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December 13, 2018

SVSU forensics students impress judges; 9 have qualified for national tournament

SVSU ForensicsThe Saginaw Valley State University forensic team continued to collect the rewards of its determined preparation, winning several honors at the Michigan Intercollegiate Speech League State Tournament at Eastern Michigan University Saturday, Dec. 8.

SVSU students claimed six of the 11 top novice awards, given to the student who places highest in an event and who has participated in fewer than six competitions. The SVSU team is largely comprised of novice competitors.

Three students qualified for the National Forensics Association competition in April 2019 by virtue of their impressive public speaking at the tournament:

  • Aubree Harrell of Essexville and Josh Lloyd of Bay City, both communication and theatre majors, earned top novice as well as second place for their duo interpretation performance.
  • Tiler Jewell, a communication and creative writing major from Midland, earned third place in persuasion.

Students on the SVSU forensics team say they have grown through the many hours of study and rehearsing, and from the team camaraderie.

“Coming from a theatrical background, I assumed I knew all that I needed to know about public speaking, and boy was I wrong!” Lloyd said. “Forensics has helped to broaden my horizons in public speaking, as well as creative thinking.”

Jewell said her involvement has helped her academically and socially.

“Forensics has given me a place to belong at SVSU when I was unsure of myself,” she said. “I'm proud of how far I’ve come and I'm even prouder of our amazing team.”

Six SVSU students qualified for nationals at previous tournaments. They are:

  • Kennedy Bachman, a communication major from Grand Blanc
  • Monae Hawthorne, a criminal justice major from Detroit
  • Darious Henry, a communication major from Chesterfield Township
  • Gina Kearly,  a communication major from Midland
  • Ashley Murdock, a communication major from Oxford
  • Courtney Perrou, a communication major from Pinconning 

Other SVSU students to place at the Michigan Intercollegiate Speech League State Tournament include:

  • Samantha White, a communication major from North Branch, who earned second place in rhetorical criticism, along with earning top novice award in that event.
  • Henry, who earned third place in dramatic interpretation and fourth place in persuasion. He also earned top novice awards in both events.
  • Kearly, who earned third place in the POI event.
  • Hawthorne, who earned fourth place in poetry and top novice award in that category.
  • Perrou, who earned fourth place in prose as well as top novice award in that category.

SVSU finished third overall among the seven Michigan colleges and universities who competed at the event.  

The SVSU forensics team is coached by Amy Pierce, associate professor of communication, and Ryan Rigda, lecturer of communication.

“Seeing students apply what they have learned in a competitive, academic environment is rewarding to me as a professor of communication,” Pierce said. “These tournaments provide an opportunity for academic debate and foster an environment of inclusivity. SVSU students contribute to this dialogue and serve as ambassadors for our university.”

The next forensics tournament for SVSU is MISL Novice States, held for students competing in their first six tournaments. That will be hosted by Northwood University Saturday, Feb. 16.