Aaron Klein ’18 is very persuasive — in fact, he’s the top persuasive student in Florida, and the14th most persuasive student in the U.S. Klein is a member of the UF Speech and Debate Team, and this year, he placed at multiple competitions in the American Forensic Association National Individual Events Tournament (AFA-NIET) held in Colorado Springs, Colo. In the extemporaneous speaking finals, he placed fifth in the nation. For this event, participants are given three topics and choose one. They have 30 minutes to prepare a speech.
Klein got his start in persuasive speaking as a freshman and got hooked. “Being the loud and opinionated person that I am, having the opportunity to write my own speeches and travel across the country to perform them was too good to pass up,” he says. Now, he’s team captain and leads fellow persuasive speakers to their own national honors. This year, at the AFA-NIET, the team finished 19th in the nation, and at the National Speech Championship, the team finished 7th in the nation.
“The Speech and Debate community is extremely robust and innovative. It provides everyone who is lucky enough to find it with opportunities to learn how to use their voice, and most importantly, to use it as loudly as they want to.”
In this nationwide community, Klein finds inspiration for his education and career. “The Speech and Debate community is extremely robust and innovative,” he says. “It provides everyone who is lucky enough to find it with opportunities to learn how to use their voice, and most importantly, to use it as loudly as they want to.” Klein’s skills have earned him the significant honor of being invited to speak at the Interstate Oratorical Association, the oldest public speaking competition in the country. “William Jennings Bryan competed there,” boasts his coach, Emily Butler of the Dial Center for Written and Oral Communication.
Klein notes that a liberal arts and sciences education didn’t hurt his chances. “Every job or internship I’ve applied to or held, in several different fields, have required the ability to think and write clearly about complex subjects,” he says.
As a double major in political science and philosophy, Klein has found his stride in Liberal Arts and Sciences, with its palette of critical thinking opportunities. “No matter what career I end up pursuing,” he says, “these skills will come in handy.”