Alumni Win Big at Major Conferences

Over the past month, four of the six Major conferences took place. We caught up with our alumni who are still in high school to see how they did at YMUN, HMUN, ILMUNC, and NAIMUN!

Yale Model UN

Caitlin C. (Bergen County Academies): Best Delegate

Benjamin D. (Clayton A. Bouton High School): Best Delegate

Odia K. (Engineering and Science Magnet University School): Honorable Mention

Harvard Model UN

Samantha L. (Trevor Day School): Outstanding Delegate

Ivy League Model UN Conference

Frank L. (Fox Chapel Area High School): Honorable Mention

Soven B. (Newark Academy): Honorable Mention

North American Invitational Model UN

Srikanth K. (Thomas S. Wooton High School): Outstanding Delegate

Templeton K. (Red Hook High School): Best Delegate

Rutger Model UN

Even though it’s not a Major, we also want to send a shout out to alumni Andrew and Kathryn from Millburn High School in New Jersey for leading their team to a  Best Small Delegation award at Rutger Model UN and to Soven who also won an Outstanding Delegate award at RUMUN!

Boston Invitational Model UN

We’d like to give two more shoutouts to outstanding performances at BosMUN. Pablo from Beaver Country Day took home a Best Delegate gavel and led his team to Best Small Delegation and Elaine from Belmont High School won an Honorable Mention!

Alumni Spotlights

Benjamin Schafer (Orchard Park High School, NY)

All-American 2014, Orchard Park High School 2015, Harvard 2019

All-American 2014, Orchard Park High School 2015, Harvard 2019

Please introduce yourself. Where are you going to school? What grade are you in?

My name is Benjamin Schafer. I am currently a senior at Orchard Park High School. In addition to Model UN, I am actively involved in the school Symphonic and Chamber Orchestras (cello) and Student Government. Outside of school, I serve as the Chief of Staff of the Orchard Park Youth Court and as a voting member on my local Youth Services Board of Directors. In addition to 2014 AAMUN, I went to American Legion New York Boys State and was one of two New York Senators to attend American Legion Boys Nation. I am also a die-hard Buffalo Bills fan.

How long have you been competing in Model UN? What impact has Model UN had on your high school experience?

I have been involved with Model UN for three years now, and one of my biggest regrets is not joining the team my freshman year. Model UN has expanded my perspectives on so many issues that face the international community and our society. I have learned to think critically and diplomatically about problems and analyze situations (whether simulated MUN experiences or real life challenges) beyond just a rudimentary face-value level.

 

What types of experiences has Model UN afforded you that you otherwise wouldn’t have had?

I have learned so many lessons through Model UN that I would not have otherwise learned. First and foremost, I have learned how to be an effective public speaker, to communicate and persuade with a fluency that is above everyday colloquial language. I have also learned how to work diplomatically with other people that have opinions that are largely in contrast to my own. The beauty of Model UN is that it rewards collaboration between various factions, quite contrary to the political landscape of America today.

 

What was your reaction when you were notified you made an All-American Model UN delegation?

I honestly could not believe that I made the team. I was extremely excited that I was given the opportunity to travel with the 2014 WEMUN Delegation.

 

How would you describe your experience with the All-American Model UN Programs? How did it affect your Model UN performance?

My time with the All-American MUN WEMUN Delegation was one of the most incredible and transformative experiences of my life. Frank and Katrina demanded excellence, and under their tutelage, I was able to become a power delegate at WEMUN and at the conferences my school attends. Right now, the Orchard Park MUN team is experiencing its most successful season, and I know a lot of that is because of the incredible training I received from the All-American Model UN team.

 

What is your favorite OR least favorite memory from your time with the All-American MUN Programs?

My favorite memory is of a dinner we had our last night in Xi’an. That day, we learned Tai Chi in a local park, visited the Terra Cotta Warriors, and went to the Muslim District of Xi’an. We all took some time that evening to reflect on the trip over our delicious meal of dumplings. It was then that I realized the full weight of what I accomplished in China (winning Best Delegate at WEMUN and learning as much as I did about Model UN), of the lifelong friendships I made, and of the countless stories that I would always be able to share and remember. To this day, I still look at pictures and smile, remembering the incredible time I had with the All-American MUN team.

 

What are your plans for college?

I will be matriculating at Harvard University next year. Right now, I do not know for sure what my concentration (major) will be; however I am currently looking at studying some combination of Economics, Government, and Physics. Because of my experience at WEMUN in the IAEA, I have become very passionate about energy policy, and I hope to ultimately go into politics, public policy, or diplomacy.

Benjamin Denn (Clayton A. Bouton High School, NY)

Ben Denn (All-American 2013, Clayton A. Bouton 2015, West Point 2019)

Ben Denn (All-American 2013, Clayton A. Bouton 2015, West Point 2019)

Please introduce yourself. Where are you going to school? What grade are you in?

My name is Benjamin Denn and I am a senior at Clayton A. Bouton High School in Voorheesville, New York.

How long have you been competing in Model UN? What impact has Model UN had on your high school experience?

I have been competing in Model UN for four years. Participating in Model UN has profoundly impacted my high school experience. The oratorical skills that I developed at Model UN conferences transferred perfectly to the classroom. After debating complex political processes with committees comprised of more than 150 people, class presentations have become a breeze.

My interests in contemporary history, economics, and government has also matured as a result of my Model UN experiences. Before Model UN, my knowledge of public policy and international relations was extremely limited. I now have a much greater understanding of the real processes behind international relations, coalition building, and diplomacy. The subject material taught in my social science classes has become much more engaging after experiencing their real world applications first hand through Model UN.

What types of experiences has Model UN afforded you that you otherwise wouldn’t have had?

I would never have met so many people from all over the world unless I had participated in Model UN! Many high-school level Model UN conferences will include delegations from around the globe. At every conference, I had the profound opportunity to work and debate with some of the world’s brightest students. I still maintain friendships with delegates that I have met from Colombia, Scotland, New Zealand, South Korea, China, and a few other countries.

What was your reaction when you were notified you made an All-American Model UN delegation?

I was ecstatic to say the least. I knew that being selected to join an All-American Model UN delegation was difficult. I was very interested to join an All-American Model UN delegation after I learned that their delegation had won “Best Small Delegation” at the WEMUN Expo in Beijing in 2012. I knew that the All-American Delegations had the resources necessary to help me realize success in my Model UN career.

How would you describe your experience with the All-American Model UN Programs? How did it affect your Model UN performance?

My experience with the All-American Model UN Programs was nothing short of extraordinary. Not only did they provide me with an excellent reason to visit Beijing, but their amazing staff truly helped me to reach my potential as a public speaker, and critical thinker, and Model UN delegate.

“Over the course of my senior year, I won the Best Delegate Award at every single conference I attended”

Ever since attending the WEMUN Expo in Beijing in 2013 as a member of the All-American Model UN delegation, I have not attended a Model UN conference without receiving an award. Over the course of my senior year, I won the Best Delegate Award at every single conference I attended, including Yale University’s Model UN Conference and Brown University’s Simulation of the United Nations.

What is your favorite OR least favorite memory from your time with the All-American MUN Programs?

My favorite memory is also my least favorite memory! On the last night of the WEMUN Expo as an All-American delegate, the students from the Indian delegation ran around during the delegate dance throwing colored chalk on people’s faces and clothing. Other people caught onto their idea, stole their chalk, and started a huge chalk-throwing frenzy! It was pretty hilarious, but I still have not been able to get the chalk stains out of the shirt that I wore to the dance!

What are your plans for college?

I was recently accepted to the United States Military Academy at West Point. I plan on accepting their appointment with an intended major in international relations. Making the West Point Model UN team (which is sixth in the nation!) will be my first priority once I’m there!

Samantha Lyons (Trevor Day School, NY)

Samantha Lyons (All-American 2014, Trevor Day School 2015)

Samantha Lyons (All-American 2014, Trevor Day School 2015)

Please introduce yourself. Where are you going to school? What grade are you in?

My name is Samantha Lyons and I am a senior at the Trevor Day School in New York City.

How long have you been competing in Model UN? What impact has Model UN had on your high school experience?

I have been participating in Model UN since 9th grade. I have attended conferences at HMUN, CMUNCE, CMUN and NUMUN. Model UN has given me the opportunity to bolster my public speaking skills as well as gain confidence in myself. Model UN has impacted my high school experience because I have been exposed to numerous opportunities because of it.

What types of experiences has Model UN afforded you that you otherwise wouldn’t have had?

Model UN has allowed me to learn valuable leadership skills that I would not have otherwise. Learning how to lead a group of people towards a resolution is a skill that is extremely beneficial and Model UN exposed me to these types of environments. Additionally, I was able to venture to China this past summer as a result of my involvement in Model UN, which was an incredible experience.

What was your reaction when you were notified you made an All-American Model UN delegation?

I was thrilled when I found out I had been accepted to be a part of the All-American Model UN delegation. I was excited because I wanted to improve my Model UN skills and experience a different culture.

How would you describe your experience with the All-American Model UN Programs? How did it affect your Model UN performance?

At my first Model UN conference since returning from China I noticed that my confidence had increased and I was more knowledgeable when it came to parliamentary procedure. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to participate at the Model UN conference in China with the All-American Model UN team.

What is your favorite OR least favorite memory from your time with the All-American MUN Programs?

My favorite part of the Beijing part of the China trip was when we went to the Summer Palace. I enjoyed this part of the trip because of how beautiful the Summer Palace was and the fact that a lot of history was incorporated into it. I had been unaware of a lot of China’s history and visiting this landmark gave me the opportunity to further understand the culture in a stunning setting.

What are your plans for college?

Although I am still waiting to hear back from colleges, I would like to study either Political Science, International Relations or both. I believe that Model UN sparked my interest in that field.

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