Baylor Students Receive Numerous Awards in the 2013 Eugene Scassa Mock OAS
- Baylor Argentine team. Top row from left to right:Alex Pecoraro, Bobby Grover, Ewan Hamilton-Short, Rob Bradfield, Brian Ham, Rustin Bridges, Ewan Hamilton-Short, Rob Bradfield, Brian Ham, Rustin Bridges. Bottom row from left to right: Kelsey Shelton, Bonnie Cantwell, Joan Supplee, Lauren Lee, Micah-Leah Woolley. Courtesy photo.
- Baylor Peruvian team. Top row from left to right: Richard Horace, Jillian Anderson, Will Gregory, Joan Supplee, Clay Satterfield. Bottom row from left to right: Sarah Byers, Sandra Guillen, Pia Lawrence, Mucia Flores, Priscilla Escobedo. Courtesy photo.
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WACO, Texas (Dec. 11, 2013) -Some Baylor University students suddenly became Argentinians and Peruvians for a few days in November, thanks to the Eugene Scassa Mock Organization of the American States (ESMOAS) conference.
Baylor University hosted 160 students from universities in Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Mexico during the event. The ESMOAS is a simulation of the Organization of American States, a multinational organization similar to the United Nations, but it is limited to countries in the Western Hemisphere. During the conference, students represent the interests of their assigned country during debate sessions and a mock crisis.
Baylor students prepared for the competition with two-hour meetings twice a week and learned skills such as parliamentary procedures, public speaking, nonverbal communication, networking and working as a team, said Joan Supplee, Ph.D., the Ralph Lynn Professor of History in Baylor's College of Arts & Sciences, who oversees Baylor's Model OAS program.
"For me, the payoff is watching the transformation of students, because this is an active learning experience," Supplee said. The conference helps students "to take ownership of what they're doing, and that raises the stakes for them. They put way more into than what they would in normal class.
"I have students who come in and are completely tongue-tied, and at the end of the conference they are totally confident in their ability to speak in front of a crowd and their ability to create an argument."
But it's not just Supplee who sees this kind of transformation in her students. The delegates themselves can feel the improvement in their public speaking, debate and networking skills.
"It's incredible how much more confident you feel in committee than in class when you realize how well your classmates and Dr. Supplee have prepared you by analyzing your resolution critically," said Lauren Lee, head delegate for the Argentine Team.
"I really love being a part of Baylor's MOAS program," said Pia Lawrence, head delegate for the Peruvian team. "I truly believe that it is one of the best in the country.
"I started last fall. Within that school year, I saw a transformation in the speaking and networking abilities in myself and my fellow first-year teammates. This semester, I saw it again through the first-year team members, and it still blows my mind."
This year's topics ranged from fighting childhood obesity and malnutrition to improving cooperation on issues of cyber security. Delegates did not shy away from fiercely debating these topics, Supplee said.
"There were some really passionate moments," she said. Judges look for delegates, teams and committees that are animated and passionate about their topic. "While, yes, diplomacy considers a cool head, it also requires engagement."
Lawrence said, "Some committees will have people who are really passionate and intense. Some committees are more diplomatic or laid-back. Sometimes there will be a delegate that easily loses his temper and can cause the committee to be tense for a while."
Baylor student delegates of the Argentine team, which won the Outstanding Team Position Paper, received the following awards:
Lauren Lee, junior university scholar and head delegate for the Argentine team, received the award for Outstanding Resolution in the General Committee. Lee also won the position of secretary general for next year's OAS.
Kelsey Shelton, junior international studies and anthropology double major, received the award for Distinguished Resolution in the Executive Secretariat for Integral Development (ESID).
Bobby Grover, senior environmental studies and political science major, received the award for outstanding Budgetary Statement and Distinguished Delegate in the Secretariat for Administration and Finance (SAF).
Rustin Bridges, senior history major, received the award for Distinguished Delegate in the Secretariat for Political Affairs (SPA).
Alex Pecoraro, senior history major, received the award for Distinguished Delegate and Distinguished Resolution in ESID.
Other team members included co-head delegate Brian Ham, senior international studies major, Rob Bradfield, senior journalism major, and Micah-Leah Woolley, senior history major.
"They worked so hard and I was really glad to find that they had made impressions upon their fellow committee members," Lee said. "Still, the happiest moment of the evening for me was the moment we found out that we had won Outstanding Team Position Paper, and I was absolutely thrilled to hear we'd impressed the judges."
Baylor student delegates of the Peruvian team received the following awards:
Pia Lawrence, junior international business and finance major and head delegate for the Peruvian team, won the presidency for next year's OAS.
Sandra Guillen, senior political science major and co-head delegate for the Peruvian team, received the award for the Outstanding Delegate and Distinguished Budgetary Statement in SAF.
Priscilla Escobedo, senior international studies major, received the award for Outstanding Delegate and Distinguished Resolution in the Secretariat for Multidimensional Security (SMS).
Clay Satterfield, senior history major, received the award for Outstanding Delegate and Outstanding Resolution in ESID.
Other team members included Richard Horace, senior political science major, Jillian Anderson, senior journalism major, and Mucia Flores, freshman great texts major.
"I was very proud of all my fellow Bears who won awards," Lawrence said. "They all worked very hard and deserved everything they won."
The competition is judged by former participants who now work in organizations like the UN, OAS and State Department. Universities from Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Mexico participate, and the conference averages around 150 students.
For more information on the competition and the results, click here.
by Rachel Miller, student newswriter, (254) 710-6805
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Baylor University is a private Christian university and a nationally ranked research institution, characterized as having "high research activity" by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The university provides a vibrant campus community for approximately 15,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating university in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 11 nationally recognized academic divisions. Baylor sponsors 19 varsity athletic teams and is a founding member of the Big 12 Conference.