By Makea Luzader
For The Diamondback
Seven current University of Maryland undergraduate and graduate students showcased their public speaking skills Tuesday as part of Terp Talks, an event inspired by the online speaker series TED Talks.
In front of more than 200 attendees, students offered their own spin on public speaking and presented on topics such as perspective, mental health and failure.
One of the speakers was Luke Makris. Popularly known as “High5 Guy” at this university, Makris graduated in the winter but has remained on campus to continue high-fiving before he starts working. His speech was about how his perspective “on what life is about” has changed since becoming the “High5 Guy.”
“The real learning that you get, the real opportunities, the real life-changing things that you can experience come from hearing from other people,” Makris said. “Terp Talks is a great way to showcase some of those ideas.”
My-Asia Chaplin, a junior individual studies major, spoke about her battle with depression.
“This is my year of fearlessness,” Chaplin said. “I’ve just been doing different things like traveling out of the country, backpacking, things I’ve never done before, and Terp Talks was always on my to-do list before I graduate.”
Terp Talks started in the spring of 2014 and has been held once a semester ever since, said Jake Shapiro, the president of the organization. The senior government and politics major presented at the first Terp Talks.
“I wanted to ask the question, ‘What makes Maryland students fearless?'” Shapiro said. “It’s really sharing what Maryland students are thinking, what they’re feeling, and what it is that makes Maryland students fearless.”
Over 40 students have spoken at Terp Talks over the past four years, Shapiro said. Each speaker is assigned a coach from this university’s communication department.
Luke Capizzo, a graduate student and communication teacher, coached Sydney Parker, a senior communication major.
“Terp Talks gives us a way to showcase some of the most interesting, unique, compelling speakers and students that are here,” said Capizzo.
Matt Marks, a senior physics major, spoke about one of his hobbies, artificial intelligence.
“I’m passionate about the problem and the issues that we have to face [regarding artificial intelligence],” said Marks, who participated in Terp Talks for the second time.
Randall Phyall, an assistant director in the office of letters and sciences, came to support one of his students, Shimon Horwitz, who spoke about the stigma of failure.
“I really want to support my student and to see the growth that he’s made over the past two years,” Phyall said of Horwitz.
Kayla Dantley, a junior communication major, said Terp Talks is a great way to increase exposure to public speaking.
“I think it’s important to make sure that our field is constantly generating news for the communications field,” she said.
While some audience members attended the event for class credit, others, like Sophia Tangreti, a freshman enrolled in letters and sciences, wanted to learn more about the topics and public speaking.
“I hope I can see what it would be like for people to speak in front of a big group like this and help that expand my performance,” she said.