Staff Spotlight: Marisa Mayo

by Mo Marks, Staff Writer

What is your official title at Simpson?

“Assistant Director of Speech and Debate.”

Where are you from?

“I’m originally from Springfield, Mo.” 

What is your educational background?

“I attended Southwest Baptist University in 2015 until 2018, and then I went to the University of Central Missouri, where I got my master’s degree in communication and I got my undergraduate in political science. I graduated in 2021 and now here I am!”

What is your competition experience?

“I competed in Parliamentary Debate, Public Forum, International Public Debate Association, Extemp, Impromptu, Persuade, Inform, After Dinner Speaking, Communication Analysis and I also did a Duo for one tournament because we had to do Duo to qualify for Pentathlon.” 

What made you choose Simpson?

“Being a part of the debate community for so long, I’ve had an opportunity to get to be around so many Simpson students at tournaments. Interestingly, I’ve always felt like Simpson students were always the most politically engaged, knowledgeable, passionate, friendly folks. I always enjoyed getting to spend time with the Simpson students. Getting to work with Spencer is also really incredible. [He’s] one of the best coaches ever, and obviously it’s just really nice to be in an atmosphere that focuses on advocacy. The students here are just great.”

How do you like teaching at Simpson?

“I like teaching classes. Obviously, teaching public speaking can be really difficult. Students get nervous, of course. Like, speech anxiety is a really prominent problem. I think 77% of people are more afraid of public speaking than death, so my whole goal is to create an atmosphere where students feel really comfortable, where they don’t have to experience so much anxiety. I love the students. They’re really awesome, and they’re very engaged and focused on bettering their public speaking skills, so it’s been awesome.”

How have you liked coaching the Speech and Debate team?

“I love coaching the speech and debate team, the students, again, are very incredible. Very driven, very ambitious, I couldn’t ask for a better team to coach.”

What are your goals for the future?

“I want to stick with what I’m doing, to just get a feel for everything that’s going on. Ideally, I’d like to get a Ph.D. in political communication. I’m not exactly sure when that timeframe would be; our job is obviously very time-consuming, so I just want to make sure that I can do both at the same time.” 

What’s your favorite place you’ve traveled to? 

“Scotland – it’s the best place I’ve ever been in my life. St. Andrews is really dark, and there’s so much history. Edinburgh is really busy. The castles and the architecture and everything is just so gorgeous over there. It’s unmatched, really.”