Students at the University of Delaware’s Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics have almost 30 unique student groups that they can choose to join. In each installment of this series, an executive member of one of these student groups will share their first-hand experience choosing, participating in and eventually leading their group.
Amara Galileo, Class of 2024 doctorate in political science & international relations candidate, is the vice president of Blue Hen Toastmasters at UD. Galileo shared why she joined Blue Hen Toastmasters, what makes this group unique and more!
Lerner: When and why did you choose to join this student group?
Galileo: I chose to join this student group at the recommendation of a friend. During a conversation in which we both expressed our trepidation as it relates to public speaking, she suggested that I attend a few Blue Hen Toastmasters meetings. This was in summer 2020 after the pandemic had begun. Luckily, since then the group has been able to meet via Zoom and fellowship, practice public speaking, and grow our leadership skills virtually.
Lerner: What is the mission/goal of your student group?
Galileo: The mission of Blue Hen Toastmasters is to provide a safe environment for members to develop their public speaking and leadership skills. It is a judgement-free, come-as-you-are group which encompasses members of varying skill levels. The goal is not to compete with other speakers, but to become the best version of ourselves!
Lerner: When and where does your student group meet and approximately how many members do you have?
Galileo: Our group meets on the second and fourth Friday of each month from 6 – 7:30 pm. We are meeting via Zoom for the foreseeable future, but we hope to return to our in-person meetings in the Lerner building soon. Blue Hen Toastmasters has approximately 25 members and we are looking to expand.
Lerner: What is your best memory from this student group?
Galileo: I can’t say I have just one — but my best memories from this student group are the raw, transparent moments which flow naturally from certain things we discuss through the prepared speeches or the table topics. We are all friends, or like family, really, so we get to know one another and aren’t afraid to open up about our challenges or triumphs. Some of my favorite speeches have been about one of our members’ nonprofits which helps children in India, another member’s experience with mentorship and how that mentor became a father-like figure in her life (not to mention that the mentor was present to hear the speech!), and even discussions like how we have all stayed sane during the pandemic. The goal is simply to speak, so we cover a wide range of topics at any given meeting.
Lerner: What is unique about your student group?
Galileo: Although Blue Hen Toastmasters is associated with the University of Delaware, we are open to non-UD affiliated members. That means students will be exposed to people from various professions, backgrounds, age groups, ethnicities, etc. In that way we are diverse and provide exposure to a good range of people from all walks of life.
Lerner: What has been your proudest moment leading your student group?
Galileo: My proudest moment was being elected as the Vice President of Membership. It has been a fulfilling role in that I’ve helped new members feel welcome from their very first meeting.
Lerner: What are your goals for the future of your student group?
Galileo: Our collective goals include increasing membership, increasing awareness of our group amongst the UD community, and, of course, helping our current members reach all their public speaking and leadership goals!
Lerner: How has your student group helped you grow?
Galileo: In the year that I’ve been involved with this student group, Blue Hen Toastmasters has helped me immensely! It has made me a more comfortable and confident speaker, and perhaps more importantly it has provided me with a new group of friends with similar goals and a drive to be better versions of themselves.