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Upper School Clubs Competing in National and International Competitions

Two Bryn Mawr Upper School clubs are heading to national or international competitions this spring to compete at the highest level.

In just three years, the Bryn Mawr Ethics Bowl team went from their very first competition to winning the Mid-Atlantic qualifier, earning the team a spot at nationals. 

Ethics Bowl is a similar concept to a debate competition, except that teams are not assigned opposing views to debate; rather each team is given a case and must research and present the ethical logic behind their decisions.

“You don’t have the affirmative or the negative side. You can take whatever side you feel, explained club leader Grace Martin ’23. “You can have a case where you are entirely aligned with the team you are competing against, so it depends on who can bring in the most philosophies and ethical values. You get judged on things like how well you can apply a generalized ethical value to each case.”

This year, hundreds of Ethics Bowl teams across the country were given 15 cases based upon real life ethical debates. Topics ranged from the sentience of artificial intelligence to the legal drinking age to animal rights. Teams must prepare their statements and stances for all 15 cases and once they arrive at a competition will be given two cases to present. To prepare for nationals, all teams receive an additional 15 cases and must be able to present any of the 30 during the competition. 

Elise Purcell ’23, one of the Ethics Bowl club leaders, believes Bryn Mawr has been successful at Ethics Bowl, in part, due to skills developed during day-to-day classroom experiences.
“In general we cultivate skills like Harkness discussions and in all our classes we are taught to use our voices and to consider other points of view, even those we don’t agree with,”she said.

Ethics Bowl Nationals are taking place March 31- April 2 at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. Grace and Elise will be joined by Makenna Bachman ’23, Maggie Lynch ’23, and Christina Sousou ’23, and their coach Jeanette Budzik.

Meanwhile, Bryn Mawr’s DECA Club qualified for the international final competition for the first time since the school’s club was founded five years ago. Shreya Srivastava ’24 is a co-leader of the club with Aanya Kheterpal ’25, who describes the club as one, “for students who are looking to grow their knowledge of entrepreneurship, business, marketing and hospitality.”

DECA is competition-based, allowing students to compete as individuals or in teams of up to three. Students choose an area of focus from the four specializations within DECA, then compete in three types of events, such as pitching a business plan, developing a project-based presentation or writing and presenting a research paper. 

 Riya Narasimhan '25, Manahil Mian '25 and Zoë Dolland '25—one of Bryn Mawr’s three-person teams—placed second at the Maryland State Competition in Hunt Valley on February 24, 2023 for their their marketing paper and presentation on the popularity of S’well water bottles. They’ll head to the DECA International Career Development Conference, the final competition of the year, from April 22-25 in Orlando, Florida.