What is MavForensics? – The Maverick forensics team is a nationally-competitive speech program. Forensics is a co-curricular student organization. Students in this activity spend their weeks developing their research, critical thinking, public speaking, and performance skills. Then, on the weekends, they travel to different colleges and universities throughout the country to compete with their speaking events. Students can compete in public speaking events (Informative Speaking, Persuasive Speaking, After Dinner Speaking, and Communication Analysis), limited preparation events (Extemporaneous Speaking and Impromptu Speaking), or oral interpretation of literature (Poetry Interpretation, Dramatic Interpretation, Prose Interpretation, Duo Interpretation, and Program of Oral Interpretation). Students on the MavForensics team perform 4-6 events at each tournament.
Who can join MavForensics? We would love to hear from anyone interested! While the forensics program is housed in the College of Communication, Fine Arts and Media, it serves all university students. Forensics competitors have had a range of academic majors, including biotechnology, communication studies, computer science, mathematics, political science, business, and education. Regardless of major, experience, or expertise, MavForensics welcomes all students to become part of this unique, academically-centered activity.
Although team auditions are typically held in the summer before the season begins, we are always looking for new people interested in forensics. If you'd like more information about the team or how to join, please contact any member of our coaching staff!
What’s your season like? – Typically, we travel to 3 tournaments a month from September through March. Our students travel across the country, from Illinois to Texas. The season culminates with the American Forensic Association-National Individual Events Tournament, held the first weekend in April.
Most tournament weekends we leave Friday after students are out of class for competition and return Sunday night. While traveling, students will often compete in two different tournaments at the same campus, one on Saturday and one on Sunday. This ensures students get as many opportunities to speak as possible even if they don’t make it to finals. Between rounds students also develop networking skills as they interact with competitors and coaches from around the country – helping prepare them for business networking later in life.
Are you guys any good? – We like to think so! For the last two years, the team has been ranked fifth in the nation. We have won five individual event national championships in the last three years, including a championship last year at the prestigious Interstate Oratory Competition, the nation’s oldest speaking contest.
Is it all about competition? – Far from it. The greatest value of forensics is that it helps team members grow to be well-rounded human beings. This growth is especially clear in their academics, professional development, and personal development. Academically, forensics is such a diverse experience that promotes a variety of skills students will use throughout their education. Artistic understanding is enhanced through the Interpretive Events, research and scholastic skills are developed through the Public Address speeches, and critical thinking is honed through the Limited Preparation Events. Additionally, students learn from one another by engaging in peer-coaching that helps to improve their critical thinking and editing. Students often choose topics for competition related to their studies which enhances their classroom learning and, in turn, makes them more competitively successful because they are speaking about something they are truly interested in.
Professionally, participation in forensics helps students to gain valuable skills and practice applying them. Working on 4-6 events simultaneously helps students to learn to multitask efficiently. The rigorous schedule, and strict academic eligibility requirements, also encourages students to develop their focus, efficiency and dedication to each of the many aspects of their lives. In addition to networking, the competition environment and judges’ feedback teaches students how to win and lose gracefully and accept constructive criticism. Finally, since most members of MavForensics work in addition to being students their participation helps them to find a balance between their professional and personal lives.
Just as important to MavForensics as skill development and competition, is the opportunity it gives students for personal development. Our team’s unofficial mission statement is to help students use their opportunity to speak in a protected space to voice the concerns of those who do not have the same chance and to improve the lives of others and our community. Many times, the students are able to use this opportunity to not only advocate for others but to make sense of their own struggles and turn them into something positive. While all speaking activities have that potential, it is a primary focus for MavForensics. This is because what makes us so special is that we are, first and foremost, a family. Our team prides itself on embracing students who may be struggling with some aspect of life. We are inclusive, supportive of diversity and tolerance, and so lucky to have this opportunity.