Elizabeth Tsang, a junior wildlife conservation major from Riner, Virginia, placed third in the impromptu speaking contest at the Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Related Sciences (MANRRS) regional cluster meeting in Atlanta. “The purpose of these meetings is to provide opportunities for professional development for students, and for them to network and share strategies for successful chapters,” said Professor Carola Haas, MANRRS faculty co-adviser. Three other students from the college — wildlife majors Lis Mota and Cristina Stahl, and geography major Tyneshia Griffin — attended the meeting, along with undergraduate and graduate students from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

Tsang said that she joined MANRRS because of its focus on professional development and diversity, and attended the regional event to develop networking skills and speak to recruiters. When she learned about the impromptu speaking contest, she discovered a way to get out of her comfort zone and improve her public speaking skills. “One skill you can never practice enough is public speaking, which happens to be something I hate,” she said. “However, I believe if you’re going to improve and grow in an area, you have to challenge yourself, so I forced myself to sign up for the impromptu speaking contest. This was a new experience and I definitely gained more confidence as far as public speaking is concerned.”