We Will, We Will, Mock You!

By Alayna Callanan ’14
Univ. Communications

The University of Rochester’s Mock Trial Team is gaining national notoriety, thanks to success of the YellowJacket Invitational, which brings teams from across the country to campus for a tournament that tests their competitive legal thinking and courtroom demeanor.

“The University of Rochester began hosting the YellowJacket Invitational under Peter Dierkes and since then the tournament has grown to include several nationally ranked Mock Trial teams,” says current President Shalin Nohria ’14.

The fourth annual event, held Nov. 2 and 3, attracted fourteen teams from universities all over the country, such as University of Michigan, George Washington, and Swarthmore, among others. In addition to collegiate teams, the event brought in parents, alumni, Rochester community members, and other students from around the country. Prestigious legal professionals from around the Rochester area judged the four rounds.

“It was a very successful tournament from the organization’s end,” said Jacob Bohannon ’14. “We had two judges, Paul Irving and Joanne Winslow, score the final round and the two schools competing were very impressed with their presence at the tournament.”

Mock Trial focuses on building and refining advocacy and public speaking skills via courtroom simulation. Members may act as a witness or an attorney. “People may specialize or do both, gaining a better understanding and enhancing overall performance,” says Bohannon.  Although many members are pre-law, nearly half of members have no plans for a law related career.  Nguyen Nguyen ’14 for example, is majoring in neuroscience and psychology but is involved as the club’s Tournament Director. Nohria is a REMS Scholar but his active involvement since freshman year has drawn him to consider law.

This year, mock trial participants studied a criminal case involving employees at an amusement park accused of theft. A nuanced and complicated case unravels as park owners are alleged to be operating a robbery scheme of their own. Using case materials provided by the American Mock Trial Association, the teams test their knowledge of courtroom procedures, mastery of case facts, and the ability to examine witnesses and deliver opening and closing remarks related to this hypothetical case during the weekend competition.

To prepare for tournaments, the teams prepared both prosecution and defense arguments and practiced trial techniques and strategies by acting out different courtroom proceedings, taking on the roles of witness, prosecution lawyer, and defense lawyer.

UPenn Blue Team In addition to hosting a tournament, UR Mock Trial traveled to Columbia University’s Big Apple Invitational (CUBAIT). They were on track to win the tournament but lost to Harvard in the final round, knocking down their score to 5-2-1 (win-loss-tie). Overall the team placed sixth out of 22 against nationally ranked teams. Nohria won an outstanding attorney award upon receiving the highest ranking an attorney can receive and Jonathan Johnson ’14 received an outstanding witness award.

More recently, Mock Trial sent two teams to a tournament at the University of Pennsylvania.  One of those teams finished in fifth place among a pool of 44 teams. With success like this in hand, many members of Mock Trial are on the inside track to rewarding careers in law.

Bohannon was quick to note that the success of the program isn’t just about the skills of the group, they also rely on funding from the Students’ Association and local law firm Nixon Peabody to offset the cost of participating in the tournaments.

For more information about Mock Trial, please contact Shalin Nohria at shalin.nohria@gmail.com.

In the Photo (Top): Loudon Blake ’17, Scott Trufan ’17, Izabel Yuovskiy ’17, Jenny Juehring ’17, Alice Gindin ’17, Jason Altabet ’17

In the Photo (Bottom): Gabriella Clemente ’16, Susannah Scheffler ’16, Deanna Thompson ’15 (Take 5), Loudon Blake ’17, Abigail Ritter ’16, Al Karabell ’14, Shalin Nohria ’14, Wil Dietz ’16. Paul Garbys ’15 (Take 5), Izabel Yurovskiy ’17, Scott Trufan ’17

Just Try and Cross Them!

By Joseph Bailey ’15
Intern, Univ. Communications

This year, for the first time since the group’s founding in 1999, the University of Rochester Mock Trial club sent two teams to the prestigious Open Round Championships (ORCs). This came about because one of their teams placed in the top seven, taking second at Regionals for an automatic bid, and the other took 8th, narrowly missing an automatic bid, but still securing an open bid to the ORCs.

The president of the club, Hannah Sherry ’13, says that usually only the best mock trial programs and the largest universities send two teams to ORCs, so she is very excited to have earned that honor this year. The teams competed in ORC’s in Greenville, S.C. and in Hamilton, Ohio.

The club typically begins the year with about 35 members, which is carefully winnowed down to around 25. Of these 25, 17 are currently competing. One of these members is Wil Dietz ’16, a newcomer to the college mock trial scene, who won the outstanding witness distinction at a competition a few weeks ago.

This year’s case is one regarding the recklessness of a made-up scuba diving company. Other year’s cases have included murder and drunk driving. However, our mock trial team must spend half their time preparing a case proving how reckless the scuba company was, leading to a fictitious woman’s death, and the other half defending the scuba company. The team only works on one case each year, and tries it at all competitions they attend.

With the occasional help of lawyers from the greater Rochester area, the club practices cross-examinations, directs, and opening and closing statements. The Mock Trial team will quickly become a force for justice in the courtrooms of tomorrow.

Campus Leaders Recognized During Student Life Awards Ceremony

Univ. Communications – Each spring the Office of the Dean of Students and the Rochester Center for Community Leadership recognize undergraduate students and organizations that have made significant contributions to campus life. Nominated by faculty, staff, and peers, Student Life Award recipients represent diverse interests, talents, and accomplishments.

This year, the awards, also known as the Rockys, were presented to 18 students and four organizations.  “I think the winners represent a large demographic that follows their passions and give back to others in all sorts of ways,” said Ed Feldman, associate director of leadership programs at the Rochester Center for Community Leadership and chair of the selection committee.  He added that he felt inspired by the winners whose “values center around an inherent desire to better themselves and in return make a positive social change in the campus and Rochester community.”

Friends, family, and colleagues of the honorees were invited to an intimate awards reception, which was also attended by University administrators and campus leaders. All the winning students and organizations received engraved glass trophies and certificates.

Awards ranged from recognizing leadership in the freshman class, athletics, Greek life, and student government. There also was an award given to an outstanding transfer student.  New this year was the Communal Principles Award, recognizing a student for the promotion of fairness, freedom, honesty, inclusion, respect, and responsibility on campus.  One of these six principles will be highlighted annually. This year’s recipient, Jay Liriano ’12 was selected for demonstrating qualities that exemplify the Communal Principle of Respect in his leadership as president of the Lambda Upsilon Lambda fraternity.

The Ballet Performance Group was honored as the Outstanding Student Organization.  The 90-member dance group was nominated by Lydia Crews and Wilson Commons Student Activities. Among its performances and programs this year were the Uncommon nights during orientation, a benefit show for Golisano Children’s Hospital, and an alumni reunion performance. BPG, who took first place at the DU Dance for Charity, also collaborated with the Eastman musicians, incorporating live music in its performances. During Meliora Weekend, BPG usually performs with two other dance groups, but they enhanced this year’s program and collaborated with six other dance groups for the “Diversity of Dance” production. In addition, BPG started a new community outreach program called “Dare to Dance.” Members went to Rochester’ Francis Parker School 23 to teach different styles of dance as an after school program.  At the end of the semester, the elementary school students had the opportunity to perform on stage in Strong Auditorium at BPG’s show.

“The award is reflective of the culmination of efforts from the group’s recent history,” said Laura Chess ’12, BPG’s president and a biomedical engineering major. “It was of course a fantastic surprise, though I believe the group was more than deserving.”  With all of its new programs, Chess hopes that BPG will continue to be a vibrant and inclusive community on campus. The group strives to give all students who are passionate about dance a chance to participate and help shape the programming.  “I’m excited to return and see how the group continues to develop after I’m gone,” Chess added.

Another student honored was economics and political science major Nathan Novosel ’12. As the recipient of the Seth H. & Harriet Terry Prize, he was recognized for his “industry, character and honorable conduct, having done the most for the life and character of the undergraduate community.”  Novosel, who received the Award for Athletic Leadership last year, has been one of the three captains for the Men’s Basketball Team for the past two years.  Novosel also is the vice president of the College Democrats, head captain of the Saint Sebastian Society (a community service group of varsity student athletes which is part of the Catholic Newman organization), a member of the Varsity Student Advisory Committee, the Alexander Hamilton Institute, and associate justice for the All Campus Judicial Council.

“One of my lifetime goals is to get involved in politics and work with public policy and some way,” said Novosel. “So, especially with the AHI and the College Democrats, I’ve really tried to just inform students and to get people more politically active. And that’s not necessarily going out and campaigning, more of just reading a newspaper every day or having a professor panel where we go in and talk about an issue.”

Novosel has started an inequality seminar with the AHI which engages students in discussion and analysis of socioeconomic problems in America.  He will participate in the Teach for America program in Washington, D.C. after graduation, before preparing to apply to law school.

Sponsored by the Office of the Dean of Students and organized by the Rochester Center for Community Leadership, the 2012 Student Life Award recipients are:

Andrew Fried Prize: Mehr Kashyap  ’15
Established by frienda and family in 1961 in memory of Andrew Norman Fried, class of 1961. This prize is awarded to the man who, upon completion of his freshman year, has shown outstanding qualities of character, superior moral judgment, and interest in serving his fellow students.

Delno Sisson Prize: Taylor Watson ’15
In 1957, this award was established by a gift from Delno Sisson, class of 1966. This prize is awarded annually to the freshman who has shown the most improvement not only in academic work, but also in adjusting to college life and the student body.

Award for Freshman Leadership: Humma Sheikh ’15
This award recognizes an exceptional man or woman of the freshman class who has motivated his or her fellow classmates to become actively involved in the campus community.

Eli & Mildred Sokol Prize: Kelly Scull ’14
This award was established in 1985 by a gift from Eli and Mildred Sokol, class of 1933. This prize is awarded to a sophomore who has emerged as a leader who can be expected to contribute significantly to the welfare of his or her fellow students in the next two years.

Award for Campus Contributions: Kyle Coapman ’13 and Lucas Piazza ’12
Two awards, one each presented to a junior and senior class member who has made significant contributions to the University community, including, but not limited to, campus life, academic achievement and leadership, and community service. The award winner will have promoted and demonstrated excellence in all aspects of their college experience.

Seth H. & Harriet Terry Prize: Nathan Novosel ’12
Established in 1928 as a gift from Seth H. Terry, class of 1883 in memory of his parents. This award is given to the male member of the senior class who, by his industry, character and honorable conduct, has done the most for the life and character of the undergraduate community.

Percy Dutton Prize: Trevor Baisden ’12
This prize was established in 1946 as a gift from Percy Dutton. This award is given to the male member of the graduating class who has excelled in “wholesome, unselfish and helpful influence” among his fellow students.

Transfer Student Award: Ahmed Faisal ’12
This award, recognizing the unique role of transfer students to the campus community, is given to a student who transferred with sophomore standing or above, and has completed a full year of study at the University. The recipient will have demonstrated a quick, successful, and seamless transition to the institution and will have taken full advantage of his or her time spent at the University.

Award for Outstanding Fraternity and Sorority Leadership: Neftali Morales ’12
This award recognizes the positive contributions fraternities and sororities make to the campus community. It is awarded to a fraternity or sorority member who has led with integrity within their fraternal organization while also making significant contributions to the greater campus community.

Simeon Cheatham Award: Brittany Lewis ’12
Established in the 1970s by the Office of the Dean of Students to recognize outstanding University of Rochester students. This award is given to a student who has outstanding qualities in devotion to community service and to growth and development of children.

Logan Hazen Award for Outstanding Contributions to Residential Life : Becky  Donnelly ’12
This Award is given annually to the student who has “made significant contributions to the community and experience of students living in undergraduate residence halls. This student, through his or her actions, leadership, and innovation has promoted community through respect, fairness, and inclusion.”

Award for Athletic Leadership: Jamie Bow ’12
This award recognizes the positive contributions athletes make to the campus community. It is awarded to a student athlete who has demonstrated leadership within their club or varsity sport while also making significant contributions to other aspects of campus life.

Presidential Award for Community Service: Emily Hart ’12 and Garrett Rubin ’12
Established by the Dean of Students in 1990 to recognize University students who are committed to community service. Given to a senior for outstanding participation and leadership in service to the community beyond the campus, this award recognizes a student who has worked selflessly and effectively in addressing social causes.  Areas of focus include, but are not limited to, improving literacy, reducing hunger and hopelessness, providing legal or medical assistance to the needy, and serving as a mentor.

Entrepreneurship Award: David Bendes ’11/KEY
The award for entrepreneurship is given to a student, or group of students, who has turned an idea into a venture that benefited others. The recipient will have demonstrated individual initiative and knowledge through awareness of markets and attention to the needs of others.

Michael Lowenstein Memorial Award: Alykhan Alani ’12
This award, named for Michael Lowenstein, class of 1960 is presented to the University of Rochester River Campus undergraduate who deepens student, faculty and community awareness of existing social, racial, or political inequities. This undergraduate through his/her words and actions has endeavored to promote the ideals which Michael cherished. Michael sought to give a fresh view of things around us, to focus upon issues, to probe deeply using fact and objectivity and to open a dialogue with the community to find some answers.

The Communal Principles Award: Jonell Liriano ’12
Established by the Office of the Dean of Students during the 2011-2012 academic year, this award is given annually to the student(s) or organization that best promote(s) the Communal Principals, as adopted by The College. These principles include Fairness, Freedom, Honesty, Inclusion, Respect, and Responsibility. One of these six principles will be highlighted annually and the recipient will have demonstrated qualities that exemplify the principles and/or created programming and activities related to this year’s Communal Principle – Respect.

Student Organization and Programming Awards

Excellence in Programming: Program: “Rochester’s Yellowjacket Invitational Mock Trial Tournament” Organization: Mock Trial
This Excellence in Programming Award recognizes a student organization or group, either formal or informal, for its exceptional creativity, planning, and execution of a University program. Criteria upon which decisions are based include appeal to a broad cross-section of the University community, originality, and participation by members of the organization during all phases of the effort.

Outstanding Student Organization Award: Ballet Performance Group
Awarded to a student organization that has gone beyond the bounds of their membership by helping to create a positive campus environment for all students.

Award for Excellence in Creative Co-sponsorship: Program: “Rock Out for Leukemia Research” Organizations: Vocal Point & Renaissance Scholars
This award recognizes a program that was co-sponsored by a minimum of two organizations or groups. The cosponsored program should have been a new effort, one that brought together different facets of campus, and which served to build and strengthen the campus community.

Article written by Maya Dukmasova, a Take 5 Scholar at the University of Rochester and an intern at University Communications. She majored in philosophy and religion and focused her Take 5 year on researching the way American media covers current events in the Muslim world. An aspiring journalist, Dukmasova has freelanced for Rochester Magazine, the Phoenix New Times, and the Daily News Egypt in Cairo. She also maintains two blogs, one devoted to culture and society in Russia (www.out-of-russia.com) and the other to photography (www.myorientalism.com).

Photos courtesy of J. Adam Fenster, University Communications.

Mock Trial Team Competes in Colgate Classic

The University’s Mock Trial team sent two teams to Colgate to compete at the 3rd annual Colgate Classical Tournament, held on Nov. 5 and 6. Rochester received five individual awards: Yoni Bokser ’12, Shalin Nohria ’14, Jiore Craig ’13, and Jonathan Johnson’14 for their outstanding attorney performances, and Anja Weiss ’13 for an outstanding witness performance.

For more information about Rochester’s Mock Trial team, visit them on the web at https://sa.rochester.edu/clubs/MockTrial/about.

University of Rochester, Nixon Peabody Host Mock Trial Competition

Univ. Communications – More than 100 students from the University of Rochester, Binghamton University, Colgate University, St. Bonaventure University, SUNY Geneseo, and the University of Buffalo tested their knowledge of courtroom procedures, mastery of case facts, and ability to examine witnesses and deliver opening and closing remarks during hypothetical case scenarios during a mock trial competition held on Saturday, Oct. 10.

Sponsored by Rochester’s Mock Trial team and local legal firm Nixon Peabody LLC, the competition challenges teams to prepare both prosecution and defense arguments and gives them the chance to practice trial techniques and strategies by acting out different courtroom proceedings, taking on the roles of witness, prosecution lawyer, and defense lawyer. Nearly 20 area lawyers served as volunteer judges, presiding over the trials and assessing the students’ performances.

For more information about Rochester’s Mock Trial team, visit them on the web at https://sa.rochester.edu/clubs/MockTrial/about.

Rochester’s Mock Trial Team In Action

Photos Courtesy of Rochester’s Mock Trial Team and Joseph Carello, Nixon Peabody, LLC

Mock Trial Earns Bid to Championship Tourney

Univ. Communications – For the second year in a row, the University of Rochester Mock Trial team has earned a bid to compete in the American Mock Trial Association’s annual Opening Round Championship Series. The team recently placed third at the Great Lakes Regional Tournament, giving them the opportunity to advance to the championship round. At the tournament,  Peter Dierkes ’11, Brittany Crowley ’10, and Hannah Sherry ’13 were named an All-Region Attorneys.

(Homepage Photo courtesy of Stock.Xchng)