Association.

Elizabeth Woolf, Analyst at Pivot Point Consulting


1st place. Griffin Dugan. Advocating for the National Domestic Abuse Hotline.


2nd place. Diana Catinas. Advocating to ban “life without parole” for juvenile offenders.

3rd place. Satvik Agarwal. Advocating for increased support for the U.N.’s World Food Programme.

Ivan Trindev. Commemorating the work of the Relay for Life.

Samantha Sun. Speech commemorating Elon Musk.

Pharady Chea. Speech commemorating her father

Judging panel
Mikayla Hall, Internal Content Manager and Copy Editor at House Republican Conference.

Danish Dhamani, Co-founder of the public speaking app, Orai.

Maddy Epstein, Senior Account Executive at WE Communications.


1st place. Yaling Vu. Ceremonial speech praising Memorial Day.

1st place. Elizabeth Woolf. Advocacy speech urging support for ROOTS Young Adult Shelter.

2nd place. Lindsey Bullock. Impromptu speech arguing against quarterly advising meetings.

Matthew Lincoln. Advocacy speech urging support for 350.org to fight climate

Louis Tigh. Impromptu speech arguing for mandatory 10-minute lecture breaks.

Li-Kai Wu. Ceremonial speech praising Steven Spielberg.

Judging panel
Sandy Malone. PEMCO; Toastmasters Governor District 2.

Ashley Walls. Microsoft.

Bryce Ellis. Democracy Now!