The Annual Joe and Steve Mercer Memorial Scholarship Speech Tournament, sponsored by the Department of Communication and Journalism and open to all UNM students, was recently held with six students taking top honors for their ability to influence an audience. 

The scholarship fund was endowed by Mrs. JoAnn Mercer in memory of her late son and husband who were active in collegiate debate as students. Its purpose is to provide support for students interested and excelling in public speaking. 

The contestants are asked to present a seven to eight-minute persuasive speech on a topic of relevance to New Mexico audiences. Twenty-six student speakers entered the competition. The top six speakers from the preliminary rounds advanced to the final round.  

2018 Mercer Winners

1st Place ($1,000)
Timothy Mondloch      
Major: Psychology and African Studies
Speech topic: Unequal Access to Education in N.M.

2nd Place ($800)
Adelynn Nee               
Major: International Studies
Speech topic: The Importance of Effective Communication and Critical Listening

3rd Place ($500)
Alejandra Solano                     
Major: Psychology
Speech topic: The Legal Justice System

Finalist ($250)
Arlin Bustillos              
Major: History and Pre-Med
Speech topic: Rural New Mexico Healthcare

Finalist ($250)
Gabriel LaBarbera                   
Major: Psychology
Speech topic: Creative Solutions to Homelessness

Finalist ($250)
Ronald Lees                 
Major: Communication
Speech topic: Homeless Children in Albuquerque