June 4, 2023

UMW Student Recognized with Debate Award

University of Mary Washington senior Mariah Young was awarded the Julia Burke Award for Character and Excellence at the American Debate Association Nationals. She is the fourth UMW student to receive the award.   Senior Mariah Young Established in 2002, the award recognizes the college policy debater who displays passion for debate, a commitment to helping others, love and respect for the American Debate Association policy debate community and dedication to maintaining friendships in the face of competition. The recipient is recognized with a personal trophy and a $2,000 donation to the charity of choice. Young selected the nonprofit She Should Run, aimed at getting more women involved in politics and public leadership. “The award serves as recognition that our debaters have shown character and goodwill in the heat of competition,” said Adrienne Brovero, director of UMW’s Debate Team. “Mariah exemplifies all those qualities.” A political science and journalism double major from Chesapeake, Va., Young has been a member of the debate team for all four years of her education at UMW. In addition to participating in dozens of public debates, she has participated in the Madison Cup Debates and the Randolph-Macon Washington-Franklin Cup Debates. In 2013, Young represented UMW in a public debate on the presidential war powers sponsored by George Washington University and the Miller Center for Public Affairs of the University of Virginia. “She is a leader and a mentor among her teammates,” said Brovero. “The compassion, friendliness and selflessness she has exhibited with her teammates and her competitors provided our squad and others with an excellent example to model.” Young also is managing editor with the Blue and Gray Press student newspaper and is a lead consultant for UMW’s speaking center.  After graduation, she will take a role as graduate assistant for the debate team and will pursue a master’s degree in communications at George Mason University. According to Young, UMW’s debate team has enhanced her life in more ways than one. “Without a doubt, the team has not only made me a better student and debater, but has helped me become a better person,” said Young. The team has seen several successes in recent years, most notably:
  • 2014 American Debate Association National Champion
  • 2014 National Debate Tournament 6th Ranked Team
  • 2014 Washington-Franklin Cup Champions
  • 2013 National Debate Tournament 5th Ranked Team
  • 2013 Elysee Treaty Debate Semi-Finalists
For more information about the award, visit http://juliaburkefoundation.com/ada-award.php.

UMW Debate Wins National Championship

University of Mary Washington Debate Team seniors Colin McElhinny and Thomas Pacheco talked their way to the top on March 16 when they won the American Debate Association National Championship at Liberty University. Pacheco received The Julia Burke Award for Character and Excellence in American Debate Association Policy Debate. Colin McElhinny (left) and Thomas Pacheco (right) “UMW Debate had a great weekend – winning the championship and the Burke Award speaks volumes about the quality of our squad effort,” said Judd D. Kimball, assistant debate coach at UMW. “We are very pleased to bring home a national championship in debate to UMW.” McElhinny and Pacheco finished as the second seed after the preliminary rounds, with five wins and one loss to the defending champion and top seed Wake Forest University. Throughout the preliminary rounds, their opponents included teams from Liberty, George Mason University and University of Houston. In the elimination rounds, they debated Vanderbilt in the quarters and University of Minnesota in the semifinals. In the final round, they had a rematch with Wake Forest, and successfully defeated them on a unanimous decision. Pacheco was recognized as the competition’s fifth-place speaker and McElhinny ranked third. The Burke award is given to a student whose qualities include “excellence in and passion for debate, a commitment to helping others, love and respect for the American Debate Association policy debate community and dedication to maintaining friendships despite the pressures of competition.” Students are nominated by coaches and peers, with the winner determined by a ballot of the students competing at the tournament. The American Debate Association was founded in 1986, and this was the 27th year it has held a national tournament. This is the second American Debate Association National Championship title for UMW. The team also won the title in 2009. UMW Debate concludes its regular competitive season at the National Debate Tournament at Indiana University next week, followed by multiple public debate competitions throughout the region. Follow @UMWDebate on twitter for the latest updates.