Top Speeches Earn CSM Students $500 Scholarships

Speech contest
Stephanie Arnone, of Chesapeake Beach, was one of two CSM students to earn a $500 scholarship for delivering an outstanding performance at the annual CSM speech contest.

Two College of Southern Maryland (CSM) students took home CSM Foundation scholarships after winning top scores at CSM’s annual public speaking competition. Thomas D. Lambert, of Lexington Park, and Stephanie Kay Arnone, of Chesapeake Beach, delivered the prize-winning, seven-minute speeches to each earn a $500 award to further their educations.

Lambert’s gave his informative speech on stress management and highlighted how to recognize and mitigate it.

“As a former U.S. Marine, I have lost more friends than anyone should because of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders (PTSD),” he shared. “I researched the history of stress, the evolution of stress and reviewed tool kits with the audience on how to harness stress to make it work for you instead of harm you.”

During his 11 years of military service, Lambert deployed to Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

“Even if one person learned a single solitary thing about stress than it was worth it,” he said about winning the contest. “And none of this would have been possible without my teacher Ms. Christian.”

Arnone, who also won the speech contest last year, gave an informative speech on how social media affects teen’s social skills in interpersonal communication. She said the speech was about the importance of using and practicing communication skills, especially today, when computers dominate communication.

“Being able to effectively communicate and interact with one another is not a skill that people are born with,” she shared. “It is a skill that needs to be practiced.” 

Arnone graduated from CSM in May with her associate degree in arts and sciences. She plans to continue her education at Liberty University where she will study Digital Media Performance in her pursuit of a becoming a news reporter. She credits CSM with teaching her the value of effective and meaningful communication.

“I also learned that communication is a fundamental aspect of life and that more young people should be taking opportunities to engage in interpersonal communication to enhance their speaking skills,” she said. “I would also like to thank my communication professors, Sarah Merranko and Denise Gilmore-Knudson, for all of their help and support in this public speaking course.”

The annual speech competition is open to any student at CSM and entries are taken in the spring semester. To find out more, contact contest coordinator CSM Professor Sarah Merranko at