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Students Win Bioethics Bowl at Undergraduate Conference

April 15, 2013 – The university’s six-member bioethics bowl team won the 2013 Bioethics Bowl Competition during this year’s National Undergraduate Bioethics Conference April 5-7 at Georgetown.

Sixteen schools from across the country came together to compete in the annual debate competition.

“It’s really special to be part of a team that dedicates so much time and effort toward a collective end,” said Colin Hickey (G’16), Georgetown coach and graduate student in the department of philosophy. “It is the best kind of teaching I am able to do because [the students] are intrinsically interested and dedicated to the work … and the improvement from start to finish is both tangible and impressively dramatic.”

Many Topics

The bowl title was Georgetown’s first in the team’s three-year history. The team earned second-place finishes the last two years.

Topics debated during the championship match against the University of Denver included how governmental policy should deal with a Canadian hydroelectric dam project that has caused environmental damage and whether there is a moral obligation for adoption.

According to the National Undergraduate Bioethics Conference website, teams also debated views on cases varying in topic from global health to experimental drug testing on children.

Hickey said the debate matches are judged on argument quality, presentation clarity, successful use of ethical theories, debate reasoning and successful countering of the opposing team’s pushback.

Individual Attention

“I’m so proud of all the hard work that each and every one of my teammates put into the competition,” said team member Joelle Rebeiz (SFS’14), an international politics major. “I am so grateful to have been given the opportunity to represent Georgetown University alongside my incredible teammates and bring home the victory in Gaston Hall.”

Maggie Cleary (C’14), team captain, credited Hickey and other coaches and advisers with helping prepare the team for victory.

“We get many different views from our coaches and each team member gets individual attention on their cases,” said the philosophy major. “The preparation is rigorous.”

Work Pays Off

Rebeiz said the team’s motivation to win came from the chance to participate in the championship debate in the university’s historic Gaston Hall.

“I kept telling myself that we had to make it through to the final rounds since none of us would have the opportunity to debate in Gaston Hall again,” said Rebeiz.

Cleary, who believes the bioethics debates have helped prepare her with her speech and reasoning as she aspires to become a lawyer, agreed.

“There are few things more gratifying than seeing your work pay off by a victory in Gaston Hall,” she said.