There is a growing trend in nontraditional college student enrollments in the United States. Older, nontraditional students are currently the majority on many college campuses. Due to the constraints on nontraditional students' time, they are often unable to spend as much time on campus as traditional students and are unable to fully partake in campus life and socialization. Cocurricular activities, such as collegiate forensics, can be time consuming activities which for nontraditional students, especially those who have children, may seem like an impossible fit for their already busy schedules. Because college demographics continue to change and there are a growing number of nontraditional students as part of the student body, it is worth researching how much of what we do in the forensic community assumes that our students are only part of a traditional student body. In order to accomplish this, I used an autoethnographic approach along with participant interviews to obtain data concerning nontraditional students' participation in forensics. Four major themes emerged from the analyzed data: reasons for forensic involvement; assimilation and initial feelings; conflicting emotions concerning participation; and the nontraditional experience. From this data, I was able to offer conclusions, recommendations, and areas for future research.


Leah White

First Committee Member

Kristen Treinen

Second Committee Member

Vicki Hunter

Date of Degree




Document Type



Master of Fine Arts (MFA)


Communication Studies


Arts and Humanities

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License



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