Campus: CSU Los Angeles -- April 19, 2004

Cal State L.A. Student Crowned National Forensic Champion for Dramatic Interpretation

Cal State L.A. student Tatiana Simonian (Long Beach resident), a communication studies major, was recently crowned national champion of dramatic interpretation at the American Forensic Association’s (AFA) National Individual Events Tournament (NIET) in Long Beach, CA.

Simonian swept past more than 150 competitors from colleges and universities across the nation in seizing the top honor. This marks Cal State L.A.’s fifth national championship in individual events over the last 11 years. Simonian’s interpretation, “You My Dear, Are a Very Special Starfish” by Derrick Brown, explores standards of “normalcy” and the costs associated with the imposition of such standards. Simonian also advanced to the semi-final rounds in the category of program oral interpretation.

Additionally, four Cal State L.A. students qualified for the AFA’s NIET in a total of 20 different events. They include: Chris Day, Justin Perkins, Andrea Snyder, and Robert Theiring. Justin Perkins also advanced to quarter-finals in the category of program oral interpretation, placing him among the top 24 in the country. This is the 17th consecutive year in which Cal State L.A. had earned the right to attend the AFA’s NIET. Along with Professor Stephanie Hood, assistant director of forensics, the coaching staff included Josh Fleming, Javon Johnson, Richie Hao and Michael Kalustian.

The NIET is analogous to a track meet, where students must qualify to compete, explains Kevin Baaske, Cal State L.A.’s director of forensics. “I am very proud of all of the CSULA students who qualified for and competed at the nation’s top Individual Event Tournament. Tatiana’s outstanding achievement is truly noteworthy. Keep in mind that these competitors represent many of the best institutions—public and private—in the country, and that frequently, other competing students have received scholarships to compete in forensics.”

Baaske adds, “And, [Tatiana] is the fifth CSULA student to win a national championship in the last 11 years—more than any other California school over the same time period! I couldn’t be prouder of the accomplishments of this individual, this team, and its coaches.”

For more information, contact Kevin Baaske, chair and professor of Communication Studies at Cal State L.A., (323) 343-4200.

Media Contact: Margie Yu, Public Affairs Specialist, (323) 343-3047

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