Weatherford's Reagan Stephens Advances to Semi-Finals Talking Horse Sense About Stem CellsWed, 25 Oct 2017 12:30:16 CDT
Oklahoma’s Reagan Stephens, member of the Weatherford FFA Chapter, just received welcomed news, Wednesday, during the National FFA Convention in Indianapolis, that she would be advancing from the preliminary round of the national prepared public speaking contest to the semi-finals. Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays is on location and had the chance to speak with Stephens about her speech. You can listen to her complete conversation with Hays, by clicking or tapping the LISTEN BAR below at the bottom of the page.
“My speech is about stem cell therapy in the equine industry,” Stephens explained. “The equine industry is one of the most advanced places for stem cell therapy.”
She recounts how she first became interested in the topic, when her neighbor’s horse was treated with stem cell therapy after being injured. Today, she says the horse is 100 percent rehabilitated and has continued racing competitively. In preparation for her speech, Stephens left no stone unturned, attempting to acquire as much knowledge and information she could about the subject.
“I did as much research as I could. I interviewed vets in the field, some stem cell researchers, horse owners and also found reliable articles,” she said. “Once I compiled all that information, I typed it up in speech form. It took me about a week to memorize and then every week after that has just been polishing, hand gestures, movement and such.”
Her favorite part of participating in FFA’s public speaking contest, though, is the Q&A portion.
“I love getting to tell people about stuff that I’m passionate about. I kind of see it as a challenge to learn as much as I can on my topic. I think it’s important, too, people know that stem cells aren’t always what the media makes them out to be,” Stephens contends. “A lot of people think it’s embryotic stem cell research - we’re killing people - when, really, there’s a totally different side of it that’s ethical and has quite a bit of success that they don’t hear about.”
Thanks to the sheer number of speaking opportunities, be it either to deliver or to listen and learn, Stephens says the FFA has played a significant role in her development as a public speaker. Looking ahead at potential future career plans, she says she has not quite decided yet. But, she insists that whatever occupation she does find herself in, it will most certainly be immersive in the equine industry.
Check back in online or on-air this week for more updates on Stephens progress. She is scheduled to compete in the semi-finals round of the National FFA Prepared Public Speaking contest, Thursday.
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