New ISU Forensics Club to compete

Nina Fox

When Erin Schneider came to Iowa State last year, she found that the Forensics Team, which had once been a club at ISU, was no longer in existence.

“I started off in forensics in high school and was really disappointed when ISU didn’t offer it,” said Schneider, sophomore in political science and environmental studies.

That’s when she decided to start up the club again.

Schneider said the ISU club’s membership was beginning to decline in the early ’90s because it was lacking a formal adviser.

“I think because people lost interest and because of the time commitment that the club finally just called it quits,” Schneider said.

Now, as president of the 15-member ISU Forensics Team, Schneider said she has had fun getting to know people in the club and maintaining the Forensics Team’s mission, which is simply to compete and win.

The team focuses on speaking abilities, including public speaking and oral interpretation.

“Most people join to get experience in public speaking and prepare them for a career,” Schneider said. “But we have all different people in majors ranging from physics and engineering to political science and English.”

Though the team can be time consuming by personal choice, Schneider said practices usually only take up about two to three hours per week.

The Forensics Team will be attending a tournament at St. Ambrose College in Davenport this weekend. It will have the opportunity to compete against other Iowa colleges, including the University of Iowa and the University of Northern Iowa.

“Past tournaments have gone pretty well, our biggest win being at Midland Lutheran College in Nebraska where we won the Sweepstakes Award,” Schneider said.

She said each of the competition areas of public speaking and oral interpretation are judged for presentation, quality and confidence.

“I personally think the extemporaneous speaking is the hardest,” Schneider said. “It’s a five-to-seven-minute speech on any given topic with 30 minutes to research, prepare and memorize. We call it the 30 minutes of hell.”

Schneider said the club has excelled in many areas of public speaking, but especially in the dramatic interpretations.

“The dramatic interpretations are basically cuttings from plays or pieces of fiction that are rehearsed,” Schneider said. “I’d definitely have to say that was our stronger point.”

Tim Kearns, vice president and treasurer, said he joined the team because he wanted to get involved in an activity or organization.

“I was successful in my high school’s Forensic Team, and I really wanted to continue that at college mainly because I enjoy the competition,” said Kearns, freshman in political science.

Kearns has participated in several tournaments this year.

“Being in the club has really been beneficial to me in developing basic speaking skills that are needed in any career field,” Kearns said. “I’ve also had the opportunity to create my own material and to express my own viewpoint.”

The Forensics Team encourages any student interested in joining to contact Schneider at [email protected]