My time on the Moorpark Speech Team is what defined my community college experience and created an opportunity to continue my competitive career and education at a stellar university. Moorpark Forensics taught me skills I used throughout my education and continue to use in my professional career a decade later. I owe so much of my success to finding my way to the speech team as soon as I landed at Moorpark.
Melanie Hopkins, Marketing Manager, Great Place to Work
I was a member of the Moorpark College Forensics Team from 2007 through 2009. Joining the Moorpark College Forensics team was one of the most impactful and positive things that I’ve done in my life. During my time on the Moorpark team, I worked with coaches that genuinely cared about my progress, learned invaluable skills, and made lifelong friends, three of whom were groomsman in my wedding. [When you join] If you end up joining the team, know that you’re becoming a member of a family—one that is both supportive and constantly encouraging you to be your “best self.”
The Moorpark team was foundational in my professional career and my personal life. With the skills I gained from the team, I was able to graduate UCLA, graduate UC-Berkeley School of Law, and become an attorney. More importantly, though, the team introduced me to some of the greatest people I know. I truly cannot picture my life without Moorpark College Forensics Team.
Christopher Maciel, Associate, Katten, Muchin, & Rosenman LLP
My name is Caitlyn Rosenberg, and I am a 2017-2018 MoFo alumni! In all honesty, before joining Moorpark’s Forensics team, I had absolutely no direction. I had been “full-time” at Moorpark for 3 years, taken dozens of classes (only finished about half of them) and hadn’t found a community on campus. Then I took a debate class with Allison Stewart. For the first time in a long time, a professor believed in me and saw talent that I couldn’t see in myself. I have Moorpark’s Forensics team (and all the INCREDIBLE coaches who devote so much of their time and energy to this activity) to thank for introducing me to some of my best friends and UCLA roommates, for giving me the confidence to advocate for communities that are too often overlooked, and most of all -- for giving me a voice. The research and writing skills I gained while on the team prepared me to graduate from UCLA with Latin Honors, move to Washington, DC for an internship in the Senate, and get my dream job at EMILY’s List -- the nation’s largest resource for women in politics. Now, I work every day to elect pro-choice Democratic women up and down the ballot who will fight for reproductive freedom and racial justice. I have Moorpark Forensics to thank for that. Now, hurry up and join!!
Caitlyn Rosenberg, Digital Director, Emily’s List
I can directly attribute all of the success that I’ve had in my life to my training in speech and debate. Because of the training I received from coaches at Moorpark College I became the captain of University of Notre Dame’s Speech and Debate Team. I then used my training in debate to convince my wife to marry me which was my greatest achievement. We have been married for 17 years and have 7 children. I have built several companies and have been backed by some of the most prominent Silicon Valley venture firms in the world. Pepperdine even named their entrepreneurship program the Peate Institute for Entrepreneurship... You can imagine that took some convincing. I’m sharing this with you for only one reason. To let you know that we become successful because of our education and our training. The success that I’ve had is because of the training I received in speech and debate and particularly by the coaches at Moorpark College. Being able to communicate your ideas effectively is crucial. If you make one decision this year as a college student join the speech and debate team. It will literally change your life.
Dan Peate, Founder, Avinew, Hixby, & Peate Ventures
Moorpark Forensics helped shape me into the woman I am today. I did not realize my full potential as a public speaker, student, or member of society until I joined the team. The skills I learned being a MOFO lead me to work for multiple politicians in Sacramento. I now am the Director of Public Policy and Economic Development for the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. I would not have had the courage to apply nor the skills to land the job without the experience and confidence I learned while being on the Moorpark Forensics Team. Before joining the team, I had little self-confidence and didn’t believe I was capable of accomplishing extraordinary things. Rolland showed me a talent I never knew I had and guided me throughout the process. I was only on the team one semester, but that semester was the best experience of my higher educational career.
Carli Olson, Director of Public Policy and Economic Development Hollywood Chamber of Commerce
Joining Moorpark Forensics was one of the best decisions I made during college because it helped me grow into a well-rounded person with unparalleled critical thinking and research skills. Being able to write, memorize, and perform meaningful speeches has given me a leg up with every professional opportunity and even helped secure a full ride to law school. I’d recommend joining the team to absolutely everyone—you will be so much better for it!
Sophie Honeyman, University of Chicago Law School ‘21
Moorpark Forensics was by far my favorite part of college. I have memories of some teachers here and there, but I remember so very much about my time competing on the Forensics Team. Not even at UCLA afterwards did I gain as much valuable and practical experience for the real world as I did at Moorpark. There is nothing more valuable in the workforce than being able to efficiently communicate with other people. And that is what you gain from competing on the Moorpark Forensics Team. You gain confidence in your speaking ability and an aptitude for thinking and responding quickly and confidently. It will challenge you in ways you didn’t realize you needed to be challenged. I highly recommend the Moorpark Forensics Program to every young person I meet. And beyond that, to any adult who wants to be a better speaker.
Ryan Gesell, Associate Vice President, Cline Agency
I've worked in several different industries and in each, I've been able to apply the skills I learned as a forensics competitor. Of course, being comfortable with public speaking is helpful in virtually every walk of life, but the benefits of competing in forensics don't end there. You'll learn the importance of teamwork, grit, and time management all while honing your problem solving skills and learning about important local and global topics. Forensics taught me how to see both sides of any given issue, how to form thoughtful opinions I am proud of, and how to respectfully disagree with others. These are all skills that have helped me in my various careers, but they've also come in handy numerous times in relationships with loved ones. Simply put, Moorpark College Forensics surrounded me with wonderful people and made me a better person.
Priya Rajan, MD Candidate, UCR School of Medicine, Class of 2023
After working for Senator Kamala Harris, graduating with honors from Cornell University, and landing a top national security job in Washington DC, I credit so much of this success to my seminal experiences on the Moorpark Forensics (Speech and Debate) team. When you think about the benefits of Moorpark Forensics, you probably think public speaking and policy analysis — but that only scratches the surface. What I found invaluable was that you work on these and many more crucial skills while making friends with and building a network of the best and brightest students that Moorpark College and California colleges and universities have to offer. These people become your family, they root for your success, and years later you recognize that it is upon their shoulders that you are standing as you all collectively make a meaningful impact in whichever career fields you enter into. If you want personal and professional growth, if you want camaraderie and travel and adventure, and if you want to change the world one speech at a time, join these MoFos.
Shawn Haq, Analyst, US Government
It's been nearly 20 years since I was a student at Moorpark College and 15 since I was a student at all, and to this day I maintain that the most worthwhile time I spent across an Associates, Bachelors, and Masters degree was the years I spent as a forensics competitor at Moorpark College.
Learning to be a good communicator is one of the most powerful things you can do for yourself. That skill has a way of stretching itself into the corners responsible for your highest levels of reasoning with, adapting to, and connecting with other people. It is impossible to understate how vital those skills are. Their impact goes beyond your ability to articulate yourself and into how you show up as a human being to others. And in the professional world these skills have helped me earn a leadership position that has enabled me to contribute at the highest levels of the company I work for.
It takes work to find your voice. But joining the team is your head start to developing and refining it, and carrying it with impact. And ultimately that is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself and those around you.
Vanessa Harikul, Director of Learning & Organizational Development for Wonderful Citrus
Moorpark Forensics has molded my entire life. It helped me discover my passion for the study of communication and the activism of politics. It altered the course of my life trajectory so now I am one year away from graduating from a top 50 law school in Washington D.C. It challenged and changed my critical thinking ability so much I have been able to succeed at every legal job I have had. I get constant praise in law school competitions about being able to deliver a closing argument off the top of my head without notes, a direct result of lessons taught by Neal and Jim. But more than all of that, I was able to learn what true camaraderie was. Having people that care about you and so desperately want to see you succeed is the best and purest motivator I have ever experienced. Knowing that no matter what you do or where you go you have people to lean on is invaluable. My last time competing with Moorpark Forensics was in the Spring of 2013. I have since been a part of three different academic teams in three different time zones and nothing comes close to what I experienced with those teams at Moorpark. It’s why 7 years later the Moorpark logo is still my wallpaper for my phone, because the experience is something that is always with you.
Keith Corley, George Mason University Law School