A sustained moment of unsettling silence following a presentation could unnerve any speaker, causing uncertainty and resulting in a hurried mental run through of their presentation, all the while wondering, “Did I do something wrong?”
But SIFE team presenter Colette Desaulnier was unfazed by the brief quiescence that followed an unusually short round of questioning by competition judges.
Desaulnier and fellow presenters, Vikrum Deol, Alberto Andrade and Alyssia Houge, had worked innumerable hours since the start of spring semester, building and preparing their presentation, and they were confident that what they had in their possession was a well-tuned presentation showcasing SIFE’s ongoing projects on City College’s campus and in the community.
And they were right to not worry.
The SIFE team walked away with the league championship, making it their 15th consecutive win at SIFE Regional Competition, which took place in Los Angeles on March 17 and 18, and earning them a finalist spot at SIFE USA National Expo in Philadelphia May 11 and 12.
Two-year and four-year colleges from California, Nevada and Arizona competed at the regional competition where SIFE teams delivered their presentation to a panel of 20-30 judges who rated their presentation based on how effective the team measured and demonstrated that it created economic opportunity by helping others.”
Team supporter Yessica Vasquez noted that judges were so impressed by the team’s presentation that during intermission, prior to announcing the winners, judges were taking note of City College students they came across.
“Judges were saying how well we had done,” exclaimed Vasquez, SIFE team supporter. “Every time they saw our badges and it said we were from City College . they would tell us how well we had done.”
The presentation, also judged for the speakers’ voice projection and speech clarity, consist of a 24-minute presentation and five-minute round of questions by judges.
After SIFE delivered their presentation, judges followed up with questions that may have come up during the presentation. What usually took up to five minutes and included several questions for clarification and elaboration was quickly completed in three minutes and ended with a compliment from judges.
“I thought it was odd that they weren’t asking many questions,” Vasquez admits. “And the questions they did ask were simple.”
Desaulnier expressed her belief that this was most likely because they had covered all that the judges needed to know in their presentation, which described SIFE projects on campus such as the student-run A La Cart coffee cart and their upcoming contest “Things People Throw Away”, projects representative of SIFE’s mission to create projects that better the community, and in turn better the world.
Desaulnier noted that judges complimented the team on their work in covering each topic in detail, fulfilling the necessary criteria that would win them league championship and a chance to go to the national competition.
Miguel Valdez, SIFE team support, states that the national competition would be much like the regional competition, only grander, “more intense.”
Before their journey to Philadelphia to compete at national, Desaulnier states that there will be some changes made to their presentation despite the many raves it received at regional.
“There’s always room for improvement,” team members say, which is probably the kind of thinking that helped create championship presentations for SIFE in the last 15 years.
But how much more room is there for a presentation that garnished several compliments from judges and competitors alike?
Probably not much.
So when asked what she would be doing to prepare for the national competition, Desaulnier replied, “Recuperating. We’re exhausted.”