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2008.05.05 > For Immediate Release
contact: Tim Kaldahl - University Relations
phone: 402.554.3502 - email: tkaldahl@mail.unomaha.edu

UNO Forensics Takes Home National Level Awards

Omaha - The University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) Forensics Team took home 13th place at the American Forensics National Tournament last month. All of the team’s member qualified in more than 30 speech and oratory events, and two students – Teresa Oberdorfer and Lauren Ackerman – earned national-level honors.

“We’re a small program with a small budget,” said Abbie Syrek, the UNO Forensics coach. “I would have been very happy to be in the top 25. Thirteenth place is fantastic.”

Thirty-two universities sent squads to the tournament, which was hosted by the University of Texas in Austin. UNO competed against powerhouse programs like Western Kentucky. The “season” for forensics runs from September until April.

“I tell people that we’re the public speakers, not the crime scene investigators” Syrek joked. Competitive college forensics includes eleven different competitive speech areas – ranging from impromptu to informative presentations to poetry.

UNO team members include students Lauren Ackerman, Iven Mendoza, Matt Eledge, Chase Moffitt, Courtney Griffith, Teresa Oberdorfer, James Hunt, Buey Ruet, Cameron Logsden, Danielle Steen and Laurie Welch. All are undergraduates, but not all of them are speech communication majors in the School of Communication.

“We have people majoring in English, education, computer science and a range of communications,” Syrek said. “These have been dedicated students who have truly achieved something for UNO.”

Ackerman earned third place honors in oral interpretation; Oberdorfer took sixth place in poetry.

Syrek has begun the recruiting process for next fall already. She also said she hope that she can increase the team’s budget by 50 percent next year so the team can add more students to the squad.

“The team has been exciting to follow this past year,” said Jeremy Lipschultz, director of the UNO School of Communication. “They’ve made university history by doing so well.”

* * *

UNO will celebrate its 100th anniversary beginning October 8, 2008. This celebration will recognize the partnership among the City of Omaha, its citizens and UNO to build a vibrant and dynamic community. The centennial theme is “UNO: Central To Our City Since 1908.” This theme acknowledges the past contributions of UNO to the community and sets the stage for great things to come.

UNO, inaugurated in 1968, emerged from the Municipal University of Omaha, established in 1931, which grew out of the University of Omaha founded in 1908. For Centennial information, go to http://www.unomaha.edu/100/.

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