—contributed by Tom Boroujeni, Professor of Debate
During the holiday break, the Fresno Barking Bulldog Debate Team headed to UC Berkeley for a national debate tournament. They practiced nine hours a week throughout the break and their preparation helped pull them through to win several awards.
Payton Polanco received third place and Demitria Wack received fifth place speaker awards.
Jose Aceves and Sarah Saelee reached the final round of the tournament and lost to a hybrid team from Fresno State. Aceves received the top speaker award and Saelee received the eighth place speaker award.
Lesly Salvador-Leon competed in a hybrid team with student Omar Sheikh from the University of San Francisco. They competed against the Fresno State team in the final round of the tournament and won the round, placing first in the tournament. Salvador-Leon received the fourth place speaker award.
The students continue to shine at the start of the new year.
Three debaters had their paper proposals accepted in the Western State Communication Association’s Undergraduate Scholarships Research Conference: Hunter Sansom, Scott Chapman, and Aranveer Litt. It is the second year that the debaters have been accepted. The previous year, Sansom, Primavera Leal Martinez, and Victoria Cisneros presented. Both Martinez and Cisneros are now graduate students in the communication program at Fresno State. Sansom plans to apply to graduate programs and continue her education.
Tom Boroujeni, the director of debate, is very proud of his team, congratulating them on their successes and hard work and thanking his assistant debate coach, Martinez, for her help with the team.
Furthermore, Demitria Wack, the previous President of the Associated Students Inc., has been accepted into the London School of Economics and University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom (UK). She is still waiting to hear back from the University of Oxford. Wack is planning to study international education policy. Last year, she facilitated an Empowering Young Women for Change Seminar in Tanzania, followed by an internship as a staffer for a member of the UK Parliament. This year she founded and ran a mentor program between Fresno State Student Volunteers and high school students in Fresno Unified to help them with leadership skills, college preparedness, and career possibilities. During this semester, Wack will be volunteering at an educational non-profit organization in Cape Town, South Africa prior to her graduation from Fresno State in May.