UIC students take second in public speaking statewide

Aerial view of the skyline at sunset from east side.

In its third year, University of Illinois Chicago’s Forensics program took second at the 2021 Illinois Intercollegiate Forensics Association State Tournament hosted virtually March 5-6.

In the 11 speech categories, UIC students captured six state titles. Senior Damian Samsonowicz was recognized as the tournament’s top speaker for his success across six events, while fellow senior and team president Onyinye Udeogu finished as runner-up overall for her success across six events.

Samsonowicz won the state title in dramatic interpretation, while placing third in program oral interpretation, fifth in communication analysis and third in duo interpretation with freshman Jazz Jabulani.

Udeogu won titles in poetry interpretation and duo interpretation with junior/team secretary Jaron Cano. Udeogu also was runner-up in prose interpretation.

Team Vice President Maleeha Rasheed won the state title in impromptu speaking and took third in informative speaking. She, along with sophomore Ben Karp, entered the International Public Debate Association competition at the tournament. Rasheed placed fifth overall in debate competition.

Sophomore Chris Rapp won the state title in extemporaneous speaking. Sophomore Zoe Bridges won the state title in informative speaking, besting teammates freshman Lavontae Morrow, who took second place, and Rasheed, who took third place. Bridges took fifth place in prose interpretation. Jabulani took third place in after dinner speaking, adding to the team’s overall success.

In recognition of their collective efforts in the 11 competition categories the team was awarded second place for individual events team and decond place among community colleges and four-year colleges and universities in the state.

UIC Director of Forensics Vance Pierce was both excited and proud of the team’s results.

“Our students have worked hard beginning in the summer to prepare for this season,” he said. “They have put in a lot of effort both in practice and in competition for moments like these. The challenges they face as speakers along with being students and leaders in other organizations on campus and working were compounded by the virtual competitive environment this season.”

Despite their success at the state tournament, the season is far from over.

“We are excited about the results from this tournament, but we are focused on achieving our team goals,” Pierce said. “Last year, the pandemic canceled the national tournaments. While we celebrate the state tournament, we know there is a ton of work to be done to be in the ready and be in the best possible position as individuals and as a team.”

Check out the UIC Forensics Facebook Page, UICSpeech Instagram or UICSpeech Twitter.

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