MINERVA VOICES

Student Initiative - Minerva Speaker Society

Meet Jonathan Shamwana, Class of 2026

April 7, 2023

One of the ways in which Minerva students strengthen their community bonds and participate in extracurricular activities they are passionate about is through student initiatives (SI’s). Founding an SI requires students to construct their own program and gain the involvement of peers to participate in the events organized by the SI. Jonathan Shamwana, a Class of 2026 student, has channeled his passion for public speaking and improvisation into the Minerva Speaker Society SI.

With the ambition to “become better verbal communicators,” Jonathan shares, it becomes evident that the SI aims to not only improve public speaking skills and critiquing ability, but to “deepen friendships through storytelling and vulnerability.” With inspiration heavily drawn from the novel Storyworthy by Mathew Dicks, Jonathan wishes to pass on the storytelling skills he has learned from the text to fellow students who can then benefit from the ability to communicate in an engaging manner.

Many individuals can relate to that feeling of beginning an anecdote, and as you progress through the stages, you begin to lose sight of the intended message, monotony takes hold, and you are left searching for a humorous twist or turn to re-engage your audience. Through this SI, and its utilization of impromptu talks, ice-breaking activities, and pre-planned ted talk-style speeches, Jonathan hopes that those involved will grow to become confident speakers whether interacting in class or performing speeches to a large audience.

The Minerva Speaker Society runs two types of activities for its members:

Prepared speeches: Members craft a five-minute speech on a given theme that has been selected for the meeting. Each speaker is then evaluated by another society member, enabling students to critique their peers in a constructive, yet respectful, manner.

Impromptu speeches: Members deliver a two- to three-minute speech in which each individual is provided a different prompt. Again, related to the theme of that particular meeting, the member is given three minutes to prepare and each is evaluated on their tone, content, body language, and audience appropriateness.

With captivating themes such as “This is my Alcatraz” and “Strangers aren’t really strangers,” the SI’s monthly meetings provide an opportunity for students to come together and practice their oratory skills, whether they have prior experience or not.

“One of the central parts of Minerva’s pedagogy is the active learning model. Students are called upon, need to think on their feet, and debate with their peers. Speaking is something so ingrained in us that it seems nonsensical to practice it. But practicing it helps you flourish as a communicator, bettering your interactions with other individuals,” shares Jonathan.

If Jonathan’s ideas and ambition inspire you to further develop your speaking and critiquing skills, start your Minerva application today.

Quick Facts

Name
Country
Class
Major

Cognitive Science and Economics & Political Science

Social Sciences & Business

Business & Computational Sciences

Business and Social Sciences

Social Sciences and Business

Computational Sciences & Social Sciences

Computer Science & Arts and Humanities

Business and Computational Sciences

Business and Social Sciences

Natural Sciences

Arts and Humanities

Business, Social Sciences

Business & Arts and Humanities

Computational Sciences

Natural Sciences, Computer Science

Computational Sciences

Arts & Humanities

Computational Sciences, Social Sciences

Computational Sciences

Computational Sciences

Natural Sciences, Social Sciences

Social Sciences, Natural Sciences

Data Science, Statistics

Computational Sciences

Business

Computational Sciences, Data Science

Social Sciences

Natural Sciences

Business, Natural Sciences

Business, Social Sciences

Computational Sciences

Arts & Humanities, Social Sciences

Social Sciences

Computational Sciences, Natural Sciences

Natural Sciences

Computational Sciences, Social Sciences

Business, Social Sciences

Computational Sciences

Natural Sciences, Social Sciences

Social Sciences

Arts & Humanities, Social Sciences

Arts & Humanities, Social Science

Social Sciences, Business

Arts & Humanities

Computational Sciences, Social Science

Natural Sciences, Computer Science

Computational Science, Statistic Natural Sciences

Business & Social Sciences

Computational Science, Social Sciences

Social Sciences and Business

Business

Arts and Humanities

Computational Sciences

Social Sciences

Social Sciences and Computational Sciences

Social Sciences & Computational Sciences

Social Sciences & Arts and Humanities

Computational Science

Minor

Computational Science & Business

Economics

Social Sciences

Concentration

Cells and Organisms & Brain, Cognition, and Behavior

Applied Problem Solving & Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence

Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence & Cognition, Brain, and Behavior

Designing Societies & New Ventures

Strategic Finance & Data Science and Statistics

Brand Management and Designing Societies

Data Science & Economics

Machine Learning

Cells, Organisms, Data Science, Statistics

Arts & Literature and Historical Forces

Artificial Intelligence & Computer Science

Cells and Organisms, Mind and Emotion

Economics, Physics

Managing Operational Complexity and Strategic Finance

Global Development Studies and Brain, Cognition, and Behavior

Scalable Growth, Designing Societies

Business

Drug Discovery Research, Designing and Implementing Policies

Historical Forces, Cognition, Brain, and Behavior

Artificial Intelligence, Psychology

Designing Solutions, Data Science and Statistics

Data Science and Statistic, Theoretical Foundations of Natural Science

Strategic Finance, Politics, Government, and Society

Data Analysis, Cognition

Brand Management

Data Science and Statistics & Economics

Cognitive Science & Economics

Data Science and Statistics and Contemporary Knowledge Discovery

Internship
Higia Technologies
Project Development and Marketing Analyst Intern at VIVITA, a Mistletoe company
Business Development Intern, DoSomething.org
Business Analyst, Clean Energy Associates (CEA)

Conversation

One of the ways in which Minerva students strengthen their community bonds and participate in extracurricular activities they are passionate about is through student initiatives (SI’s). Founding an SI requires students to construct their own program and gain the involvement of peers to participate in the events organized by the SI. Jonathan Shamwana, a Class of 2026 student, has channeled his passion for public speaking and improvisation into the Minerva Speaker Society SI.

With the ambition to “become better verbal communicators,” Jonathan shares, it becomes evident that the SI aims to not only improve public speaking skills and critiquing ability, but to “deepen friendships through storytelling and vulnerability.” With inspiration heavily drawn from the novel Storyworthy by Mathew Dicks, Jonathan wishes to pass on the storytelling skills he has learned from the text to fellow students who can then benefit from the ability to communicate in an engaging manner.

Many individuals can relate to that feeling of beginning an anecdote, and as you progress through the stages, you begin to lose sight of the intended message, monotony takes hold, and you are left searching for a humorous twist or turn to re-engage your audience. Through this SI, and its utilization of impromptu talks, ice-breaking activities, and pre-planned ted talk-style speeches, Jonathan hopes that those involved will grow to become confident speakers whether interacting in class or performing speeches to a large audience.

The Minerva Speaker Society runs two types of activities for its members:

Prepared speeches: Members craft a five-minute speech on a given theme that has been selected for the meeting. Each speaker is then evaluated by another society member, enabling students to critique their peers in a constructive, yet respectful, manner.

Impromptu speeches: Members deliver a two- to three-minute speech in which each individual is provided a different prompt. Again, related to the theme of that particular meeting, the member is given three minutes to prepare and each is evaluated on their tone, content, body language, and audience appropriateness.

With captivating themes such as “This is my Alcatraz” and “Strangers aren’t really strangers,” the SI’s monthly meetings provide an opportunity for students to come together and practice their oratory skills, whether they have prior experience or not.

“One of the central parts of Minerva’s pedagogy is the active learning model. Students are called upon, need to think on their feet, and debate with their peers. Speaking is something so ingrained in us that it seems nonsensical to practice it. But practicing it helps you flourish as a communicator, bettering your interactions with other individuals,” shares Jonathan.

If Jonathan’s ideas and ambition inspire you to further develop your speaking and critiquing skills, start your Minerva application today.