ETSU’s newly formed Mock Trial garnering awards

Published 3:20 pm Wednesday, February 8, 2023

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Less than a year old, East Tennessee State University’s Mock Trial team is already earning recognition.

The group captured the Spirit of American Mock Trial Association (AMTA) Award, an honor given to the team that best exemplifies the ideals of college mock trial, including civility, fairness and professionalism, at an AMTA regional tournament in Dayton, Ohio, this week. Team member Makenna Harrell also won the Outstanding Witness Award during the competition.

It was the team’s first tournament since forming last year.

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“I am so proud of our team and how hard they have worked to prepare for their very first tournament,” said Dr. Kimberly D. McCorkle, ETSU provost and senior vice president for Academics, who traveled with the team to Ohio. “As a former attorney and mock trial coach, I know how impactful this experience can be for our students, so this competition holds a special place in my heart. Serving on the mock trial team provides our students with excellent hands-on learning opportunities.”

During the mock trial tournament, university teams compete against each other by participating in a competition that simulates a real trial. ETSU’s team has been training for months ahead of the Ohio tournament. Organizers said mock trial helps students not only get a sense of how a courtroom works, including learning legal procedures and rules, but imparts other skills as well including public speaking, critical thinking and advocacy.

The experiential learning mock trial members enjoy is at the center of the university’s approach to education. The goal is to help students move seamlessly from either enrollment to employment or to a graduate program. The team is coached by Lindsay Daniel, ETSU associate counsel; Mark Fulks, university counsel; Harden Scragg, staff attorney; and Sullivan County Chancellor Katie Priester. Dr. Colin Glennon, chair of the Department of Political Science, International Affairs and Public Administration, serves as the faculty sponsor of the team.

“It has been an absolute honor to witness the commitment and dedication these students put forth in preparing for their first competition. As a new team, the learning curve can be steep. These students learned to craft persuasive legal arguments, analyze complex rules of evidence and zealously advocate for their client in a very short period of time,” said Daniel. “These students jumped in and thrived. I am so proud of how they represented themselves and the university. I am excited for the future of Mock Trial at ETSU.”