MSU speech and debate team wins first regional championship

debate team 2021

Contact: Sarah Nicholas


     STARKVILLE, Miss.— The Mississippi State University Speech and Debate Council edged out 29 other colleges and universities to win first place Overall Sweeps at the Southern Forensics Championship Tournament last month, marking the first regional championship for the team.


     Fourteen MSU students competed in debate and individual speaking events, earning a cumulative thirty awards.


     Mia C. Robertson, a junior political science major from Starkville, was selected to represent the students of Mississippi on the tournament’s governing board. Cheryl Chambers, an MSU communication instructor and director of the speech and debate team, was named the SFC Coach of the Year.


     In Informative Speaking, Eric Humphries, a senior biochemistry major from Louisville, placed 3rd, and was the top novice for the event. In Persuasive Speaking, Matteo R. Mauro, a freshman communication major from Gulf Breeze, FL, placed 4th, Robertson placed 3rd, and Dawn M. Jackson, a senior business economics major from Baldwyn, finished in 1st place.


     Robertson and Jackson qualified to compete in the Interstate Oratorical Association Tournament later this year.


     In Team IPDA debate, Robertson partnered with Tyler J. Melvin, a junior history major from Savannah, winning the round together.


     Robertson’s results across three events earned the 1st place Individual Overall Sweeps award.


     In the novice debate division, Collin R. Staten, a freshman mechanical engineer major from Coffeeville, (5th place speaker) and Ryan Jarratt, senior political science major from Vicksburg, (1st place speaker) finished as octo-finalists, and Anne Elizabeth Harrington, a senior political science major from Madison, (4th place speaker) advanced to the semi-final round.


     In the JV division, Patrick T. McKenzie, a freshman business economics major from Canton, GA, finished as an octo-finalist and Baylee M. Seeman, a junior English major from Jonesboro, AR, advanced to the quarter-final round.


     In varsity, Nirmal Bhatt, a senior mechanical engineering major from Collierville, TN, finished as an octo-finalist, Melvin finished as a quarter-finalist, and Robertson advanced to the semi-final round. Melvin went undefeated in the preliminary rounds and earned the 2nd place speaker award in his division.


     MSU Speech and Debate is led by head coach Cheryl Chambers and debate coach William “Brett” Harvey, director of MSU’s Title IX and EEO programs.


     For more information about MSU’s Speech and Debate Council, visit or contact Chambers at


     MSU’s College of Arts and Sciences includes more than 5,200 students, 323 full-time faculty members, nine doctoral programs, 15 master’s programs, and 27 undergraduate academic majors offered in 14 departments. It also is home to the most diverse units for research and scholarly activities, including natural and physical sciences, social and behavioral sciences, and the humanities. For more details about the College of Arts and Sciences, visit


     MSU is Mississippi’s leading university, available online at

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