Photo/Shawn McAfee of UW Oshkosh Learning Technologies
By Grace Lim
COLS Special Reports
As the first UW Oshkosh student to be named to the National Debate Scholars Team in 2010, communications major Bridget Isnardi is on track to two-peat this prestigious academic feat.
Isnardi was selected to the Magna Cum Laude National Debate Scholars Team by the Cross-Examination Debate Association, which honors students who maintain strong academic records in addition to their competitive accomplishments. To be eligible for any level of national scholar recognition, a student must have attained at least junior standing, competed in at least 18 rounds on the current topic, and meet the minimum grade point average for that specific award. For Isnardi, she had to maintain a 3.5 GPA to be considered for the Magna Cum Laude team.
UW Oshkosh Debate Team coach Douglas Roubidoux says the honor is equivalent to being selected to the NCAA’s Academic All-American Award. “It is important to note that there are no divisions in debate,” says Roubidoux, who has coached the team since 1997. “Our students compete against Ivy League Universities and Division I Universities.”
|In this video podcast, Bridget Isnardi, a member of the National Debate Scholars Team, shares her thoughts about winning arguments in competition and at family dinners. This podcast is produced by COLS Special Reports editor Grace Lim.
This season Isnardi, 20, is one of eight full-time members on the team that has gone head-to-head and won against larger universities such as University of Miami (Florida), Florida University, West Georgia University, George Washington University and California State University Fullerton.
At the Georgia State University in September where 160 debate teams from 60 colleges, the UW Oshkosh debate members had a combined record of 8-5. The team of Isnardi and Nic Irick went 5-1 and finished in fifth place in their division.
Isnardi says there is no secret to her success. “I guess if I had one it would be time management. It's just important to prioritize - it's important to be realistic with yourself and the goals one sets for themselves,” she says.
For Isnardi, school work always come first. “I've just learned to be efficient in doing homework so I can spend the rest of my time working on debate and doing other things I enjoy.”
However, there is some sacrifice, she says, jokingly. “I have had to give up my afternoon naps - I'm a sucker for cat naps so I've been struggling with that.”
For more information about the UW Oshkosh debate team, please visit