Topics: College of Communication Information and Media, Awards

April 30, 2015

Ball State speech team
Out of 79 schools to compete in the National Forensics Association Championship Tournament this month, the Ball State Speech Team came home with a sixth place team award and multiple individual wins.

A pair of Ball State University speech team members recently wrapped up their college careers by winning national honors at the National Forensics Association Championship Tournament.

Huy Pham, a senior majoring in architecture from Evansville, and Berkley Conner, a psychology major from Logansport, each captured individual national championships as well as a duo title in leading the Ball State Speech Team to a sixth place finish.

Hosted by Ohio University, the tournament brought together 79 schools from across the nation to compete. Ball State qualified three seniors, four juniors, four sophomores and three freshmen to compete in the individual and duo championships.

Pham won the national championship in dramatic interpretation against 185 competitors.

Conner won the national championship in after-dinner speaking, beating out 148 competitors, by focusing on the dangers of feminine hygiene products.

“I was very proud to speak on behalf of women who can't speak for themselves,” she said. “These products are often filled with poison or other terrible chemicals. At the same time, there are woman around the globe that don’t have access to good products.”

Pham and Conner teamed up to win the national championship in duo interpretation. Pham also received a fourth-place award in individual sweepstakes while Conner earned a sixth-place honor in the category.

“I was very proud to win for the BSU speech team,” Pham said. “I was overjoyed to be up there with my fellow teammate Berkley Conner as we won in the duo final and celebrated our individual achievements.”

Speech team director Mary Moore, a communication studies instructor, said the pair were great examples of accomplished and prepared team members. They will join her coaching staff next fall as graduate students.

“A sixth-place finish with three national titles made for a perfect ending to a great season,” Moore said. “The individual championships are well deserved. Huy and Berkley have been impressively dedicated and have worked tirelessly for the team and the university over the last four years.”

Moore points that participating in the speech team program prepares students for their post-graduate careers.

“Students learn how to research, write and navigate sophisticated material that they must synthesize and craft into meaningful arguments,” Moore said “After they have written compelling speeches they then tackle the task of perfecting delivery for a wide variety of audiences and judges.

“Mastery of these skills will suit any student seeking any professional and personal pursuits. Our program also teaches students teamwork, time management skills and interpersonal communication.”