No debate here, the forensics team is on fire!

Learn about the CF Forensics team and their core mission.


Taukiya Williams

The award shelf of the CF Forensics team.

Taukiya Williams
Front row from left to right: Brionna Lassiter, Emily Brouwer, Eileen Hernandez, Sayjal Jaimungal and Dr. Matthew Maddex. Back row from left to right: Zachary Williams, Drake Christmas and Fausto Cepeda.

When people hear the word “forensics” they tend to think of crime scenes, evidence, cultures and anything else that deals with crimes or illegal activity. To a good percentage of the population that believes that is the case, it’s actually a whole different definition in other fields of education. 

The term “forensics” can be tricky to define but the advisor of the forensics team, Dr. Matthew Maddex, was able to define it in his own terms and said, “It comes from Aristotle, forensics means to debate the guilt or innocence of someone.” Maddex would go on to say that in current society it is more about talking about the current issues in the world right now.

If you decide to join the forensics team to compete with or even just the club you can expect to learn about how to research, write and communicate in a public setting. Members will learn how to debate and what the rules are, discuss issues and acquire communication skills that could benefit you in the real world. 

On February 7-8, the team competed at the Florida Intercollegiate Forensics Association championships and to say that the weekend was successful is an understatement. Eileen Hernandez, 20,  got 4th place in persuasive speaking and finished as the top community college persuasive speaker. 

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the team was scheduled to compete in the Phi Rho Pi national competition in Albuquerque, New Mexico for the first time in 10 years. With the cancellation of the event and all spring events, the team will now focus on the fall season competitions once a schedule is released. 

Maddex spoke through email about how it is disappointing to see the season come to an end too soon and has now shifted focus to making sure all the team members finish the spring semester academically strong. Maddex spoke positively about the future of the team and has big plans for the team in the summer.

“I have talked with members about preparing to do individual events they are interested in doing for the start of the fall season. We have also talked about having a team forensics camp over the summer to prepare for events, bond as a team and be prepared for the start of the fall season,”Maddex said.

 Emily Brouwer will be graduating this semester and that will leave the team down a member. Brouwer has been a key part to the team and Maddex spoke about her impact on the team, “Emily has been what I call a glue person. She makes the team stick together and always looks out for other people.” 

“She got the nickname “team mom” because she always has things that other people can use from pens, to notecards to snacks. I want to thank Emily for her profound dedication to the team, to help develop the culture of this program and for being a person I can always turn to. We will all miss Emily deeply, but she will always be part of our team.” 

Maddex spoke about the main goals of the team/club, he said “My philosophy is about finding your voice. We believe in the idea of empowering, we believe in the idea of improving and we believe in the idea of success. So for me, success does not mean trophies, by the time a student is done here that he or she feels they have a voice in their world.”

The Patriot Press was fortunate enough to be able to speak to a couple of the team members including Hernandez, who is also the president of the Forensics Club at CF. Hernandez was asked about what she has learned from being on the team. She said it has taught her that forcing yourself to try things you may be reluctant to do can be beneficial and absolutely rewarding.

Drake Christmas, 19,  a relatively new member to the team, spoke about what he has learned since joining the team. 

Christmas said “I’ve learned a lot, speech wise, and the importance or the true impact it can have. I’ve also been learning how to think on my feet during rounds of competition.” 

When asked why this group has been so successful, Maddex said “They really gel as a team, chemistry is important. The team has done well because we’ve come together as a team. They push each other, they cheer each other on, they go to each other’s rounds and they give feedback to one another. I’ve seen this group in a unique way and they just bond themselves together, I have appreciated that as a coach.”

The only requirement to join the team is to be a student at CF. If you want more information about the club or team you can contact Dr. Matthew Maddex via email at [email protected]