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Amplify Program

Two students smiling, arms around each other's shoulders

Amplify is an initiative that offers you an opportunity to gain the skills, coaching and platform you need to share your knowledge and perspectives with a public audience. It’s a forum where you can take what you’re learning in an academic setting and use it to develop a public voice by experimenting with different media, including public writing, public speaking, multimedia and public art. Through events, workshops and one-on-one coaching and feedback, you’ll develop work that you’re proud to share with the world. The program culminates with a chance to submit your work to the Amplify Competition.

Fall 2021 Speaker Events

During the fall 2021 semester, the Wurtele Center for Leadership will feature public events, both in person and virtual, that are meant to offer food for thought and inspiration around the development of a public voice and engagement in public scholarship. We’ll invite practitioners from both inside and outside of the Smith community to discuss how they amplify their  voices through their work in different media and contexts. (Note that some events are hybrid talks/workshops; see the “Attend a Workshop” tab to see how these fit within our workshop series.)

Find these events on the Smith Social Network for location and registration information.

Amplify Event: “Giving Voice to the Community through Collaborative Public Art”

Featuring Destiny Palmer
Sunday, September 19, 2021
1–3 p.m. collaborative making, 3-3:30 p.m. public talk, 3:30-on finish making
Join painter, muralist, and educator Destiny Palmer for an afternoon of collaborative art creation and conversation. Destiny will engage Smith community members in the creation of a collaborative chalk mural on the sidewalk between Neilson Library and Wright Hall from 1:00-3:00pm, followed by a talk in the Neilson Browsing Room from 3:00-3:30, where she will share her story and reflect on how “listening, learning, teaching and making are the bases of her public art practice, allowing the community to own what they have initiated, created and will nurture.” 

“Amplifying Inquiry: Democratizing Knowledge Through Public Scholarship”

Featuring Esther Ngumbi, Linda Villarosa, and Katina Rogers
Thursday, September 30, 7–8:30 p.m., Virtual event
This virtual panel discussion brings together three scholars with backgrounds in science, the humanities and journalism who are actively engaged in drawing scholarly work into public discourse in order to inform public conversations in an effort to democratize knowledge that often remains cloistered within academic disciplines and discourses. What are some of the joys and challenges of practicing public scholarship? How might greater public engagement among academics transform both higher education and the civic sector? In a cultural moment fraught with conflicts over “critical race theory” and the meanings of the past, what is at stake for public scholars and why should we undertake the endeavor in the face of those stakes? Co-sponsored by the Year on Democracies Committee and the Committee on Writing and Public Discourse.

“Building Public Voices: A Conversation With Carrie Baker and Her Students”

Featuring Carrie Baker, Marcela Rodrigues-Shirley ’20, Juliet Schulman-Hall ’22, and Lily Sendroff ’22
Monday, October 25, 2021, 7-8pm, Zoom webinar 
In recent years, Professor of the Study of Women and Gender Carrie Baker has dedicated herself both to sharing her voice and scholarship publicly, writing for Ms. Magazine, the Daily Hampshire Gazette, and other publications, and to fostering that practice in Smith students she has mentored. Carrie’s students have achieved great success bringing their work to publication, highlighting important issues in published articles. Join this virtual conversation with Carrie, two current students, and a recent alum who have benefited from her mentorship to learn more about how to get started in this form of writing, and what has contributed to these students’ success in amplifying their voices.

Amplify Competition

Submit a Piece to the Amplify Competition

The Amplify Competition is an opportunity for Smith College students to share their knowledge, stories and perspectives in a public forum and a set of events designed to honor their efforts towards raising their voices to bring about positive change. The competition seeks to amplify students’ voices as they speak out about the issues that matter to them. The competition is open to all Smith students, and entries can be drawn from assignments completed for a course taken for credit, or a piece developed outside of a student’s coursework. Learn more about the competition in an article in The Gate.



Students may enter submissions in four categories: Public Speaking, Public Writing, Public Art and Multimedia. All submissions will be published on a consolidated Amplify website, which will be accessible only within the Smith College community. Submissions will be entered to compete for prizes in each of the four categories plus a “People’s Choice” Award. Prize winners will be announced in early March at an event on campus.

  • First Place (one each for Speaking, Writing, and Multimedia: $750
  • Second Place (one each for Speaking, Writing, and Multimedia): $375
  • Amplify Public Art Grant: up to $850 and a $150 honorarium
  • People’s Choice: $200