Public Speaking

Activate to Captivate is an interactive 8-week public speaking certificate program that focuses on content creation and effective delivery techniques. You will learn how to overcome nerves, distill your research into an engaging pitch, and learn the vocal techniques to captivate your audience.

About the Instructor: 

Bri McWhorter is the Founder and CEO of Activate to Captivate. Bri teaches communication techniques from an actor’s point of view. She specializes in public speaking, scientific communications, interview skills, and interpersonal communications. She has taught workshops at Fortune 500 companies, privately coached CEOs at nonprofits, and led certificate programs at top universities. She is the creator of W.A.V.E.®, a program where she teaches speakers how to overcome nerves, use body language, and rely on their voice to tell an engaging story. She has coached speakers for academic symposiums at various institutions including UC Office of the President, UC Irvine, and UC Santa Barbara. She has an MFA in Acting from University of California, Irvine and a BA in Theater and Performance Studies from University of California, Berkeley.


What You’ll Learn

Based on acting fundamentals, participants will practice the techniques that top speakers utilize to craft dynamic and compelling presentations. In eight sessions participants will learn:

  • How to overcome self-consciousness
  • Turn passive presentations into active ones
  • Use vocal variety to breathe life into a performance

Who Should Apply

Graduate students and postdoctoral scholars from all disciplines interested in improving public speaking skills in an interactive setting.

Certificate Requirements

This is an 8 session certificate program. You must attend all classes to receive the certificate of completion.

Course Schedule

  • 2023 Summer Schedule 

In-person sessions will take place at the GPSRC, located on the 3rd floor of Gateway Study Center. View the location on the campus interactive map

How to Apply

Complete and submit the Public Speaking by Activate to Captivate Interest Form. The Interest Form will be open until program capacity is reached. 


Questions? Email the Graduate & Postdoctoral Scholars Resource Center at or call 949-824-3849.