By Amanda Osborn
Ashley Nuckles Cuevas began her speech and debate career in 2000 when she joined the debate team in high school. She went on to get her degree in forensics at Point Loma Nazarene University. In 2015 Ashley became debate director at PLNU as well as Assistant Director of Forensics. She is now the Director of Forensics and San Diego State University and head of the debate program, also known as Aztec Forensics.
After the retirement of the previous Director of Forensics in 2018, just two continuing members were left of on the Speech and Debate team. This has given Nuckles Cuevas a clean slate in which to build a team and department. Her focus this year is to build relationships in four areas – the speech and debate community, the SDSU community, the San Diego community, and most importantly, the students on the team.
Unlike other speech and debate teams that split the teams into squads, students in Aztec Forensics perform both speech and debate, simultaneously building skills in these two areas. Nuckles Cuevas wants to create a welcoming atmosphere, and a team culture of empowerment and will implement a ‘team member of the week,’ as well as individual profiles for each team member. According to Nuckles Cuevas, “the team is an awesome intersection of all personalities.”
The SDSU School of Communications and the Speech and Debate Team will host the Aztec Invitational on Friday, Oct. 5 through Sunday, Oct. 7 on the SDSU campus. The Invitational includes forty schools, and competitions running from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. Topics will include policy debate along with other individual events. All students are welcome to attend the competitions.
In addition, the Speech and Debate Team is planning events that will be open to the community. The first community event, An Evening of Debate, is on Thursday, Nov. 1, in the Student Union Theater at 5:00 p.m., just in time for midterm elections. It will be an evening of debates and presentations to inspire ownership in team members, and help the campus and San Diego communities engage in discourse.
The team mantra has three keys points – Empower voices, facilitate discourse, and cultivate community. This mantra guides the team throughout the semester.
The content within this article has been edited by Lizbeth Persons.News List