Model UN team heralded at Harvard


Youngstown State University students Justin McIntyre and Mark Sember each earned third-place honorable mention awards for their performance at the 2012 Harvard National Model United Nations conference last week.

Sixty awards were given out at the conference, which hosted more than 3,000 students from colleges and universities across the nation. The conference simulates actual United Nations activities. 

Justin McIntyre and Sember both served in the European Union by representing Ireland. 

“With Ireland’s stance of neutrality, I had to advocate from a position that was not necessarily similar to the stance of other individuals in the room,” Justin McIntyre said. “Overall, I learned a lot about the E.U., and it indefinitely complements my studies as a political science major.”

Justin McIntyre said even though he feels bittersweet about it being the last conference he will attend, he wouldn’t have ended it any other way. 

“I truly had an outstanding time with my fellow YSU students, as well as meeting people from across the world,” Justin McIntyre said. 

The remaining YSU students who attended were Johnny McIntyre, Sara Abusaleh, Drew Webster, Jessica Valsi, Kristin Hanna, Al Nieves, Sean Knaub, Katie Carpenter, Corinne Bocci, Justen Vrabel and Todd Pasquael.

David Porter, a professor in political science and pre-law, advises the YSU Model United Nations team. 

He said he’s pleased that YSU students were awarded with an honorable mention, primarily because of the number of students competing.  

“Any recognition is amazing. Especially it being our first time there,” Porter said. 

Porter said the experience was beneficial to both the students and to him. 

Although he was unable to attend, Cory Okular, who has gone to conferences in the past, said he is proud of his teammates. 

“The amount of preparation is intense and you need so many skills to do well at any conference — skills like speaking ability, knowledge of your county’s policies and the ability to work with other delegates to reach a substantive resolution on a topic,” Okular said in an email. “Our presence at HMUN indicates that our organization is returning to the ability we had several years ago when we traveled internationally and competed at a very high level against schools from many countries.”

Porter plans to take students to the conference next year and said he hopes to build momentum.