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.

Austin Hilburn

Austin Hilburn

Peer Consultant

Austin Hilburn grew up in Bethesda, Maryland and moved to Tuscaloosa for school. He is a senior in Communication Studies while minoring in Computer Tech and Application. After achieving his undergraduate degree, it is his goal to continue his education by attending a graduate school internationally and receive a Master’s Degree. Austin has a passion for public speaking that developed during high school, and continues to drive him to help others see the value in effective communication skills.

Joshua Barnhart

Joshua Barnhart

Peer Consultant

Joshua is a senior from Jacksonville, Florida studying Civil Engineering with a minor in Environmental and Water Resources Engineering. He is involved in a multitude of activities here at The Capstone: research in biofiltration, student employee at the University Recreational Center, officer on the club swim team, and a consultant at The Speaking Studio.

His passion in public speaking began after becoming a finalist in the Holle Competition for excellence in Public Speaking. Now, he wants to help others find confidence in their own voice. As a consultant he has worked with finalists of the Holle Competition and 3-minute Thesis competition. Throughout the semester he runs multiple workshops with different groups on campus helping students in organization, non-verbal communication, and calming anxiety.

After graduation he plans on continuing on to medical school. He hopes to use his skills in communication, knowledge in engineering, and passion in learning to become a pediatrician. pediatrician.

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!

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

Claire Hughes

Claire Hughes

Peer Consultant

Claire Hughes is a sophomore from St. Louis, MO majoring in Communication Studies and minoring in News Media. She is currently working towards attending law school after graduating from UA in hopes of increasing legal protections for victims of sexual assault, especially on college campuses. Claire is involved in the UA Honors College, Pre-Law Student Association, recruitment team for her sorority Pi Beta Phi, and other organizations on and off campus. As someone who has a passion for both the law and communication, Claire strives to show others how powerful being an exceptional speaker can be. She is excited to serve as a peer consultant in order to help others to be able to communicate their ideas and messages confidently and effectively.

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.

Tori Hicks

Tori Hicks

Peer Consultant

Tori Hicks is a junior from Petal, Mississippi double majoring in Communication Studies and Criminal Justice. She hopes to one day work as a public relations representative for a law enforcement agency. In the fall of 2017, she served as the Director of Outreach for Beat Auburn Beat Hunger and as the Alumnae and Courtesy Chair for her sorority, Alpha Delta Chi. Off-campus, she works as a public relations intern at the Tuscaloosa Public Library. Tori looks forward to serving as a consultant at The Speaking Studio and hopes her clients will leave their appointments with a greater sense of clarity for and confidence in their public speaking abilities.

Kade Foster

Kade Foster

Peer Consultant

Kade is a freshman from Nashville, Tennessee studying Aerospace Engineering with a minor in Communication Studies and in Spanish. He is currently involved in the Mentor UPP engineering mentor program and the Bama Year One initiative, as well as being a member of the ASME and AIAA engineering associations. His passion for public speaking took off in high school when he participated in many Model United Nations and Tennessee Youth in Government conferences where he received praise and awards for excellence in debate and public speaking. He first became involved with the Speaking Studio as a client when practicing for the 2018 UA Speak Off competition where he placed as a finalist, to which he fully credits the time he spent practicing in the Speaking Studio. Kade hopes to use his experience in public speaking to aid his clients in furthering their skills necessary for success in public speaking and for their professional lives.

Nick Ebel

Nick Ebel

Peer Consultant

Nick is a Junior from St. Louis, MO double majoring in Public Relations and Communication Studies. His high energy and passion for people has gotten him heavily involved with The University of Alabama Dance Marathon and as an intern with Alabama Athletics Marketing and Promotions. After graduating, he hopes to continue working in the sports world through branding for professional athletes and entertainers.

Greg Liesen

Greg Liesen

Peer Consultant

Gregory is an aerospace engineering major from Chicago, Illinois. He is involved in several clubs including the Alabama Rocket Association and the AIAA. Last year he expressed his passion for public speaking as a finalist at the Holle Competition where he and hopes to apply that same passion here at the studio.

Kayleigh Westbrook

Kayleigh Westbrook

Peer Consultant

Kayleigh Westbrook is a junior from Dallas, GA majoring in Communication Studies and minoring in Political Science. She is also currently earning her Masters in Communication Studies through the Accelerated Masters Program. Upon completion of her degrees, it is her desire to attend law school in order to pursue a profession in international law fighting human trafficking. Kayleigh is involved in C&IS Ambassadors, Pre-Law Student Association and the Student Executive Council. As someone who is passionate about the law, and raising awareness about human trafficking, Kayleigh understands why not only being an effective public speaker is so vital, but also having passion and vibrancy behind your words as well. She is honored to have the opportunity to work as a consultant in the Speaking Studio, where she can help provide others with the tools they need to be the most effective communicators, as well as the confidence to be anxiety free when given an opportunity to communicate with others. It is her desire to instill in others the passion she has for public speaking, as well as provide them with the skills they need so they too can speak boldly about the things they are passionate about as well.

Taylor Blatchford

Taylor Blatchford

Peer Consultant

Taylor is a Freshman from Boulder City, NV studying News Media with a minor in Communicative Disorders. Her passion in public speaking began at a young age and has continued during her time at the Capstone. A finalist in the 2018 Speak-Off competition, Taylor is a well-practiced speaker and has since realized the value in helping others reach the same threshold. An involved member of the campus community, Taylor understands how beneficial these skills are in making a lasting impression. She believes everybody has the ability to speak comfortably and passionately about their message in an effective way. As your consultant, she believes it is her responsibility to help you get there.

Liam Ulrich

Liam Ulrich

Peer Consultant
Jackson Lau

Jackson Lau

Peer Consultant

Jackson is a senior in Communication Studies from Huntsville, Alabama. In his off time, Jackson enjoys an eclectic array of hobbies including, but most certainly not limited to, mountain biking, soccer, reading, and professional underwater basket weaving. As an Air Force ROTC cadet, Jackson realized that great leaders are also great communicators. Additionally, Jackson realized that you cannot become a subject matter expert unless you can simplify and teach a subject to your grandmother. Henceforth, Jackson set his gaze upon the art of public speaking.

Ben Prater

Ben Prater

Peer Consultant
Andrew Blackwell

Andrew Blackwell

Peer Consultant

Andrew Blackwell is a senior from Madison, Alabama majoring in Public Relations with a minor in Communication Studies. He hopes to one day work for a company managing their marketing and social media pages when it comes to Public Relations. On campus he is a part of PRCA and PRSSA. When Andrew first began his college career, he was terrified with Public Speaking, but has since grown out of his shell with help from others. Including the Speaking Studio. His goal as a consultant is to help others know that it’s okay to be afraid, they can get over the hill with their speaking, and can have an overall better Public Speaking experience.

Kate Risk

Kate Risk

Peer Consultant

Kate Risk is a second year MA student in Communication Studies from Fairhope, Alabama. Her research focuses mainly on Communication Education with an emphasis on instructional and organizational communication. Over the past seven years at UA, Kate has worn many hats that required her to speak in front of auditoriums full of people. In her previous role as the Operations Coordinator for Graduate School Programs, she was in charge of organizing different events from graduate orientation to the campus-wide 3 Minute Thesis™ competition. She is currently working with Dr. Chilcutt and Dr. Brooks as an instructor for COM 123 - Intro to Public Speaking, and a peer consultant in the Speaking Studio. Kate has three passions in life: event coordinating, public speaking, and romantic comedies. When she’s not at UA working with students and classmates, you can find her reading a book or watching the latest rom-com at the movies. She looks forward to meeting and working with you in the Speaking Studio!

Kaydee West

Kaydee West

Peer Consultant

Kaydee West, originally from Tampa, FL, is a doctoral student in the Department of Geological Science. She has a master’s degree in geology from the University of South Florida and has given numerous conference presentations across North America. She has placed in UA’s Three Minute Thesis (3MT) competition for the past two years and is particularly passionate about improving science communication skills to make research more accessible to colleagues and the general public.

Katy Lahr

Katy Lahr

Peer Consultant
Noah Hunt

Noah Hunt

Peer Consultant

Noah Hunt is from Springville, Alabama currently pursuing a bachelor’s in Communication Studies. His interests are in media and radio, and his ultimate goal is to host his own radio show. At the moment Noah is hosting a Spotify Podcast called “The Unofficial.” Noah developed his passion for public speaking after taking his first public speaking course in college. After graduation he plans to continue his passion and work with people to help them grow as
confident speakers.