One of my favorite springtime activities is the annual Elevator Speech Competition, for which I serve as a judge and rapt audience member. This year I had to fulfill both roles online for the first time. And, so did the Nichols students who presented via the videoconferencing app Zoom and were streamed live to an audience far from campus.
The Elevator Speech Competition requires students to make their case to a potential employer in about the time it takes that conveyance to reach the higher floors. And at Nichols, it’s become a study in the personal accomplishments, self-awareness, and self-confidence of students reaching for their own career heights.
A majority of the competitors in 2020 were first-year students. They were amazingly poised and articulate. Many talked about adversity they had overcome. All were quite brave giving a speech from their homes via Zoom.
It was hard selecting a winner. For the first time, there were two first place winners. Alex Stroshine, a senior Finance Major and a 4+1 student simultaneously pursuing her master’s degree, focused on the importance of balancing self with others and embracing change. Hannah Vangel, a transfer student and junior psychology major, talked about the importance of a growth mindset and, in accepting her prize, noted how welcoming she has found Nichols since she arrived.
This year’s competition joined other spring semester activities—from the annual academic awards ceremony in April to the Class of 2020 Celebration earlier this month—all taking place virtually. These occasions demonstrated the commitment in all areas of the College to ensure our students stayed connected and had good experiences over the last six weeks of the semester. While not quite as good as being there in person, the events certainly celebrated, honored, and showcased our amazing students.
The 2020 elevator speeches of all participating students now live on YouTube.
Another thing these students have in common: They are all definitely going up!