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CSU-Pueblo forensics team to compete in national championships

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Photo courtesy of CSU-Pueblo Forensics
Photo courtesy of CSU-Pueblo Forensics

The forensics team at CSU-Pueblo will be competing in two national championships this season. Each championship will showcase talents in both speech and debate and interpretive events.

The first competition, the National Parliamentary Debate Association National Championship, will take place March 14 at Kansas City Community College in Kansas City, Missouri.

There will be a total of 153 teams from 52 schools competing at this year’s NPDA championship. Each team is made up of two students, and three of the teams competing at the event will be from CSU-Pueblo.

Every team is set to compete in a series of five to six rounds. For each round, the team is given a topic of either speech or debate to compose an argument to. After the topic is presented the teams, they will be given 20 minutes to research the topic and develop an argument.

Teams will then have 40 minutes to present their arguments, according to forensics team member Eliana Taylor.

The forensics team’s goal is to provide participants with the opportunity to build competitive communications skills and challenges participants to think critically.

“You learn how to think on your feet,” Taylor said. “It’s definitely an adrenaline rush.”

According to the team’s page on CSU-Pueblo’s website, “the team operates under the premise that intercollegiate debate is a uniquely rewarding educational experience, enhanced by competitive success and ethical conduct. Commitment and excellence are the foundation of a quality program.”

Taylor is an English major with a communications and rhetoric minor. She has been a part of the forensics team since the fall 2014 semester. She said participation on the team has changed both her academic and personal outlook on the world around her.

“It made me more aware of current events,” she said. It has also influenced her to change her major to one that is geared toward a career that includes the skills she is learning on the team.

The forensic team has been a part of the CSU-Pueblo campus since the 1960s, but activity with the team started to lull during the late 1990s. Only recently has it started to pick back up.

“The team has been a student organization the last two years with minimal participation and travel,” said Kathryn Starkey, the director of the forensics team.

Starkey recently took over leadership of the forensics team. Since she has been directing the team, it has been more organized and active, Taylor said. Team members now meet more frequently, prepare for potential debates and are involved in more competitions.

The second competition the forensics team will participate in this season is the American Forensics Association National Individual Events Tournament at Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon.

This event will take place in April. Forensics team president Dami Ogunbayode was the only member to qualify for the event.

Ogunbayode’s interpretive poetry placed him in high standing at multiple competitions this season. He will be the first CSU-Pueblo student in 18 years to attend the event.