Mock trial team advances to AMTA Championship Series

mock trial
Quinnipiac undergraduate mock trial team receiving the Outstanding Trial Team Award at the AMTA Regional Competition, Yale University. From left: Front row - Rebecca Maioriello, Margaret Heeran, Amy Machain, Jessica Shapiro and Hannah Glasser; Back row - Corey Scott, Chris Caraiani, Nathaniel Moore, Sean Benoit, Stephanie Javaruckas, Shelby Aiello and Jonathan Atkin.

Feb. 19, 2014 - Quinnipiac's undergraduate mock trial team will compete in the American Mock Trial Association's (AMTA) Opening Round Championship Series to be held in March in Philadelphia. The University was one of only five schools to have a team earn a bid to advance to the second round after competing at the AMTA Regional Tournament at Yale University Feb. 8-9. 

Along with Quinnipiac, the University of Pennsylvania, Yale University, Columbia University and Fordham University had teams advance to the next round in Philadelphia. The top six teams from each of the eight Opening Round Championship Series sessions will advance to the AMTA National Championship Tournament which will take place April 11-13 in Orlando, Fla. 

"I am excited to work hard to put the team's best foot forward in Philadelphia in March," said Amy Machain, a senior legal studies and psychology major and Quinnipiac undergraduate mock trial team president. "It has been a real blessing to see and be a part of the progress in mock trial at Quinnipiac. Mock trial has taught me to never give up on something that truly challenges me every day."

Rebecca Maioriello, a sophomore legal studies and political science major, also received an All Region Top Witness Award for her performance at the regional tournament. 

Other Quinnipiac students who participated in the Yale regional included: Shelby Aiello, a junior legal studies major; Jonathan Atkin, a sophomore history major; Sean Benoit, a senior criminal justice major; Christopher Caraiani, a junior legal studies major; Hannah Glasser, a freshman criminal justice major; Margaret Heeran, a junior legal studies major; Stephanie Javaruckas, a freshman legal studies major; Nathaniel Moore, a junior economics major; Eric Ross, a sophomore entrepreneurship and small business management major; Corey Scott, a freshman political science major; Jessica Shapiro, a freshman legal studies major; Ryan Taylor, a freshman legal studies major; and Alex Tusia, a senior marketing major.

Sujata Gadkar-Wilcox, assistant professor of legal studies and the team's faculty adviser, started the undergraduate mock trial team three years ago when she joined the University. Students studied hundreds of pages of material, were invited to attend individual tournaments at other universities in the region throughout the academic year, and met every day in the two weeks leading up to the regional tournament, she said.

"The fact that they're picking up on the rules of evidence so quickly, demonstrates not only a natural talent and ability to comprehend complex legal principles, but also reflects the tremendous amount of time they devote to this academically rigorous activity," she said. "At three years, to be getting a bid is a big thing."

Gadkar-Wilcox also believes that activities like participating in mock trial act as a bridge back to the classroom. 

"The students are creating a community for themselves and they're creating further engagement in the curriculum," she said. "It's not just that this is a legal practice, this is a practice of thinking critically, analytically and creatively and it's that aspect of mock trial that makes it open to everyone. These are the kind of skills that are transferable skills that you need in any discipline."

The AMTA serves as the governing body for intercollegiate mock trial competition. It hosts 24 regional tournaments, eight opening round championship tournaments and a national championship tournament each season. Approximately 600 teams from over 350 universities and colleges compete in the tournaments.

For more information on the undergraduate mock trial program, read Gadkar-Wilcox's blog entry, Co-curriculars Draw Out Talent

maioriello mock trial
Rebecca Maioriello receiving an AMTA All Region Top Witness Award.  Quinnipiac undergraduate mock trial teams attending the AMTA Regional Competition, Yale University: From left: First row - Shelby Aieollo, Stephanie Javaruckas, Jessica Shapiro, Amy Machain and Eric Ross; Second row - Hannah Glasser, Christopher Caraiani and Margaret Heeran; Third row - Alex Tusia, Jonathan Atkin and Sean Benoit; Fourth row - Ryan Taylor and Corey Scott; Fifth row - Nathaniel Moore and Rebecca Maioriello.