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My Future, My Voice

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Students at UD share how they see their future with the Voices of UD Contest

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Since 2017, the Center for Political Communication has provided an opportunity to promote civic engagement, through the Voices of UD project. For Voices of UD 2024, students and community members were prompted to share their thoughts on the theme of “My Future, My Voice" based on results from a 2023 Harvard Youth Poll. It was found that nearly half of young Americans feel anxious and are motivated to take action for change - to craft a better future. Many of their concerns included safety, financial security, political divides, and mental health.

This year we received 20 entries submitted by students with a range of interests in Communication, English, Journalism, Neuroscience and even International Relations. They provided some very candid thoughts on how anxious they're feeling about the future and shared concerns about how to make change when it seems like no one with power is listening.

Winners were announced at the Now Hear This UD! public speaking contest on April 17, 2024 and those who were unable to attend were notified by email. Judging was based on content; originality and creativity; delivery; and production value. Our first prize winner, Nadya Ellerhorst, received a cash award of $500. Susan Aramony took second place earning a $250 gift card and third place, Kaitlyn Sill, received $100, and honorable mention won $50 each. The remaining top 10 finalists each received a commendation and a $25 gift card. Our top 10 finalists are listed below for you to listen or you can enjoy all prior finalist essays from past Voices projects, by visiting Voices of UD (udel.edu).

The Top Ten Finalists

First Place

To Be The Queen or The Fool? Nadya Ellerhorst, an International Relations and Russian Studies senior, ponders graduation's uncertainty. In the midst of post-grad anxiety, she thinks back to a tarot reading predicting her future.

Second Place

A Life Worth Living Susan Aramony, a senior majoring in Communication with a Media Concentration, expands on therapy questions about a life worth living. Her future vision includes safety, equality, and peace. She uses her voice and photography to advocate for change despite challenges.

Third Place

Who Really Knows What Tomorrow Is? Kaitlyn Sill, a Communication and Political Science junior, reflects on growing up amidst tumultuous times, from the housing crisis to the pandemic. She aims to shape her future through hard work, advocacy, and community building.

Honorable Mention

A Fantasy Future Brooke Burkhardt, a freshman studying Neuroscience, shares childhood dreams and the realities of career choices. Despite passions for fashion and writing, she opts for a more financially secure major. Her dream world seems unimaginable, contrasting with the harsh effects of reality.

Future of Limited Years Remains a Future Richard Plotzker, an Osher Lifelong Learning student, compares generational differences and the evolution of society. He contrasts the anxieties of youth with the perspective gained over time.

Plans Never Work Keavy Rhodes, a junior in Criminal Justice and English, shares her concerns of her future as a woman in American society. She remains determined to find success and happiness, rewriting her life's path and advocating for others to embrace uncertainty and create their own fulfilling lives.

Commendation

I Don't Know Olivia Powers, a Communication freshman, challenges the notion of planning her future, considering how she came to her decision to attend UD instead of a community college. She believes change begins with passion and looking for ways to make change.

My Future? Sophia Lantz, a freshman studying Human Relations Administration, grapples with the uncertainty of her future amidst societal challenges. She emphasizes the urgency of taking action today rather than delaying until tomorrow.

I'm in Charge of My Future Haotian Wang, a Senior in Social Communication, acknowledges the ever-changing nature of the future. He envisions a fulfilling life emphasizing the importance of hard work and self-reflection amidst unknowns.

A Scary Future Nathan DeRoche, a freshman in Political Science and Philosophy, worries about the future amidst societal challenges. He questions the notion of reshaping society and expresses concern about the influence of corrupt powers. Nathan calls for a societal awakening to realize that life and our futures can be so much more. ​

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Students at UD share how they see their future with the Voices of UD Contest
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4/25/2024
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