The Alexander Hamilton Institute for the Study of Western Civilization (AHI) awards prizes, internships, and fellowships to those undergraduate students who have excelled in advancing its mission.  Kayla Safran, one of the leaders of the AHI’s Undergraduate Fellowship Program, received the first AHI fellowship to attend the famed Buckley School of Public Speaking in Camden, South Carolina.  Founded in 1988 by Reid Buckley, the brother of William F. Buckley, the Academy specializes in training executives and politicians not only in “the mechanics of oratory,” but how to speak clearly, candidly, and intelligently under duress.  Kayla attended the September “Executive Seminar,” the “Flagship course designed for middle, senior and top executives & professionals.”

AHI Undergraduate Fellow Kayla Safran with her Buckley class

“Last week,” Kayla reported, “I had the privilege of attending an Executive Seminar on Public Speaking at the Reid Buckley School in Camden, South Carolina, on full scholarship from the AHI.

The Kershaw-Cornwallis House

The seminar is designed to help professionals improve their public speaking—everything from delivery to confidence to the choreography of body language—and it does so through a series of exercises, lectures, and unique challenges over the course of two days.  My class consisted of twelve people who were all considerably more experienced than I.  The setting in and of itself was a challenge to both my poise and maturity. Luckily, everyone was incredibly kind and offered me considerable advice, which helped to calm my nerves.

At first I was skeptical that any big improvements in my own speaking could be made in such a short time. Standing in front of the class and team of coaches on the last morning, giving my final speech, however, I realized that I felt more powerful, more elegant, and more comfortable behind the lectern than ever before. I was able to speak slower, more deliberately, and with greater purpose that I had just 36 hours earlier.

For obvious reasons, I can’t share all the details of the syllabus – part of the strategy of the program is the surprise factor! – but I can say that with the help of the several coaches, along with Mr. Reid Buckley himself, I learned a lot about myself as a speaker, ways to turn my natural gifts to my advantage, and how to improve upon the areas in which I am weak. I am confident that as long as I hold on to even a fraction of what I learned during this seminar, my public speaking – as well as my elocution in everyday life – will be noticeably better.

I am deeply grateful to the AHI, particularly Professors Paquette, Ambrose, and Bradfield for giving me this fantastic opportunity, and I hope more students in the future will be able to experience what I did at the Buckley School.”The AHI is proud of Kayla's certificate of achievement

The AHI received a phone call from an official at the Buckley School.  She praised Kayla for her charm, intelligence, and development.  Congratulations to Kayla.  She did the AHI proud!