The Nation's Oldest Continuously Published Student Newspaper

The Simpsonian

The Nation's Oldest Continuously Published Student Newspaper

The Simpsonian

The Nation's Oldest Continuously Published Student Newspaper

The Simpsonian

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Speech and Debate under new direction

Photo submitted to The Simpsonian
Tiana Brownen (left) and Justin Fields (right) joined Marisa Mayo (middle) as Speech and Debate leadership.

The Speech and Debate team is under new direction after Spencer Waugh changed positions this year. Simpson replaced Waugh with Tiana Brownen as the new director of Speech, Debate and Mock Trial and also hired Justin Fields as assistant director of Speech and Debate.

Brownen has been involved with Speech and Debate since seventh grade and competed in high school and college. Brownen got her undergraduate degrees at Southwest Baptist University and her master’s at Missouri State University, and she happened to compete against Simpson when she was in college.

“I can’t speak highly enough of the warm reception that I’ve received from literally everyone on campus,” Brownen said. “I think that is a really special thing that Simpson has here in terms of community and culture around Simpson.”

Fields has been involved with Speech and Debate for ten years. He was recruited to join Speech and Debate while in college and fell in love with it. He attended College of Western Idaho, transferred to Boise State University and went to grad school at Gonzaga. 

“I’m really excited to be here,” he said. “I’m really excited to work with this team. [It] has a rich history of excellence, and I’m excited to be a part of that, [to] bring in my experience to help create something that is going to keep lasting.”

The team started its season at the end of August, practicing two to three times a week as a team. The coaching staff also schedules individual meetings throughout the week to help accommodate the size of the team.

The team’s first competition, the Derryberry Season Opener at Southwest Baptist University, will be Sept. 29-30.

“It’s the first tournament of the season for most schools, so it’s a good way to kind of gauge where students are at and to help students get ready for what’s to come,” Brownen said.

“Winning is awesome, right?” Fields said. “But, I think seeing the team dynamics and seeing the team come together because you always have a team, but until you go to that first tournament, that’s when the bonding starts to really happen. That’s when people forge those relationships, and that’s when the bond really clicks.”

The team’s long-term goal is to win another national championship. The short-term goals are for students to be competitively successful, ensure student growth and enable them to have more confidence.

“That’s what we really care about,”  Brownen said. “We want students to continually be learning skills that they can then apply not only to the competitive debate field but to life and to future-oriented tasks.”

She also talked about wanting to build a community with the team, commenting on how the Speech and Debate community is like a kaleidoscope of different perspectives that helps to change a lot of things in a member’s life they weren’t expecting.

“Some of my closest friends are people who I didn’t go to school with, but I met when we were competing against one another,” Brownen said.

Brownen and Fields both commented on how great the team’s acceptance has been, which has helped with the successful start of the practice season. One of their favorite parts about directing for the program is working with the students. 

“Here at Simpson College, we have a lot of humble students and that’s awesome because they’re here to work hard, and they’re here to do their best. And, seeing that is very rewarding,” Fields said.

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Abby Hintz
Abby Hintz, ID Magazine Editor-in-Chief & Layout Editor

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