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SIU Student Speakers Forum on April 11 to focus on short form content

An iPhone screen shows "Create With Reels" option.
SIU News

Five Southern Illinois University Carbondale undergraduate students will share their thoughts on the increased use of short form content in delivering information on Thursday, April 11, in Morris Library’s John C. Guyon Auditorium.

This semester’s topic is “Eclipsed: The Rise of Short Form Content.” The free, public forum is from 7 to 8 p.m.

The forums, which happen each semester, began in spring 2002. The forum will also be available via the School of Communications Studies’ YouTube channel and Facebook page.

Short form content “has become so important and ingrained” in society and is relevant to college students, said Franklin Kimmell, a second-year doctoral student in communication studies who is organizing the forum.

“Many people are now getting their information through condensed video, written or image-based formats,” he said. “In the recent discussions on TikTok in the United States, it was said that 170 million Americans use TikTok.”

The five students selected are tackling the topic from a variety of perspectives, The discussion areas will include the addictive nature of short form videos, looking at short form content as a place for learning, the usefulness of short form content to nonprofit and philanthropic efforts, how short form content is impacting children's education, and how short form content has affected news gathering.

Chosen from auditions, students who deliver 6- to 8-minute persuasive speeches will each receive a $1,500 scholarship from the Society for Civil Discourse. Twelve students tried out for the forum.

Showcasing aspiring talent

The forum is sponsored by the School of Communication Studies and the Society for Civil Discourse. The society was founded in 1999, when SIU Carbondale alumna Barbara Jane Schwartz of Makanda established an endowment to provide space for students to be able freely engage in civil discourse and support opportunities for students to exchange opinions and beliefs in topics of interest about the Carbondale campus and society, said Sandy Pensoneau-Conway, associate professor and director of SIU’s communication studies program.

“Many of these students have little-to-no experience in public speaking, and so it’s a real joy to watch them blossom,” Pensoneau-Conway said. “This event is comprehensive in that students gain confidence, enhance their leadership and teamwork skills, and learn to craft a concise message for a public audience. I look forward to it every semester.”

The students who will speak are:

  • Amira Alkhatim, freshman, biomedical engineering, Carbondale — Topic/thesis: “By utilizing short form content, we can transform learning to enhance and improve educational opportunities for students of all ages.”
  • Megan Clarida, sophomore, mortuary science and funeral service, Loves Park, Illinois — Topic/thesis: “Short form content on social media can be an extremely effective way to raise and spread awareness on certain issues because of three key qualities: it’s appealing, it snackable, and it’s easily shareable.”
  • Isabella Orozco, freshman, health care management, Chicago — Topic/thesis: “Quick news available all across TikTok offers unparalleled benefits, especially to younger generations by increasing awareness, interest, and better understanding of the news and world around us.”
  • Al Pearman, sophomore, geology, Joseph, Illinois — Topic/thesis: “TikTok’s chokehold on our personal autonomy and its effects on our opinions and behaviors.”
  • Mackenzie Stanton, freshman, English education, Murphysboro — Topic/thesis: “Short Form Content and its Effects on Children’s Learning.” Sleep, creativity, and attention span, all are integral parts of learning and can be negatively impacted by short form content.

There will be a catered reception following the forum in the rotunda outside of the auditorium. For more information on the event, contact Kimmell at franklin.kimmell@siu.edu.


Pete Rosenbery — arts and design, architecture, automotive and aviation, humanities, journalism and mass communications, law, public policy, social sciences.

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