MSU Texas Model UN team earns top award at national conference

MSU Texas Model UN team earns top award at national conference

MSU Texas Model UN team earns top award at national conference

The MSU Texas delegation at this year's Model United Nations Conference in New York City did not let a nor'easter hold them back. The Midwestern State University team won its first Outstanding Delegation Award, a top national award. The team also won four individual awards.

Steve Garrison, chair of the political science department and MSU Model UN adviser said that more than 5,000 students attended the conference, with more than half from outside the United States. "This indicates that MSU Texas students are leaders among their peers at the international level," Garrison said. This is MSU Texas' third year to attend the conference.

Model UN is a learning simulation in which students role-play the delegation of a country in the United Nations. MSU Texas represented Iceland. Students serve on various committees organized by policy area, and are charged with developing solutions to existing global problems such as sustainable tourism, governance of U.N. peacekeepers, or prohibition on the use of chemical weapons, among other situations.

The Outstanding Delegation Award is the highest award a full delegation can attain. Garrison said that it indicates that each member of the team was exceptional in their committee work and that MSU team members were leading the proceedings at each step of the process. "This is the highest distinction awarded at the competition, a significant accomplishment given the level of competition," Garrison said.

In addition to representing a country, students create position papers - documents representing a country's position on key policy questions. Garrison said that the students begin preparing the papers during the fall semester. "They've devoted numerous hours to extensive independent research and writing," he said.

Receiving Outstanding Position Paper Awards were Erica Brown and Dean Hart for General Assembly Three and Dakota Tolleson and Brendan Wynne for General Assembly Five. Salvatore Capotosto and Georgia DuBose received Outstanding Position Paper Award for the U.N. Environment Assembly.

Dareem Antoine and Ashley Ates received the Outstanding Delegates Award for General Assembly One, an award selected by peers for the most outstanding performance in their committee during the week.

In addition to Garrison, other faculty advisers are Assistant Professor Brandy Jolliff Scott and Associate Professor Linda Veazey.

To be successful, Garrison said that the team must be present and actively involved in all the proceedings. "Being present at all the activities shows their commitment to the process," he said. The proceedings begin with breakfast and may not end until well after midnight. For the second year, the team was comprised of students from all six colleges, and Garrison said that this multidisciplinary makeup was instrumental in the team's success.

Team members and their majors are:

Luke Allen Political science and Spanish

Dareem Antoine Economics and mathematics

Ashley Ates Global studies

Erica Brown Early childhood

Savatore Capotosto Chemistry

Georgia DuBose Biology

Dean Hart Theater

Herbert McCullough Political science

Kelsey Purcell Mass communications

Shelbi Stogdill Political science

Hanna Strong Biology

Dakota Tolleson Biology

Kyle Walsh Radiology

Brendan Wynne Mass communications

Natalia Zamora Political science and global studies

Model UN epitomizes the core mission of a liberal arts curriculum in that it is a multidisciplinary activity requiring students to conduct independent research, critically examine a real-world problem, develop a solution to this problem, and then convince their competitors that their solution is the most effective.

"This high-impact learning practice requires students to utilize research, critical thinking, communication, and, most importantly, leadership skills. To be successful students must speak publicly on their solution, as well as build coalitions of supporters to have it adopted," Garrison said.

Learn more about the Model UN's trip on MSU's Political Science Twitter account, or visit the Model UN Web page at