Jackie Poapst

Jackie Poapst

Jackie Poapst

Assistant Professor

Critical legal communication; race, sexuality, gender and biopolitics; rhetoric and semiotics; queer and feminist theory

Jackie is the Director of the university's nationally ranked intercollegiate debate team. She received her PhD and M.A. in Communication from George Mason University in 2019 and 2015. Jackie's research centers on critical legal communication, specifically the ideological and rhetorical justifications for legal doctrines. Her dissertation performed a critical analysis of the Supreme Court's use of the Chevron doctrine. Jackie has also pursued work in queer rhetorical analysis, critical media studies, co-cultural activism research and research in anti-blackness studies. As an academic, Jackie's paper submissions to the National Communication Association have been nominated for the Cross Examination Debate Association's top paper panel five times. 

Outside of her academic work, Jackie's large focus is on skills development and tournament travel with the top nationally ranked GMU Debate Team. Jackie also currently serves as the Director of the George Mason Debate Institute, which is the largest middle school and high school debate camp in the state of Virginia. 

Jackie is currently the President for the Cross Examination Debate Association. In 2018, the Mid-Atlantic Region of the Cross Examination Debate Association nominated Jackie to serve as their regional representative. She was also chosen by the National Debate Tournament in 2019 as the Rankings Director. Jackie served as the Vice President of Public Relations for the American Debate Association from 2017-2022. For her excellence in coaching, Jackie was awarded the Frank Harrison Excellence in coaching award in 2018, 2020, and 2022.


Selected Publications

Jacquelyn Poapst, Legal Lacuna, Sovereignty, and Deference: A Radical Critique of Liberalism and the Chevron Doctrine, PhD Dissertation, proquest

Jackie Poapst, From the Closet to Saint Patrick's Cathedral: Acts of Rage and Opacity within Queer Social Movements, M.A. Thesis, proquest

Jackie Poapst & Allison Harper, Debate Like a Girl: An Analysis of the George Mason Celebration of Women in Debate Tournament, Presented at Penn State Communication Conference and published in the Penn State Communication Journal, 2014



Courses Taught

COMM 101, Interpersonal and Group Interaction

COMM 260, Basic Debate Theory and Practice

COMM 261, Argumentation Theory

COMM 302, Foundations of Media Theory

COMM 335, Organizational Communication

COMM 362, Argument and Public Policy

COMM 380, Media Criticism

COMM 430, Persuasion

COMM 454, Free Speech and Ethics

COMM 465, Gender Communication


PhD, Communication, George Mason University, 2019 

M.A., Communication, George Mason University, 2015

B.S., Criminology and Psychology, Liberty University, 2012

Recent Presentations

  • Jacquelyn Poapst, Reviving and Retaining Novice Collegiate Policy Debate: Applying Educational Models and Theories to Novice Instruction Practices, NCA 2020, Top Paper Panel in the CEDA Division
  • Adrienne Brovero, Jacquelyn Poapst, Allison Harper, Brian DeLong, Patrick Waldinger, John Katsulas, David Cram Helwich, Mikaela Malsin, Debate at its Crossroads: Mechanisms to Address the Declining Numbers in College Policy Debate, NCA 2020, Group Panel
  • Jackie Poapst, Debate as a Means of Bridging Divides: Overcoming the Entrance Barriers for Novice Debaters, Presented at NCA 2019
  • Jackie Poapst and Rylee Taylor, Protecting Predators: Addressing the Culture of Protecting Predatory Behavior in Collegiate Policy Debate, Presented at NCA 2019, Top Paper Panel in the CEDA Division
  • Jackie Poapst, Playing with Points, Beyond Representation: Gender at Play in Intercollegiate Policy Debate: CEDA Paper Panel, Presented at NCA 2018
  • Jackie Poapst, Decoding Climate Change: A Semiotic Analysis of the 2016-2017 Collegiate Policy Debate Resolution, Presented at NCA 2017, Top Paper Panel in the CEDA Division
  • Jackie Poapst, This is not an Archive, it's an Anthem: Analyzing Queer Activist Ideologies, Presented at NCA 2016
  • Jackie Poapst, But Diddy Made Me Do It: Hip-hop as a White Excuse for Anti-Blackness, Presented at NCA, 2015
  • Jackie Poapst, Iranian AIDS Movements and Homonationalism: Embracing Opportunities to Understand Western Progressivism, Presented at NCA, 2015
  • Jackie Poapst, Women in Collegiate Policy Debate: Embracing the Opportunity to Break up the Good Ol’Boys Club, Presented at NCA, 2015, Awarded Top Paper in the CEDA Division

In the Media

Interviewed by the New York Times about high school debate and civic education: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/04/us/politics/2020-debate-students.html