From Fear of Public Speaking to First Place in the CUNY-Wide Speech Contest

Published: May 14, 2019

“Never would I have believed I would love public speaking!” said Meilun DiFrancisco, who won first place at the CUNY League of Active Speech Professors (CLASP) Speech competition at LaGuardia Community College on May 1. Meilun was nominated by her Speech Professor, James Savage, who recognized in Meilun a natural talent for pursuasive public speaking. She presented the “Informative” option speech on recycling introduction of usage and consequences of plastic bags to marine life.

Meilun not only overcame her fear of public speaking but also triumphed over several obstacles upon coming to the U.S. from China 12 years ago.  At the time she was married and followed the traditional Chinese role of homemaker while her husband pursued his career. But when the marriage ended she found herself a single mother with two children and knew that in order to support her family she would need to further her education.

Her academic journey began when she enrolled at Queensborough Community College in the spring of 2018 and will culminate on May 31. She will graduate with a outstanding GPA of 3.98 in Business Administration. (Meilun accumulated 13 credits in the summer 2018 program.)

“I am extremely proud of Meilun's accomplishment,” said Professor Savage. “She is an outstanding student and I am confident she will continue to excel in financial mathematics at Baruch College.”

“It was difficult but I finally broke through the traditional Asian culture that women are not encouraged to go to school or pursue a career,” added Meilun.

Meilun found support in the Port of Entry Office. There she became friendly with Florence Tse, Director of Port of Entry, Pre-College, Continuing Education and Workforce Development, who often gave Meilun advice on how to manage stress and find a way to balance work, family and studies.

Another great mentor to Meilun is mathematics professor Dr. Kostas D. Stroumbakis who ignited her interest in math.

“I also would never have believed that I would love math! Now, thanks to my wonderful mentors, I love the arts, business and science!”

In addition to her studies, Meilun is currently a part-time junior analyst at Harbor Financial, Inc. She is also President of the Asian Society at Queensborough and has already made plans to pursue a future career quantitative analyst.

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