Hannah Strange

  • 5 years on the team
  • Graduation: 2011
  • Competed in: Speech. Mostly Impromptu, ADS, Info, Extemp
  • Major in college: Tourism, Recreation and Sport Management

What I liked most about the team:
Apart from the fact that the team was my family, my favourite thing was the conversations – we talked about everything from politics to feminism and Harry Potter, not just about boys (though of course, there was some of that too!)

What I’ve been doing:
I now work for a Study Abroad Organisation that takes American students to the south pacific. A lot of the time my life is like a giant speech tournament as I navigate strange campuses looking for classrooms to give speeches in while I’m promoting study abroad!

How I feel like Speech impacted me:
When I first joined the team, I was actually scared of public speaking – now it’s my job and I look forward to it every day! My time on the team made me more confident, well informed, and a little outspoken! The friendships I made here are relationships I will treasure for life.

Favourite Memory:
On a particularly cold tournament in Ohio, a certain member of the team decided to introduce us to the game ‘who has the ball’, more hours than I care to think of went by before we finally revealed the answer!

Favourite Topic:
An ADS on giving voting rights to green card holders

Eleni Christou

  • Years on the team: 2
  • Graduation year: 2013
  • What you competed in (ie Speech, Policy, Parliamentary debate): Policy
  • Major in college: History

What you liked most about the team:
The way it made me think and the camaraderie.

What you have been doing since you graduated:
Serving in the Peace Corps in Morocco

How you feel like the Speech and Debate Team has impacted you:
It made me look at the world differently, think differently, and be able to construct arguments more effectively.

Favorite memory of the team:
There are so, so many, that I can’t possibly pick one. Basically any time we traveled as a team I had a blast.

Favorite topic you spoke or debated on:

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Jessica Moscoso

  • Years on the team: 4
  • Graduation year: 2012
  • What you competed in: Speech (although I did compete once in Parliamentary)
  • Major in college: Criminology and Political Science

What you liked most about the team:
The team was my family and support system while I was at Florida.

What you have been doing since you graduated:
I am entering my last year of Law School.

How you feel like the Speech and Debate Team has impacted you
The Speech and Debate team helped me develop my communication skills. I am now a more confident speaker and writer thanks to my time with the team. It also allowed me to develop friendships that will last the rest of my life.

Favorite memory of the team:
I have way too many to choose from! Off the top of my head right now… my second year road trip to Bama early in the Fall semester. I was a year into speech so I had a better since of what I was doing and was loving my events (like my male geisha CA) and that road trip created a lot of inside jokes and strong bonds with the many members of the team.

Favorite topic you spoke or debated on:
My poetry piece on being bilingual (English & Spanish).

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Elenore (Cotter) Klingler

Major in college:

  • Political science

Years on the team

  • Competitor, 1996-1998;
  • Assistant coach, 1999-2003

Graduation year:

  • 1998 (Undergrad);
  • 2003 (Law school and Graduate school)

What you competed in (ie  Speech, Policy, Parliamentary debate)

Speech, with a tiny, unfortunate venture into parli.  I considered myself an extemper who did other events in order to travel or for pentath.

What you liked most about the team

The team is family.  We laugh, fight, cry, practice, study, and drive for hours (and hours) together.  And, like family, we stay in touch after we leave home.  I’ve been to debate weddings (including my own!) and held debate babies.  I’ve been to debate funerals.  If you’re part of the team, really a part, then it’s a part of you forever.

What you have been doing since you graduated

I married Rob, went to law school, moved to Atlanta, practiced law full-time, had two babies, and now practice law very part-time when I’m not transporting children to or from school.  Rumor has it that I am a wildly popular Girl Scout troop leader, which I hope everyone I knew on the team has a good laugh about.  Sadly, I also drive a minivan, with which I had much experience on the team.

How you feel like the Speech and Debate Team has impacted you

The team gave me a place to call home in the huge community that is UF.  It gave me lifelong friends (not to mention a partner in life!).  It gave me critical thinking and quick response skills that I use in my professional and personal life everyday.  And it gave me the ability to B.S. about absolutely anything for seven minutes.  It is not an overstatement in the least to say that joining the team was one of the most important decisions of my life.

Favorite memory of the team

At my last nationals at the University of Mississippi, we arrived into Oxford incredibly late and drove to the hotel recommended to us by our host.  When we got there, we discovered that it was the kind of room one can rent on an hourly basis.  Seriously, the beds had slots for quarters.  Of course, there were no hotel rooms to be found.  We had just decided to sleep in the vans when our friends at the University of Alabama called to share their rooms with us.  Never underestimate the power of D6 love!

Favorite topic you spoke or debated on

My terrible prose piece that I did for pentath purposes is one of my favorites, because really, no one should have been subjected to me interping anything.  But extemp was always my favorite:  any topic, anytime.  There’s nothing like that rush of prep!

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Rob Klingler

Major in college

  • Political Science

Years on the team

  • Competitor from Fall ’93 through Fall ‘96;
  • Assistant Coach from Spring ’97 through Fall ‘03

Graduation year

  • December 1996 (undergrad)
  • May 1999 (grad school)
  • May 2003 (law and business school)

What you competed in (ie  Speech, Policy, Parliamentary debate)?

Primarily competed in policy, with a little impromptu and extemp.  Primarily coached parli, with a little speech and even less policy.

What you liked most about the team?

The friendships and camaraderie. The speech and debate team made the University of Florida feel like a relatively small place, with a great group of friends (who felt more like family than friends).

What you have been doing since you graduated?

I’ve been a practicing attorney in Atlanta, Georgia since graduating, and I’m now a partner with the international law firm of Bryan Cave LLP.  We represent community banks in all types of corporate transactions, including raising capital and buying and selling each other.

How you feel like the Speech and Debate Team has impacted you?

Obviously the biggest impact is that it introduced me to my wife and ultimately led to our two kids.  For those that can’t be as lucky as I was, I’d say that there’s a reason so many debaters end up in law school; the critical thinking skills developed in debate are useful every day in the practice of law.

Favorite memory of the team?

My partner, Jeff Petersen, and I were in the final round for policy debate at the 1995 state championship.  I have absolutely no recollection who we were debating against, but it had been a pretty stressful round, and we receiving oral critiques from the judges before they announced the decision.  I recall that Kellie was in the back of the room (having left the tab room to hear the results).  One of the judges, a coach of another Florida school, started providing, in my opinion, really stupid comments, and I recall that I said, rather loudly, “Go to Hell.”  Notwithstanding my outburst, we won 2-1, picking up the vote of the judge that I had told to go to hell.  (Later that day, I had the same judge for an extemp round; I did not advance in extemp.)

Favorite topic you spoke or debated on?

I have absolutely zero recollection of any of the actual topics that I debated.  However, I do recall: misspelling Florida (Florlida, I believe) in an elimination round at my first college tournament at the University of South Carolina,  debating (and losing) to Florida State, with my parents in the room, that nuclear war was bad (except, as FSU pointed out, it would prevent the aliens from completely destroying us), and, in my last debate round as a competitor, losing in an elimination round (2-1) at Vanderbilt where we ran 12 minutes of topicality in the negative block.

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Idania (Herrera) Blankenship

  • Years on the team: 9 years (2005 – 2014)
  • Graduation year: 2008
  • Major in college: Public Relations

What you competed in:
Speech — specifically: Duo, Prose, POI, Poetry, Impromptu & Info.

What you liked most about the team:
The relationships I have made, many of which are as close as family.

What you have been doing since you graduated:
After graduating in 2008, I went on to become an assistant speech coach with the team until 2014, met the man of my dreams, married him and am now living in West Virginia where I miss my UF Speech & Debate family something fierce!

How you feel like the Speech and Debate Team has impacted you:
The impact of this team, for me, extends beyond speeches, tournaments, and even the skills I acquired. This team is a part of who I am, a part of my identity. I grew up on this team. I learned about life, myself and how to truly accept, embrace and love others, regardless of my own beliefs or differences. I’m a better person for having been a part of this team. A person who is profoundly grateful to call the UF Speech & Debate team my family.

Favorite memory of the team:
My favorite? As in just one? Yikes…. umm… when Scott Stewart, Raju Vyas, Amy Martinelli & I got into the wrong car at nationals thinking we were in Amy’s car and wondering why it wouldn’t start…

Favorite topic you spoke or debated on:
With this Ring, I Me Wed – Prose piece arguing that you do not have to wait for a man to love you enough to buy you your favorite ring. Buy it yourself. Love yourself.