RALEIGH — Wingate University’s team took second place in the North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities’ annual Ethics Bowl Feb. 10 and 11, falling short to Queens University in the final round. The two-day event, held at the N.C. Legislative Complex in Raleigh, involved teams from 16 campuses across the state.
Dr. Rob Prevost, faculty advisor to the group, said the team worked well together and had practiced diligently for the event, which included challenging questions about Ethics in Contemporary Society. The teams were given 10 case studies in advance but had no idea what particular questions they would be asked. In just five minutes, they had to come up with a reasoned response and present it orally to the judges and the opposing team. The event involved four rounds of questions, plus semifinal and final rounds. Volunteer professionals served as judges to determine which team made the most sound, persuasive presentation.
“We had a very cohesive group, and one judge even commented on how our team seemed to really like one another,” Prevost said.
He said the six students – juniors Camila Collante and Viviana Espinoza; sophomores Brigitte Gonzalez-Amado and Tanaka Nzombe; and freshmen Isaiah Moore and Brooklyn Vereen – started off nervous, but got more relaxed and performed better during each round of the competition.
“The last three rounds, including the final, were definitely the hardest, but our team rose to the occasion until the final round,” Prevost said.
The experience was a first for the entire team. Long-time religion and philosophy professor Edwin Bagley had fielded a team for many years but retired in 2020, just as the pandemic began. This year, the 12th bowl for the NCICU, was the first one in person since then.
“After a two-year layoff due to Covid, we really weren’t expecting much,” Prevost said. “But our preparation, particularly the timed practice sessions, prepared us for the competition. It was a good event.”
At least three of Wingate’s team members — Collante, Vereen and Amador — are considering careers in law, and all say that taking a deep dive into the case studies has boosted their critical-thinking skills. Nzombe, a psychology major, agrees.
“Being able to articulate an argument is crucial in this event. You only have a short period of time. You have to be able to take prompts and immediately deconstruct them so that you can form cohesive and fluent arguments,” he says. “I have been able to sharpen all these skills.”
Moore, a math major and future software engineer from Albany, New York, said the teamwork and camaraderie were his favorite parts of the ethics bowl experience.
He said discussing and theorizing about the concepts featured in the competition kept him abreast of current events and issues and helped expand his understanding of others’ perspectives. Moore says the experience will help him collaborate in his future career and also benefit his life beyond the classroom or workplace.
“The skills I am learning here will help me to become a more reasonable and developed person overall,” Moore says. “Anyone and everyone who enjoys teamwork and deep thinking should consider participating in the Ethics Bowl.”
Espinoza, who is from Yadkinville, N.C., also looks forward to another chance to compete.
“Participating was such an honor and a great opportunity to interact with other schools while discussing ethics topics,” she says. “I also loved getting closer to our team and getting to know everyone. We are like a family.”
Wingate’s team was sponsored by Centrica Business Solutions.