Mason Debate Team Updates

Mason Debate Team Updates


My name is Jackie Poapst, and I am the Assistant Director of the Mason Debate Team. Our team wanted to keep the rest of the Mason family updated on our travels this year. We enter this season as the defending national champions of the American Debate Association Sweepstakes! Our goal is to take that momentum into this year and continue with that level of success. We are very excited about our debate topic this year, which discusses increasing restrictions on the executive power of the president in several important areas, such as nuclear use, trade powers, surveillance, treaty exit, and judicial deference to agencies.

This past weekend, we traveled to our season opening tournament at Binghamton University, where we won both the novice and junior varsity divisions! Major congratulations to Adit Singh and Henry Khadka for winning their first collegiate debate tournament against an amazing United States Military Academy duo, and Shana Pedersen and Sebastian Ruiz for winning their first tournament in Junior Varsity against a tough Cornell team! We also concluded the tournament with the 3rd, 4th, and 5th place finalists in JV. In novice, we also had two teams qualify to the elite eight and two teams finish in the sweet sixteen!

On an individual level, several of our debaters left Binghamton with individual speaking commendations. Shana Pedersen clenched the Top Speaker in JV, with her partner, Sebastian, following close behind at 3rd! Mary Beth Armstrong (6th), Mack Turpen (8th), and Seth Mahowald (10th) also took home JV Speaker Awards. In novice, partners Henry Khadka and Adit Singh won 2nd and 3rd place speakers, and Ian Morris received 5th!

A unique aspect of the Mason Debate team is that we prioritize making debate accessible for people of all experience levels. Most teams across the nation are not able to boast having top tier competitors across the divisions of novice, junior varsity and varsity.

This coming week, our varsity teams will attend their season opener tournament at the University of Kentucky. We hope to have all of your support and best wishes!


Jackie Poapst
Assistant Director of Debate, George Mason University
Director, George Mason Debate Institute
A.B.D., Communication, George Mason University
M.A. Communication, George Mason University
B.S. Criminal Justice, Liberty University


For more information about the GMU Debate Team please check out their website and Facebook page.