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2015 Birkle Award Winners: Kaitlyn Patia (left) Lauren Lewis (center), and Abigail Kennedy (right) (Photo credit: Jarid Waniger)
Through the generosity of Gretchen A Birkle ('86), each year the Nancy and Joseph Birkle Student Engagement Award recognizes undergraduate and graduate students in the College of Liberal Arts who have made significant contributions to public deliberation and debate by “speaking out” about important political or social issues, or by promoting more informed or productive public deliberation on the Penn State campus, in the State College community, or in the nation and world beyond.
The 2015 Birkle Award Winners were announced at the 23rd Annual Kenneth Burke Lecture in Rhetoric. The Center for Democratic Deliberation congratulates the recipients:
Abigail Kennedy is a sophomore majoring in English. She is being honored with this year’s Nancy and Joseph Birkle Student Engagement Award for co-authoring Madam President: Five Women Who Paved the Way with Dr. Nichola Gutgold and using that book as platform to raise awareness about gender equality. Abigail says discussing the book at public events allows her to “expand the realms of possibilities in the minds of girls and boys by informing them of incredible women who’ve run for the presidency.” Dr. Gutgold, who nominated her for the award, noted Abigail’s drive to find platforms to engage other individuals about the nature of women in politics, where Abigail uses an illustrative analogy to describe their message. “If striving for gender equality is like opening a series of difficult pickle jars, then opening the lid of the presidency is the stickiest for women,” Abigail explains, “However, Just knowing women have loosened the lid already by running changes public opinion, making the jar easier for future women to open.” The Center for Democratic Deliberation is proud to honor Abigail with the Birkle Award for raising awareness about gender inequality in politics and for loosening the jar for future activists.
Lauren Lewis is a senior majoring in Print Journalism and minoring in International Studies, French and Francophone Studies, and Communication Arts & Sciences. She is being honored with this year’s Nancy and Joseph Birkle Student Engagement Award for her leadership in “We Are … Taking a Stand,” a group formed in aftermath of the Kappa Delta Rho scandal, and for raising awareness about sexual assault and violence at Penn State. Beginning with a peaceful rally outside Old Main, Lauren’s efforts have continued to influence not only the State College community but also the state as well. Lisa Hogan, who Lauren assisted teaching in a Women’s Studies class, Lauren embodied “the spirit of the great female activist [she] had studied in class” by arranging the protest and subsequent rallies and her “efforts reflect the values and traditions associated with democratic deliberation and serve as a model for other students.” The Center for Democratic Deliberation is proud to honor Lauren with the Birkle Award for speaking out about such a pervasive issue. She has pledged to continue “to work with leaders and representatives from the campus and local community to ensure that we can STAND as a united front.”
Kaitlyn Patia is a doctoral student in the Department of Communication Arts & Sciences and a student affiliate with the CDD. She is being honored with this year’s Nancy and Joseph Birkle Student Engagement Award for organizing Deliberation Nation, a series of fifty student‐led public deliberations held throughout State College over a two‐week period. According to Jessica O’Hara, the Acting Director of Rhetoric and Civic Life, who nominated Kaitlyn for the Birkle award, “She has been an enthusiastic supporter of our outreach and instructional efforts to foster deliberative dialogue.” Kaitlyn also had students participate in the Centre County Public Issues Forum, as well as helping one of her students publish an op-ed in the Centre Daily Times. The Center for Democratic Deliberation is proud to honor Kaitlyn with the Birkle Award for encouraging her students to tackle tough issues, as she wrote, “it was heartening to hear one of them say, to a chorus of agreement, that without the space of this class to discuss issues such as racism or rape culture, they likely wouldn’t even notice such happenings in the world.”
Craig Rood, a 2014-2015 CDD dissertation fellow, won an award at the 2015 Penn State Graduate Exhibition. His video, "Deliberating in the Aftermath of Mass Shootings," won first place in the new "video option." Contestants were asked to describe their research to a general audience in two minutes or less. Submissions were judged on how students captured the importance and value of their scholarly work. His video is available her:
Craig Rood is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Communication Arts and Sciences, where he specializes in communication ethics, public memory, and public deliberation. His dissertation examines ascriptions of blame in the aftermath of mass shootings and how those ascriptions call for, or imply, changes in values, practices, and policies. The four case studies analyze the blame not only of shooters, but also of guns, mental health, citizenship, and the “culture of violence.” Rood’s prior research on deliberation has been published in Voices of Democracy, Pedagogy, and Rhetoric Review.
The Center for Democratic Deliberation is pleased to announce the twenty-third annual Kenneth Burke Lecture in Rhetoric, featuring David Zarefsky, Owen L. Coon Professor Emeritus of Argumentation and Debate and Professor Emeritus of Communication Studies at Northwestern University. His talk, “Somehow, May, and If: Key Terms in Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address,” will be held Tuesday, April 14, 2015 at 7:00 p.m. in Foster Auditorium in the Paterno Library, University Park Campus. The event is free and open to the public.
Abstract: Abraham Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address has been called his greatest speech. Yet the speech violates both the conventions of the genre and the likely expectations of the audience, since it addresses neither the progress of the war nor Reconstruction. How can this be, and what does Lincoln do instead? He addresses three main questions: (1) What caused the war? (2) Who is to blame? (3) Why has it been so brutal? In each case he almost arrives at an answer, only to use a hedging term to distance himself from that answer. Leaving the questions in limbo affects Lincoln’s view of what the next steps should be. The lecture will explore these issues, illustrating the value of Kenneth Burke’s advice to notice “what goes with what” and “what opposes what.”
David Zarefsky is the Owen L. Coon Professor Emeritus of Argumentation and Debate, and Professor Emeritus of Communication Studies, at Northwestern University, where he served as Dean of the School of Speech from 1988 through June 2000. He retired from the full-time faculty and achieved Emeritus status in 2009. His research and teaching are in the areas of rhetorical history and criticism, argumentation and debate, and forensics. He is the author, co-author, or editor of nine books and the author of over 100 articles in professional journals. His most recent book is Political Argumentation in the United States (John Benjamins, 2014), a collection of essays. Two of his books have won the Winans-Wichelns Award for Distinguished Scholarship in Rhetoric and Public Address, an award of the National Communication Association: President Johnson’s War on Poverty: Rhetoric and History (University of Alabama Press, 1986) and Lincoln, Douglas, and Slavery: In the Crucible of Public Debate (University of Chicago Press, 1990). He is one of only four individuals to have won this award twice. In 1994 he was named to the ranks of NCA Distinguished Scholars. He has served as president of both the National Communication Association and the Rhetoric Society of America.
Co-sponsors of the Twenty-Third Annual Kenneth Burke Lecture in Rhetoric include: George and Ann Richards Civil War Era Center, Department of Communication Arts and Sciences, McCourtney Institute for Democracy, Schreyer Honors College, and University Libraries