The UC Davis debate team — composed of graduate students Mohammad-Amir Aghaee, Matan Shelomi, Irina Shapiro and Danny Klittich of the department of entomology and nematology — won the championship at the student debates at the Entomological Society of America’s 61st annual meeting, held Nov. 10-13 in Austin, Texas.
Aghaee captained the team, and Michael Parrella, professor and department chair, served as their adviser.
The topic:”Using GMOs to Increase Food Security in Regions Where the Technology is not Universally Accepted.” UCD argued the con side, and Auburn (Alabama) University, the pro side.
The local team will receive a perpetual trophy engraved with the team members’ names to grace the university’s trophy cabinet for the year.
The match was touted to be the best of all three topics debated, and as such the teams received the top and second-highest honors among the six schools. Other universities competing were:
* University of Arkansas and Mississippi State University, debating “What is the Best Individual Solution to Preserving the World’s Current Biodiversity?” and
* Oklahoma State University and Louisiana State University, debating “Using Citizen Scientists to Collect Data in Scientific Experiments?”
The annual student debates are open to all students in an entomology degree program (B.S., M.S. or Ph.D.). Teams prepare for the debates for more than eight months leading up to the annual meeting, according to ESA website. The debate topics and positions are randomly assigned by the Student Affairs Committee.