Speaking Center Director & Staff


Dr. Anand Rao - Speaking Center Director

Dr. Anand Rao – Speaking Center Director

Dr. Anand Rao, Speaking Intensive Program and Speaking Center Director Anand received his Bachelors degree in philosophy from the University of Pittsburgh in 1992. Following his interest in the history and philosophy of science, he entered the Rhetoric of Science program at the University of Pittsburgh, where he earned a Masters of Arts in 1994, and a Ph.D. in rhetoric and communication in 1996. In 1995, Anand joined Clarion University as an assistant professor in the Department of Speech Communication and Theatre, where he also served as director of the speech & debate team. While at Clarion, Anand started an active public debate series and moved the speech and debate team back into the more competitive and challenging format of policy debate. He was tenured and promoted to associate professor in 2000, and served as chair of the Faculty Senate in 2001. In 2002, Anand joined the faculty at Mary Washington  as an associate professor and Director of the Speaking Intensive Program. Excited to be a part of the Mary Washington community, Anand enjoys working with UMW students and faculty, and looks forward to working with the SI program. Anand’s areas of specialty in communication studies include visual rhetoric, argumentation, rhetorical criticism, rhetorical studies of science and public address. He teaches a variety of courses in speech, including public speaking, small group communication, argumentation, and upper-level courses in communication and rhetorical theory, including Environmental Rhetoric, Visual Rhetoric, and Intellectual Foundations of Communication.

Catie LeBouton – Graduate Assistant

Catie is in the UMW Masters of Education program to become a high school English teacher. She was a consultant in the Speaking Center as an undergrad for two and a half years and apparently just couldn’t leave. In her hypothetical free time, Catie enjoys reading and writing (the trademarks of an English major) as well as being outdoors and hanging out with friends.




Michael Friedmann – Lead Consultant

Michael has worked at the Speaking Center since the Fall of 2014. He is a senior, majoring in history with a minor equivalent in psychology. When Michael isn’t working or doing research for his senior thesis, he enjoys being outdoors, playing Mario Kart with his friends, and keeping up with world events.  


Kailey Krystyniak – Lead Consultant

A senior at the University and a lead consultant, Kailey has been working at the Speaking Center for two years. She’s studying Communication with plans to go into social media marketing. In her spare time, she can be found working on one of her many book ideas (and hopefully finishing said book!), penning poetry, watching foreign thrillers, researching Eastern European and Celtic folklore, and reading biology and language books for fun (this is not a joke). She also plays piano, guitar, and sings, and she’s a proud chocolate connoisseur and dog lover.

Mariah Young – Lead Consultant

Mariah Young is a fast-talking political science and journalism double major at the University of Mary Washington. She is finish her senior year, and after graduation she hopes to study public policy in grad school and work in politics as a speechwriter or policy director, eventually ending up in legislative and strategic consulting. She has served as an intern in multiple senate offices, on the re-election campaign for a Virginia senator and at a national non-profit in Washington, D.C.  As the managing editor for the Blue & Gray Press and a debater, Mariah worked at C-SPAN for a semester where she experienced public affairs research presentations at its best. When she isn’t in DC doing her last internship, she can usually be found at the Speaking Center as a lead consultant, or glued to her phone reading any and all of the news. She loves to write and research, especially when it comes to statistics or the media.


Patricia Cole

Patricia Cole

I am a freshman at the University of Mary Washington. I enjoy public speaking and helping others become more comfortable with the idea of speaking in front of people. I like working in the speaking center because it allows me to share my passion of public speaking with others and I get to meet new people.


Miranda Lovett

Miranda is a sophomore Geology major who enjoys watching TV, reading, and listening to music. This is her first year as a consultant at the Speaking Center.


Alex Obolensky

Alexander Obolensky is a junior Political Science major, and has been a member of the Speaking Center staff since 2013. He is a member of the campus a capella group One Note Stand, and involved with the Student Government Association. In his free time he likes writing and performing music of all sorts, and reading obscure news articles.

Victoria Parent

Victoria is an English major in the Secondary Education Program here at UMW. In addition to working in the Speaking Center, she also runs cross country and track & field for UMW and has a winter accessory online business called Honeybear Handmade. 

Erin Raderstorf

My name is Erin Raderstorf and I am currently a sophomore at UMW pursuing a degree in Digital Studies. Because of my knowledge of digital content, the Speaking Center gives me the opportunity to host workshops on digital identity and social media. I’ve been working at the Speaking Center since my freshman year and love the opportunity to help others improve their public speaking skills through student consultations and workshops.


Ahad Shahid

Ahad Shahid

Ahad Shahid is known worldwide as an accomplished speaker ever since his breakout role in the 1st grade as the moon in a school play. Lately, he uses his great oral communication skills for his digital radio show, THE ILL, where he dons his moniker, MC L’ILL Naughty.


Josh Smallwood

Josh Smallwood

Currently, Josh is a freshman here at the University of Mary Washington. This is his first semester working at the Speaking Center. He loves helping people conquer public speaking fears/anxiety! Josh is also active in: Class Council, Washington Guides, and Relay for Life.


Cate Stackhouse

Cate has been a consultant at the Speaking Center since the Spring of 2014. She is a political science and philosophy double major. She is on the university’s policy debate team, student senate, and is a member of Alpha Mu Sigma.


Ray Celeste Tanner

      • Ray Celeste wants you to get to know her a little better:
      • Arrested development is one of RC’s favorite shows (+ the Golden Girls).
      • Yagaboda is not a word.
      • Communication is RC’s favorite sport.
      • Eating is RC’s favorite work activity.
      • Leslie Knope is who RC aspires to be.
      • Effervescent is a good word to describe RC.
      • Sweet tea is RC’s favorite drink.
      • Thirty-four freshly the number of freshly picked raspberries that RC can fit in her mouth at once.
      • Every time RC has submitted a bio, it has not been put on the SPKC website. Fingers crossed this semester!

Madison Thorpe

Madison is a sophomore at UMW. She is a member of the Women’s Rugby team and is a Washington Guide. Madison is a Biology major and aspires to be a Physical Therapist. In her free time she likes to dance and sing but says that she is not particularly good at either one.

Miranda Young

Miranda Young

Miranda Young is a freshman Psychology student that enjoys reading and learning new things. She is also a member of Alpha Mu Sigma.