Dr. Adam Sharples Brooks

Dr. Adam Sharples Brooks

Assistant Director of Public Speaking

Dr. Adam Sharples Brooks is a nationally renowned public speaker with a Ph.D in Communication and Information Sciences, an M.A. in Communication Studies, and a background in Public Relations. His research focuses on rhetoric in the areas of diversity, identity, and cultural studies. As the current Assistant Director of the Public Speaking Program at The University of Alabama, Adam oversees The Speaking Studio with a mission to help clients clarify and craft effective messages, cultivate dynamic delivery, and calm public speaking anxiety. Over the course of his career Adam has coached numerous public speakers to national acclaim and is an expert in the areas of diversity and communication, public speaking delivery, popular culture, and mass communication.

Dr. Alexa Chilcutt

Dr. Alexa Chilcutt

Director of Public Speaking

Alexa Chilcutt is an expert in the areas of public speaking, professionalism and impression management as well as leadership and team dynamics. She is the director of the public speaking program at UA and provides staff development programs for UA’s College of Continuing Studies and seminars for individuals and managerial groups in the private sector. Chilcutt has a doctorate in mass communication and a M.A. in public relations and advertising.

Josie Burks

Josie Burks

Studio to Go Coordinator

Josie Burks is a second year doctoral student in Communication and Information Sciences. As the coordinator of the Studio to Go program Josie works with faculty and staff to develop programming and workshops that meet the needs of departments and colleges across the campus.

Rachel Wilburn

Rachel Wilburn

Graduate Peer Consultant

Rachel Wilburn is a second year graduate student from Nashville, TN working towards her M.A. in Communication Studies. This is her second year as a COM 123 Public Speaking Lab Instructor and fourth year working as a consultant for the Speaking Studio. Rachel graduated from the University of Alabama with her Bachelor of Arts Communication in Communication Studies and Journalism. She is driven by her love for storytelling and is passionate that every person has a unique voice and story to tell. Her goal is to equip our clients with the tools needed to craft, cultivate, and deliver effective messages- not just to learn how to give a speech for a class next week, but to develop their voice and effectively communicate in whatever field they pursue.

Carrie Clower

Carrie Clower

Graduate Peer Consultant

Carrie Clower is a second year graduate student working toward her M.A. in Communication Studies. She is from Birmingham, AL and graduated with B.A.’s in Political Science and Communication Studies. Currently, she works as a Graduate Teaching Assistant with the COM 122 Critical Decision Making program and the Alabama Debate Society. In the Studio, Carrie has enjoyed working with clients to develop their skill sets; she looks forward to helping clients continue to recognize their capabilities and build confidence in their speaking abilities.

Michael Johnson

Michael Johnson

Peer Consultant

Michael Johnson is a senior from Troy, MI working toward his B.A. in Communication Studies.
Entering his fourth year as a consultant for the Speaking Studio, he has been a pioneer of the program.
Finishing as a finalist in the 2014 Informative Speak Off, he went on to compete in the Holle Persuasive Speak Off Competition that same year. Finishing first - and winning the $10,000 grand prize - he became a consultant soon after. Having worked with over 100 clients, ranging from students, faculty, staff, and professionals, Michael has seen and heard it all. Believing that great leaders are great communications, and driven by his love for communication and leadership, Michael’s goal is to equip our clients with the tools to craft an effective message, develop a strong and dynamic delivery, and calm public speaking anxiety. Moreover, his mission is to assist our clients in discovering their authentic communication style, and guide them in mastering it to become a great leader. That is one who influences, motivates, and ignites passion in others and their organization(s)

Gabby Brown

Gabby Brown

Peer Consultant

Originally from San Francisco, CA, Gabby is a junior majoring in Communication Studies and minoring in advertising. She keeps herself busy by serving on the Communications Cabinet for SGA and as the Communication Studies Delegate for the Student Executive Council. In Fall 2015, Gabby was the winner of the annual UA "Speak Off" contest. She was also a finalist in the Holle Speaking Competition. Her main goal for working in the speaking studio as a Peer Consultant is to help others move past their public speaking anxiety and grow into confident speakers.

Benton Hughes

Benton Hughes

Peer Consultant

Benton Hughes is a senior from Montgomery, Alabama majoring in Political Science and minoring in Communication Studies. He has previously held internships with the Montgomery County District Attorney‘s office, the Alabama Supreme Court Library, and the United States Senate. On campus, Benton has served as the Treasurer of the Interfraternity Council and is active in the Women and Gender Resource Center’s Student Leadership Council.

Katie Metcalf

Katie Metcalf

Peer Consultant

Katie Metcalf is a senior majoring in English and minoring in Communication Studies and The Honors College. After Katie graduates, she is planning to earn her Masters degree in Secondary Education Language Arts. When she first came to the Speaking Studio, she was impressed by how much the consultants helped to not only make my speech great, but made me become a better public speaker overall. Her goal as a consultant is to help my clients improve their public speaking skills and confidence.

Sam James

Sam James

Peer Consultant

Samantha James is a senior and a first-year member of the Accelerated Master’s Program in the Communication Studies department. She is a C&IS Ambassador, a Spanish minor, and the President of the all-female a capella group on campus. After graduation, she hopes to work abroad, but her real passion is in communication consulting. She believes that people have amazing ideas worth sharing, and knows that the Speaking Studio is the perfect place to cultivate those ideas to be spread in the most effective way possible. Sam looks forward to meeting you!

Victoria Jones

Victoria Jones

Peer Consultant

Victoria is Senior from Birmingham, AL majoring in Communication Studies with a minor in Mathematics. Victoria started her college career as a dual major in Secondary Education and Mathematics until public speaking helped her realize her passion and place on campus. Her dream job is working for either a school district or a textbook company being an advocate for educational development. Victoria spent two years as a Lead Involvement Genius for the Office of Student Involvement and one year as a Conference Coordinator for the Ferguson Student Center. She has been heavily involved on and off campus serving in leadership positions and is also a member of Lamda Pi Eta Honor Society. Victoria is eager to assist peers, faulty, and staff in cultivating thoughtful, energetic, and memorable presentations.

Lily Vogelsong

Lily Vogelsong

Peer Consultant

Lily is a returning consultant majoring in political science and communication studies.

Rachel Jernigan

Rachel Jernigan

Peer Consultant

Rachel Jernigan is a junior from Daphne, AL majoring in Public Relations and minoring in Political Science. She is currently working towards pursuing her dream of going to law school when she graduates. Rachel is involved in UA Stewards, C&IS Ambassadors, Student Government Association, Cardinal Key Honor Society, and various other organizations both on and off campus. As someone hoping to pursue a career in the field of law, Rachel understands why it is so important to not only be an effective, but an efficient public speaker. She is excited to work in the Speaking Studio, where she can combine her passion for serving others by helping build confidence and strong communication skill sets

Anabeth Friday

Anabeth Friday

Peer Consultant

Anabeth Friday is a senior from Trussville, Alabama currently working on a double major in Communication Studies and Restaurant Hospitality and Management, with a focus in event planning. Her dream career is to work within the entertainment industry as an event coordinator. Anabeth believes that effective communication is the key to all success within an individual’s personal, relational, and professional life. Her love for communications has led her to have a desire to become an efficient public speaker. She believes advancing one’s skills in public speaking can separate individuals with the professional world. From the experience, she has gained with her education of public speaking, Anabeth is excited to share these skills with others as a consultant for the Speaking Studio. She looks forward to helping others grow in their confidence, ability, and desire to speak boldly in front of others.

Johnny Congdon

Johnny Congdon

Peer Consultant

Johnny Congdon is a Senior from Boston, Massachusetts. He is a broadcasting major with a minor in Comm. Studies. His freshmen year he worked in the Office of Student Media where he hosted multiple sport talk shows for WVUA-FM 90.7 The Capstone including “4 Down Territory” and
“The Student Section”. While working for the Capstone Johnny was the Voice of the Alabama Gymnastics team where he served as the play-by-play man for the Crimson Tide at home and away meets. His sophomore year he worked at the Odyssey Online and pioneered
the sites flagship NFL Podcast “The Scout Team”. His Junior year he moved over to Bryant-Denny Stadium to join the Sports staff at WVUA 23 where he currently serves as a Sports Anchor / Reporter. He currently works on the sidelines shooting the Alabama football
games for WVUA. Last summer Johnny interned for CBS News in New York City where he was an Intern Associate Producer for CBS This Morning working in the features department. This year he will return to the Office of Student Media to co-host an NFL podcast for
the Crimson White along with his duties at WVUA 23.

Russell Durand

Russell Durand

Peer Consultant - STEM & Engineering

Russell is a senior from Luthersville, GA studying chemical engineering with minors in chemistry and mathematics. If you cannot find him running from class to class on campus, then he is at the lake practicing with the Alabama Waterski Team. He has been a member of the Alabama Waterski Team for four years. As an engineering student, he understands the importance of being able to speak well in all professions. His mission at the Speaking Studio is to help students and faculty not only gain speaking skills that allows them to succeed in one speech or presentation, but to gain speaking skills that enables them to be successful throughout their profession and lives.

Reid Jenkins

Reid Jenkins

Peer Consultant

Reid Jenkins is a Senior majoring in Political Science and Public Relations.

Charlie Blondell

Charlie Blondell

Peer Consultant

Charlie Blondell is a sophomore from Lexington, KY, majoring in Journalism & Creative Media with a minor in Anthropology. Upon graduation, he hopes to land a career in the media production industry. He is currently a Lead/Recruiter for Ekuk Fisheries, and he is in the process of becoming a sales representative for Takovo LED Lights. Charlie took public speaking as a freshman and competed in the Holle Persuasive Speak Off Competition. He believes that spoken word is the most valuable and efficient form of communication, as well as the skill to speak in a public setting is necessary to be successful in today’s world. Charlie hopes that he can help our clients develop this skill, as well as strengthen their confidence as individuals in a professional environment.

Kathryn Lahr

Kathryn Lahr

Peer Consultant

Kathryn Lahr is a senior majoring in Political Science and Business from Wisconsin.

Greg Liesen

Peer Consultant

Greg Liesen is a Sophomore from Chicago, IL majoring in Aerospace Engineering. As a finalist in for the Holle Award for Excellence in Public Speaking Greg demonstrated his abilities and passion for sharing a message with others. Outside of class, Greg is a member of the UA Boxing Club and the Alabama Rocketry Society. Being an engineering student, Greg understands the importance of effective communication and hopes to help others become more confident and effective public speakers.