Millikin University - Decatur, IL
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For the seventh consecutive year, Millikin University students garnered top awards at the 36th annual Model Illinois Government (MIG) Simulation held Feb. 27 – March 2 at the State Capital Complex in Springfield, Ill. Millikin students won first and second place awards in the 2014 Moot Court Competition and were recognized with individual awards.

Each spring semester, students from around the state of Illinois participate in the Model Illinois Government simulation. Nearly 300 students from over 20 colleges and universities participated in the 36th MIG Simulation. The Moot Court Competition featured 14 Millikin University student-attorney participants.

The Moot Court competition was held in the chambers that were once the home of the Illinois Supreme Court. Teams of attorneys argued before a panel of student justices and legal professionals and were scored on the basis of presentation and knowledge of the case facts. Millikin University provided seven teams during the Moot Court Competition with five teams reaching the quarterfinal round, three making the semifinal round, and two making the final round.

The team of Kara Anderson, a junior double major in English education and philosophy from Danville, Ill., and Alice Dembinski, a sophomore communication major from Indianola, Iowa, emerged as the competition winners and was named Most Outstanding Moot Court Team. The team of Emma Prendergast, a senior philosophy major from New Lenox, Ill., and Joshua Rose, a junior philosophy major from Saint Jacobs, Ill., finished runner-up for Most Outstanding Moot Court Team. 



"This is the seventh consecutive year that a Millikin team has been named champion," said Dr. Robert Money, Millikin professor of philosophy. "This is a remarkable record of success achieved by the hard work and outstanding performances of our students. Our students worked extremely hard in advance of and during the competition to digest the material and then construct and deliver sophisticated legal arguments. The results speak for themselves."

In addition to team accomplishments, Millikin students received individual awards at the Moot Court Competition. Joshua Rose and Kolton Ray, a senior philosophy major from Decatur, Ill., were co-honored as Most Outstanding Moot Court Attorney. Kara Anderson was honored as Most Outstanding Novice Moot Court Attorney, and Drake Mellott, a junior chemistry major from Sterling, Ill., was honored as runner-up for Most Outstanding Novice Moot Court Attorney. 



"The competition is a really neat experience, and what I found most valuable is that it gives you an opportunity as an undergraduate to participate in legal debate," said Joshua Rose. "I was very happy to have received the best attorney award because the award is determined based on your decor and demeanor when speaking to the judges. As someone that wants to become an attorney, this recognition was important because it highlights my abilities."

Individuals that participated as justices in the competition were James Farris, a senior philosophy major from Decatur, Ill., Miles Grimes, a senior psychology major from Decatur, Ill., Julia Hesse, a senior history major from Tinley Park, Ill., and Nora Kocher, a senior philosophy major from Homewood, Ill.



Alice Dembinski added, "The experience was new, I had never participated in a competition like this before. The challenge of competing against students from other colleges who had also been preparing for half a semester made this opportunity unique."

"The student justice contributions were outstanding as well," said Dr. Money. "They demonstrated mastery of the case file and the ability to formulate difficult questions for the attorneys to address. This year, students with majors and minors in 12 different disciplines participated including philosophy, history, English writing, music, and sociology. It was an honor to work with such bright, motivated students."

Other Millikin students who participated in the competition include Robert Spurling, a junior philosophy major from Taylorville, Ill., Greg Yep, a senior philosophy major from Carol Stream, Ill., Kiana Holmes, a sophomore sociology major from Elgin, Ill., Chris Potter, a junior chemistry major from Decatur, Ill., Brandy Johnson, a senior philosophy major from Wapella, Ill., Alma Grason, a senior philosophy major from Decatur, Ill., Tiffany Streibich, a junior political science major from Mt. Zion, Ill., and Taana Latu, a junior sociology major from West Bountiful, Utah.

When asked about the reasons behind Millikin's competition success, Rose says, "I think first and foremost it's our preparation, and that can be attributed to our work in the classroom. The support from our faculty is important – Dr. Robert Money does a great job in preparing us for competition. The in-class participation and the guidance from our faculty helped set us apart from the competition."


 


In addition to the Moot Court Competition, the MIG Simulation featured a Legislature Simulation where students are assigned political parties and districts and placed in committees of their particular interests. The legislators simulated the legislative processes in the actual committee rooms and chambers of the Capitol building.

Over 10 Millikin students participated in the MIG Legislature Simulation. Aaron Thomas, a junior political science major from Orland Park, Ill., was selected Lieutenant Governor for next year's MIG Simulation. The position includes a number of responsibilities such as retention of current students and delegations from each institution that participated at this year's simulation, expansion to different universities and creating delegations on different campuses in Illinois, and supervising all lobbyists during the actual simulation.

"Our progression on the legislative side of the simulation over the last three years has been great," said Thomas. "I think each year there is a different experience at Model Illinois Government. It's always been exciting and it's always been a great learning experience."



This is the first time that Millikin University has had a representative on the executive board of the MIG Simulation. Thomas believes that MIG can continue to grow with more student participants. "I think with having a foot in the door, we can have more of an influence on the simulation and make it better."

Millikin students that participated in the Legislature Simulation include Jessica Bird, a junior political science major from Chicago, Ill., Jasmine Wilson, a first-year political science major from Glen Ellyn, Ill., Jennifer Zima, a sophomore political science major from Greenfield, Wis., Andrew Taylor, a senior political science major from Decatur, Ill., Taylor Morthland, a senior political science major from Decatur, Ill., Taylor Godwin, a sophomore political science major from Hillsboro, Ill., Kate Wrigley, a junior political science major from Decatur, Ill., Abby Beaty, a junior political science major from Nokomis, Ill., Caleb Goding, a sophomore political science major from Naperville, Ill., and Paige Ehrat, a sophomore communication major from Shobonier, Ill.

For more information on Model Illinois Government, visit www.modelillinoisgovernment.org.


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