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After a ten-year hiatus, competitive forensics is returning to campus, thanks to the efforts of a solitary Badger — and a few friends, who even dug into their own pockets for funding in 2001.

“From the ’80s until about 1991, we were one of the best teams in the country,” says Sarah Dowd, team co-captain. “In 2001, Chris Klundt [’05] moved here from Milwaukee and discovered we didn’t have a forensics team, so he started ours. For a student to start a successful forensics team is a huge accomplishment and essentially unheard of.”

During the past two years, the team has nearly doubled in size to eighteen active members, recruiting by word of mouth and e-mails, and holding weekly meetings. Steady communication is key to finding committed members, Dowd says, noting that the team is still rebuilding, hoping to eventually match college teams that are three times larger.

That said, six members represented the UW at the National Forensics Association tournament held in Springfield, Missouri, this spring. The team placed seventh in Division 2 competition, and Lucas Moench made the semifinals in extemporaneous speaking.

Beyond the thrill of competition, participating in forensics helps students hone their skills at writing papers and giving speeches. “A ten-minute speech is a five-page paper,” says Dowd. “My ability to write papers has increased tenfold.”

Published in the Summer 2009 issue

Tags: Humanities, Students

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