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Corey Fisher Scores Big in National Debate Tournaments

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Bachelors of Arts in Communication Studies (Interpersonal and Public Communication Emphasis) | College of Arts and Sciences | December 2017

This was a celebratory season for Corey Fisher and his UMKC Debate teammates. Fisher placed first out of 210 speakers at the Cross Examination Debate Association (CEDA) national championship earlier this year; he was top speaker at five of the seven tournaments of the season. The UMKC Debate Team made it to the Sweet 16 at the National Debate Tournament.

How does the success of this year’s debate season feel?

Exciting! I feel honored.

Why did you become interested in debate?

Originally, I was a three-sport athlete. I loved winning, and the competition. Debate has that, too. But more than that, I like debate because it allows you to take an idea and play with it. It gives you the floor; it is a powerful form of expression. I debated in high school (Lincoln College Prep). Debate has been a passion/obsession since then. I love the research aspect. One of the topics this year was on military presence in Africa and Asia.

Why did you choose UMKC?

I’m from Kansas City, so it’s close to home and affordable. I love the culture here, and the familial atmosphere. Plus, it has a great debate program.

Since you started college, what have you learned about yourself?

I have learned that I am far more analytical than I had previously thought. I tend to sit and take everything in during class discussions, whereas in high school, I often led discussions. I think this is due to the open nature of dialogue in a lot of college classrooms that allows for some fascinating exchanges to take place. I enjoy those moments.

What do you admire most at UMKC?

I admire my debate coaches and teammates. They represent the epitome of scholarship and innovation. They have created a culture that fosters deep and engaging dialogue, scholarly investigation and general inquisitiveness. They force me to never become comfortable in my own unaided perception of the world. And I think that is the overall point of any university setting, to push students into unknown territory intellectually.

What’s the best piece of advice you have received from a professor?

The best advice I’ve received is to remain an outlier, to continue thinking along the margins, because that is where true ingenuity lies. That advice has helped me both in and outside of the classroom. It has become my personal manifesto.

What’s your greatest fear?

Stagnancy. When things (myself included) aren’t progressing or moving forward in some manner, it removes a sense of control and replaces it with a feeling of helplessness. For me, helplessness is a truly terrifying thing.

What is the one word that best describes you?

Resilience. There have been many times where it felt and seemed like I had reached an impasse socially, academically and personally. But that has never stopped me from weathering the situation at hand and pushing through with the same grit and determination.

What are your life-long goals?

My dream is to save the world. I want to do that by being an educator and helping other kids. Education has changed my life. It moves people in a better direction.



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