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March 2, 2012

Fong places first in state forensics tournament, COB students move on to nationals

Forensics Team

Stephen Fong, a sophomore University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire marketing and entrepreneur major from Shorewood, WI, placed first in communication analysis and third in oratory at the Wisconsin State Forensics Tournament held February 17-18, 2012 at UW-Whitewater. » See box below for more about Fong

Other teams in addition to UW-Eau Claire and UW-Whitewater participating at the state competition were Ripon College, UW-Madison, and UW-Oshkosh. UW-Eau Claire was named state champion for the 20th year in a row.

Now that the state tournament is over, members of the UW-Eau Claire forensics team will compete in two national competitions.

Six to eight UW-Eau Claire students, including, COB students Fong and Abby Rand, a junior health care administration major from Melrose, WI, have qualified for the 34th American Forensic Association at Texas State University, San Marcos, TX, which will be held April 6-9, 2012. Fong has qualified in persuasion and rhetorical criticism and Rand has qualified in dramatic interpretation and informative speaking. The tournament is expected to draw more than 900 competitors.

Ohio University in Athens, OH will host the 2012 National Forensics Association (NFA) national tournament April 19-23, 2012. Fifteen UW-Eau Claire students, including COB students Fong, Rand, Kindra Kressin, a senior management major from Benkelman, NE, Mandi Salo, a sophomore operations-materials management major from Duluth, MN and Kyra Witcher, a freshman accounting major from Apple Valley, MN, have qualified for the event. Rand and Fong have qualified in four events, Kressin and Wicher have qualified in three events, and Salo has qualified in two events. Approximately 75 to 125 colleges and universities attend the NFA each year.

The UW-Eau Claire forensics program is managed by Karen Morris, director, and Kelly Jo Wright, assistant director. Morris and Wright are senior lecturers in the Department of Communications and Journalism. To learn more about the forensics program, visit www.uwec.edu/4n6.

Meet COB student Stephen Fong

Stephen FongCOB sophomore Stephen Fong has had an amazing year as a member of the UW-Eau Claire forensic team. In addition to receiving a first in communication analysis and third in oratory at the 2012 Wisconsin State Forensics Tournament, Fong has also qualified for both national forensic competitions.

Participation on the university’s forensics team has kept Fong very busy this year.

The travel schedule for team is as rigorous as any athletic team’s schedule. Activities began September 10th with a full day retreat and they will end with a banquet on May 11. In between those two dates, the team will participate in approximately 25 tournaments.

Like any athlete, Fong prepares for a competition with “a ton of practice”.

Since only five tournaments are in Wisconsin and the remaining ones are in Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, Ohio, South Dakota, Texas and Virginia, Fong and other students on the UW-Eau Claire team often leave for tournaments on Thursdays.

“Luckily teachers are very understanding,” Fong said.

While Fong feels forensics has helped him develop skills such as critical thinking and time management, he feels the ability to effectively communicate is the most important skill he has developed as a team member.

“If I had to take away one life lesson I have learned from forensics it would be communication,” said Fong. “The art of persuasion, informing, and storytelling are at the heart of forensics. These skills are useful in many facets of life including business.”

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