Debate-speech team competes nationally

A team of students from University of Washington Bothell was the only team from the state to compete in a recent speech and debate national competition.

Denise Vaughan, director of forensics, says the UW Bothell Speech and Debate team made an excellent showing in competition with 87 teams from around the country.

The National Comprehensive Speech and Debate Tournament was sponsored by the Pi Kappa Delta honor society and held over four days in March at the University of Kentucky in Lexington.

The team was made up of Matthew Bennett of Oakland, Ore., who is pursuing a degree in physics; Alexander Tullar, of Tacoma, pursing dual degrees in business and math; and Zynia Chapman of Tacoma, pursuing a degree in community psychology.

In the International Public Debate Association open division Chapman was awarded 31st, Tullar 32nd and Bennett 33rd.  It’s a form of debate that focuses on the speaker’s ability to be accessible to a public audience, rather than just a debate or academic community, Vaughan said.

Chapman was also awarded an excellent rating in interviewing, placing in the top 20 percent of the country. 

The nationals were the pinnacle of the season, but the team also is competing in the Northwest Parliamentary Debate Championships this weekend hosted by Cascadia College, Vaughan said.

Forensics at UW Bothell includes Introduction to Debate BIS 217, which covers the basics of argumentation and debate, Taskforce BIS 494, which focuses on debate practice and the research required for competition, and Public Speaking and Communication BIS 237, which teaches some of the individual speaking events offered in forensics.

Vaughan says everyone is welcome to join the club, which hosts public events and carries out community service.

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