Flipping the Script: An Interview with Denise Hopkins-Poselle


Hopkins-Poselle has been Dean of Experiential Learning at STAC since January of 2022 (Image credit: LinkedIn)

Grady Brunelle, Co-Editor

Denise Hopkins-Poselle, STAC’s Dean of Experiential Learning here on campus, spends most of her time assisting students with resume building, internships and achieving their career goals.

But, she is also an experienced public speaker.

Before STAC, Hopkins-Poselle worked in corporate communications, where she excelled in public speaking and data presentation.

Last month, she was able to blend her twin passions for public speaking and enriching students when STAC hosted a STAC chat with television writer and producer Scott Williams.

Williams told students about his experiences as a writer, executive producer, actor, and playwright. Hopkins-Poselle conducted the on-stage interview, asking him the questions that got him to reveal his story, experiences, and advice for students.

Afterwards, we asked Hopkins-Poselle if she had any advice for aspiring journalists or public speakers.

“Think about your audience. Think about what they would want to hear and what they would want to know,” she said.

The dean stressed the importance of knowing almost everything about the subject before the interview, then allowing your questions to tease out the details the audience wants to know. Google, she suggested, is a useful tool for researching your subject.

“There is no substitution for preparation,” Hopkins-Poselle said.

While Hopkins-Poselle has done public speaking for years, she still gets nervous beforehand.

“No matter how many times you do this sort of thing, you will always get nervous,” she stated.

The dean shared several methods of her own for combatting nervousness.

She suggests having a “walk-up song,” a song that makes you feel good about yourself, for motivation before the big moment.

She also recommends taking a “power stance” beforehand; stand for thirty seconds with your hands on your hips and your chest out, like Superman, and breathe deeply.

This has been scientifically proven to boost confidence.

Finally, she suggests preparing some index cards.

​​There is no shame in having notes, she said. It keeps the interview, speech, or presentation on track and helps you feel more confident.

​“Honestly, you just gotta own it,” she said. “You belong there, and you must feel that.”

​“Once you begin to believe that you belong in that space, the audience will believe it too,” she said.

​“Public speaking is everywhere, especially today with technology. It is a part of so many jobs, and being good at it makes [you] so much more marketable. It takes time, but it is a skill that anyone can master, and it is worth it.”