Student named All-American in forensics after placing third in national tournament
Political Science major’s speech garners standing ovation from judges and peers moved to tears
A member of the San Francisco State University Forensics team made school history this month with several top honors at a national tournament, including an All-American award. But it’s the impassioned performance that may have the longest-lasting impact.
Student Kivraj “Ki” Singh (pronouns: that/that’s), San Francisco State’s sole representative at the American Forensics Association National Speech Tournament in Santa Ana, earned third place nationwide in After-Dinner Speaking, among 126 competitors including Ivy League schools. In addition, that was named an All-American and an Oral Interpretation semifinalist.
“Each of Ki’s speeches was written and performed from the deepest parts of that’s soul, and it’s heartening to know that so many others were able to witness and celebrate that’s work,” said Sage Russo, a Forensics coach and a Communication Studies lecturer. “The team couldn’t be more proud.”
Singh (pictured at top left, holding trophy) delivered a speech advocating for safe injection and consumption sites for drug users, based on their lived experiences as well as case studies and research. That garnered a standing ovation from judges and peers who were moved to tears.
“After coming out in high school, I struggled with alcoholism, homelessness, weed and tobacco use and some hard drugs as well,” Singh said. “I had a lot of personal insight into the subject, but my speech also came at a time that was very exigent because Gov. Gavin Newsom had just vetoed a bill that was going to include safe injection sites in many California cities. It gave it a fresh and unique spin.”
Singh graduates this May with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science. That entered SF State after competing in forensics at Chabot College and at James Logan High School in Union City. A class discussion on source citation from Singh’s first semester at SF State invigorated Singh, introducing a more advanced curriculum and setting the tone for an inspirational University experience.
“I really had this revelation sitting in class, like whoa! This is going to change the game for me! This is what I’ve been waiting for!” Singh said. “This is where it gets technical and it becomes political science.”
On campus this year, Singh has enjoyed a George and Judy Marcus Undergraduate Fellowship. This donor-funded program has funded that’s research paper, “Democratic Queer Theory: Extending LGBTQ+ Civil and Social Rights Globally,” in partnership with a faculty mentor, Assistant Professor of Political Science Amanda Roberti. Singh plans to use it as a sample paper in applying to doctoral programs in political science.
Learn more about the SF State departments of Political Science and Communication Studies and the George and Judy Marcus Funds for Excellence in the Liberal Arts.