Three Alcorn teams win big at the National Association of African American Honors Programs Conference

Three Alcorn State University teams spent Saturday, Oct. 31 through Monday, Nov. 2 putting on exceptional performances at the National Association of African-American Honors Program (NAAHP) Conference in Nashville, Tennessee.

NAAHP is a national academic organization that provides honors students with the opportunities to network, debate, compete academically, and present scholarly research each year at its annual conference.

Under the leadership of Dr. Dovi Alipoe, director of Global Programs, Alcorn’s Model African Union team defeated Hampton University to win 1st place in the Model African Union Competition for drafting and adopting resolutions for counterterrorism efforts, resolving border disputes and ethnic conflicts, and global climate change and sustainable development in Africa. The students in the group, who represented different parts of Africa, were Charlene Bartels-Eshun, a senior business administration major who represented Egypt; Timira Lockhart, a sophomore agriculture science/environmental science major who represented Sierra Leone; Mario Martinez, a senior biology major who represented South Africa; and Torria Powell, a sophomore political science/pre-law major who represented South Sudan and spoke highly of her experience at the conference.

“The NAAHP Conference helped me to look at the world differently,” said Torria, who was also the team’s head delegate. “I suggest that we participate in this conference every year because it’s a great learning opportunity.”

Alipoe commended the students on a job well done and hopes they continue to progress in their studies.

“The Model African Union Competition is an excellent way for students to learn global issues and perspectives,” said Alipoe. “Our students did very well at representing countries that they were unfamiliar with before the competition. I am proud of their achievement and hope that they continue to excel.”

Alcorn’s debate team also came in 1st place after defeating Miles College for discussing the creation of stricter federal gun control laws to address mass shootings and other violent crimes. The debate team members were Khory Stark, Israel Lyons, Robert Tatum Jr., Jaylan Woods and Colby Rose, who credited the conference for building the team’s critical thinking skills.

“Participating in the conference was a wonderful and exciting experience,” said Colby. “The debate challenged us to think quickly and rationally, which will help us in our future careers.”

Alfred Galtney, director of the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs and team advisor, praised his team for their ability to solve issues with speed and accuracy.

“Alcorn’s five-member debate team rose through the ranks with impressive speed and success,” said Galtney. “The team put a lot of effort into preparing for the debate, so the win felt like it was well deserved.”

Alcorn’s quiz bowl team defeated Southern University to advance to the final round of their competition, where they came in 2nd place after falling to North Carolina Central University. Members of the team were Tranesia Johnson, a senior biology major; Devon Holt, a senior biology major; Quinn Meyer, a sophomore business administration major; and Issac Ward, a junior history major who said the team looks forward to earning the top prize in next year’s conference.

“I took solace in the fact that we performed in an excellent game and had lots of fun,” said Issac. “Not coming in 1st place was disappointing, but we took it as motivation to do better next year.”

Chairman of the Department of Fine Arts and team advisor Dr. Larry Konecky expressed his pride in his team’s performance.

“The team did an excellent job,” said Konecky. “I’m proud of their efforts.”

Director of the Alcorn’s Honors Program Dr. Thomas Sturgis and assistant director of the Program Dr. Wandra Arrington expressed pride in the students.

“Our students epitomize the quintessential scholars that understand that success takes place in the framework of dedication, commitment, and high expectation,” said Sturgis.

“Our students displayed professionalism and dedication,” said Arrington. “I am proud of their commitment.”

Alcorn’s President Dr. Alfred Rankins Jr. also expressed his pride in the students and their achievements.

“I am so proud of these talented students,” said Rankins. “Their performance is a testament to the quality of our students and the quality of the academic experience that Alcorn provides.”

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