Seven students on the Macken Speech & Debate Team have been awarded scholarships provided through a substantial contribution from John Macken ’62, a strong supporter of the forensics program and a Saint Mary's College regent.

Cathy Glenn, hired in fall 2006 as Saint Mary's first full-time director of forensics, said the College "wouldn't have a forensics program without John Macken's support. Every time we meet for a function or chat on the phone, John's enthusiasm for and dedication to Saint Mary's and to the forensics program just astounds me."

The students receiving the scholarships are:

• Elizabeth Patterson ’10, a double major in politics and business administration
• Elissa Meisenheimer ’09, an Integral major
• Shana Dhillon ’09, a communication major
• Logan Newell ’08, business major with emphasis on finance
• Elissa Amaral ’10, undeclared
• Somachi Chris-Asoluka ’11, economics major
• John Lehman ’11, undeclared

All the students, except incoming freshmen Amaral and Chris-Asoluka, were on the team last year.

Glenn said she is looking forward to the upcoming debate season, which begins in September.

"The team accomplished quite a bit last year and ended the season with a respectable record," Glenn said. "With the returning members competing this year and several promising new members joining the team, I expect we'll continue to raise Saint Mary's national profile and ranking in both speech and debate events."

Glenn said students gain many benefits from debating, "but one of the most important is the opportunity to develop a cogent and passionate voice to advocate for social justice issues."

Patterson said she has learned a lot by participating in forensics.

"Through my experience on the team, I have learned that every issue needs a voice to help impact change and to seek justice," she said.

Dhillon said she has gained more perspective through debate.

"In researching and preparing for tournaments, you learn about what's going on in the world, and if you were never interested in it before, this inspires you to become interested," she said.

To learn more, go to www.stmarys-ca.edu/forensics. Interested students are invited to join team members Wed., Aug. 29, from 6-7 p.m. in Assumption 100B for pizza and soda.

Erin Hallissy
Office of College Communications

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