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Freshman Brittany Levingston Wins Top Novice of the Year Award at National Debate Tournament

Communication Studies student wins award at Kansas City tournament

SMU freshman Brittany Levingston won the Novice Debater of the Year award at the 36th Mid-America National Junior Division Debate Tournament of the Cross Examination Debate Association (CEDA) in Kansas City this weekend (March 12-14). CEDA is the largest college policy debate organization in the United States. The award recognizes the top novice from the entire year of debate activity across the nation. Terri Easely, director of debate at Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, Kansas, presented the award to Levingston on Sunday evening at the awards ceremony for top students in junior varsity and novice divisions of debate. Levingston began debating for SMU in the fall of 2010 and was a semifinalist at the University of Iowa debate tournament in December.

In 2010, SMU assistant professor Chris Salinas was honored with the Dick Stine Coaching Award as the top JV coach of the year at this tournament. Held annually in Kansas City, the Mid-America CEDA Tournament is the oldest and most prestigious novice and junior varsity national tournament in the nation. SMU had four novice teams totaling 10 students at the tournament, more than any other university. Two SMU teams attended without prior debate experience and defeated three teams with considerable college debate background. The established topic for the debate was U.S. policies on immigration.

SMU's debate teams are coached by Tim Glass, director Ben Voth, and assistant director Chris Salinas. The speech and debate program is part of the Division of Communication Studies at SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts. For more information, contact Dr. Ben Voth at

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