Baylor Model United Nations team receives top award at international conference

By Rebecca J. Flavin, senior lecturer in political science and Model UN advisor

On March 28-31, 2021, 14 members of Baylor’s Model United Nations team participated in the Virtual NMUN-NY Conference, representing Malaysia in seven committees that simulated the work of United Nations and its affiliated organizations. More than 1,300 delegates, faculty and conference staff attended the event, which was held on Gatherly, a virtual event platform that allows for interactive networking similar to the work students do in caucuses at physical, “in-person” conferences.

The delegates participating in the NMUN-NY virtual conference joined from universities around the world, including students from Belgium, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, South Korea, Switzerland, Ukraine, the United Kingdom and Venezuela. Baylor team member Rachel Jillson, a junior neuroscience major, said this global participation was a highlight of the conference.

“One of my favorite things about the conference was getting to work and connect with people from all over the world, especially during this pandemic,” Jillson said.

Abby Geisler, a freshman international studies major, agreed, adding that, “This conference was very exciting because it was the first time that I have gotten to spend that much time with people from so many different places throughout the world.”

In recognition of their work at the virtual conference, Baylor’s team was named an “Outstanding Delegation” by conference staff, which is the top-level team award. In addition, team members received individual recognition in each of the seven committees in which they participated. This marks the first time in the Baylor team’s history it received either an Outstanding Delegation Award or an Outstanding Position Paper Award in every committee.

The NMUN-NY Conference awards were announced in the final sessions of conference, which came amidst an almost campus-wide power outage at Baylor on March 31 that sent delegates scrambling to find places with power and internet signal so that they could hear the results of their hard work completed over the four-day conference. The full team roster and list of awards are included below.

The seven committees Baylor students participated in focused on issues related to global security, sustainable development and human rights. Each committee was tasked with researching and writing position papers on two (NPT) or three (all others) topics in advance of the conference. During the first conference session, delegates voted to focus on a single topic for debate and collaborative resolution-drafting for the duration of the meeting. The topics our students discussed and drafted resolutions at conference included:

  • The Illicit Trade of Small Arms and Light Weapons (GA 1)
  • Financing for Development (GA 2)
  • Empowering Conflict-afflicted Children and Youth (GA 3)
  • Climate Change and Health (UNEA)
  • Population, Food Security, Nutrition and Sustainable Development (CPD)
  • Promoting the Political Participation of Women (CSW) and
  • Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy (NPT)

The preparation for this year’s NMUN-NY conference was especially intense given the late start for the Spring 2021 semester, which required that students begin their research independently over the winter break while they were simultaneously preparing for the regional TexMUN conference held in February. Team member Drue Powers, a freshman Baylor Business Fellow, said, “Although there was a great deal of effort required in preparation for this year’s NMUN-NY conference, the work certainly paid off in the wonderful interactions and opportunities given to all participants as we wrote resolutions and discussed today’s most pressing issues.”

While we celebrate our team’s success and the awards they received, the students’ remarks on the academic benefits afforded by the conference should remind us of the true purpose and reward of these activities. Vyda Nguyen, a junior political science major, reflected on the experience.

“NMUN 2021 was a time to put our communication, critical thinking and collaborative skills to the test. which our team has been perfecting and developing for the past few months,” Nguyen said. “It was a chance for me to see my weaker skills become –– now –– my strongest skills.”

In the same way, senior political science major Giana Pirolli said, “I am so thankful and honored to be a part of the Baylor University NMUN-NY 2021 team. I have learned a great deal on the importance of diplomacy and had the opportunity to practice crucial life skills, such as problem solving, leadership and public speaking. This was an unforgettable and memorable experience.”

For a full list of conference topics as well as more information about the event, including the list of participating schools and award winners, visit

In November 2021, the Baylor team will participate in the NMUN-DC (Washington, DC) conference, which we hope will return to an in-person format. Our team continues to be grateful for your encouragement and support during this year, when participation in these conferences comes without the benefit of travel and meeting fellow delegates face-to-face. We are especially grateful to the Department of Political Science, the Department of Sociology and the Office of Engaged Learning for providing dedicated office and conference room space where the students could join the conference platform from a stable, secure internet connection and in a professional environment.

We are also thankful for the financial support we receive from the Department of Political Science and the Baylor University College of Arts & Sciences, which has allowed our entire team to participate in at least one virtual conference this year. For more information about our team and its activities, visit our website.


Outstanding Delegations in Committee

Peer nominated members of the team were honored with individual recognition in four of the seven committees in which we participated.

GA 2

  • Lauren Jarvis (sophomore, University Scholar)
  • Drue Powers (freshman, Business Fellows)

GA 3

  • Caelan Elliott (junior, University Scholar and Great Texts; co-assistant head delegate)
  • Lauren McLane (senior, international studies and professional writing and rhetoric; co-head delegate)


  • Rachel Jillson (junior, neuroscience)
  • Giana Pirolli (senior, political science)


  • Sophia Fulton (senior, Baylor Business Fellows and economics; co-head delegate)
  • Jenny Nguyen (junior, biochemistry and political science; co-assistant head delegate)

Outstanding Position Paper Awards

These are staff nominated. Our team received Outstanding Position Paper Awards in five of the seven committees in which we participated. Contributors to these papers include members of the team as well as students in Political Science 3375.

GA 1

  • Jonathan Chew (senior, Business Fellows and mathematics)
  • Anna Kate Walker (junior, economics and international studies)
  • Chris Wong (senior, political science)

GA 3

  • Caelan Elliott (junior, University Scholar and Great Texts; co-assistant head delegate)
  • Lauren McLane (senior, international studies and professional writing and rhetoric; co-head delegate)


  • Eldee Eyimife (sophomore, international studies and communication)
  • Cameron Kallina (senior, political science)
  • Krish Kothari (freshman, international studies)
  • Pricilla Mora Garcia (senior, political science)
  • Vyda Nguyen (junior, political science)


  • Morgan Arnett (senior, political science)
  • Abby Geisler (freshman, international studies)
  • Giuliana Hays-Angelelli (senior, philosophy)


  • Sophia Fulton (senior, Baylor Business Fellows and economics; co-head delegate)
  • Jenny Nguyen (junior, biochemistry and political science; co-assistant head delegate)

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