ELeberWebMeet Emily Mikkelsen

Emily Mikkelsen joined Belmont Abbey College as the Director of Debate in 2016 after graduating from UNC Greensboro with her M.A. in Peace and Conflict Studies, concentrating in International Peace Development. In addition to coaching, Emily is pursuing her doctoral degree at UNC Charlotte in Public Policy. As a competitor, Emily and her collegiate debate partner were ranked second in the country for National Parliamentary Debate in December 2013, placing at every tournament she attended that season. After graduating with her bachelor’s degree, Emily spent time assistant coaching Appalachian State University’s first year team; some students were placed in the top 50 teams nationally by March. Since 2016, Emily has been working alongside the Belmont Abbey College team, which has won the International Public Debate Association National Tournament in the J.V. division and has received several national semifinalist and quarterfinalist awards since that time.

Forensic Arts Society

The Belmont Abbey College Debate Team was started in the early days of the college by Abbot Leo Haid, offering students opportunities for debate and discussion and representing one of the premier programs on campus. Although dormant for about four decades, it was revived for a new generation of students at Belmont Abbey College. This team, which houses the competitive debate squad, offers students the opportunity to develop and to test their abilities to reason well and communicate articulately. Members of the squad will travel to tournaments and compete against students from colleges and universities across the United States, which can include Ivy League institutions and flagship state universities. Unlike athletic teams, debate programs are not classified by the size of a college’s student enrollment or major interest. Consequently, students will debate individuals from various academic backgrounds and those representing renowned research institutions to those from smaller liberal arts colleges While competing for the debate society requires a time commitment, the rewards are significant. Students will immediately see their writing, research, and public speaking improve.  They will learn to see the heart of an issue, to derive the principle, and apply that the ever growing supply of knowledge from every discipline. By extension, the cultivation of this habit prepares students to be good fathers, mothers, stewards, and citizens with the ability to intellectually defend those principles in a civilized and humane fashion. Finally, and in a practical sense, participation in debate further prepares students for excellence in law school, medical school, at a seminary, in graduate school, for employment and as citizens, parishioners, and parents. For more information about joining the society, please contact Emily Mikkelsen, Director of Debate, at emilymikkelsen@bac.edu.

Student Testimonials:

Logan Torve “Debating for Belmont Abbey College has been the hardest yet most rewarding activity I’ve taken part in this school year. It pushed my limits socially and academically. I think one of the most difficult challenges that people face in life is communicating your ideas effectively to others, as it impacts personal relationships, businesses endeavors, and success as a student. As Christians it’s also important to be able to defend what you believe in. Debating this semester is something that has helped me extremely in both of these areas. It has given me the ability to vocalize and communicate my ideas in a concise and understandable manner, in addition to developing the ability to successfully defend something that I believe is right.” -Logan Torve Mary Rose Stepnowski “Debate has been crucial to forming my critical thinking skills, enabling me to employ my liberal arts education and enhancing my understanding of the world it a fun and engaging way.” -Mary Rose Stepnowski

Our Debate Scholarship

Debate participants may be eligible for a stackable $1,000 scholarship. For more information, contact our director Emily Mikkelsen.