Front row from left to right, Cierra Franklin, Gloria Clark, Jamie Zheng, Jasmine Rolle and Taylor Ramos. Back row from left to right: Bridgett Tiller, Sha'Kym Holland, Diamond Wood and Jessica Jarrett. The group pose with their awards after the Brenau University Mock Mediation Invitational Tournament. (Ken Frank/Brenau University)

Students Compete and Win Honors in 15th Annual Mock Mediation Tournament

Oct. 12, 2017
Alison Reeger Cook

Jamie Zheng and Gloria Clark, two students attending Brenau University, have been friends since the first day they stepped onto campus. The two conflict resolution and legal studies majors make a good team, which they proved this weekend with big wins at the 15th Annual Mock Mediation Tournament.

The event, held at Brenau’s historic Gainesville campus Oct. 6-7, is designed to help educate, nurture and prepare the next generation of effective mediators.

For Clark, a future in mediation wasn’t always the plan.

Jamie Zheng, second from right, and Gloria Clark, center, take up the roles of a restauranteur and her advocate during the Brenau University Mock Mediation Invitational Tournament. (AJ Reynolds/Brenau University)

Jamie Zheng, second from right, and Gloria Clark, center, take up the roles of a restauranteur and her advocate during the Brenau University Mock Mediation Invitational Tournament. (AJ Reynolds/Brenau University)

“When I first came to Brenau, I was a nursing major,” said Clark, a junior conflict resolution & legal studies major from Decatur, Georgia. “But I met Jamie on my first day, and I told her I was really interested in being a lawyer, but my mom wanted me to be a nurse. Jamie said, ‘You need to do what you want. Have you thought of conflict resolution as your major?’ She explained it was a pre-law major, and I could go to law school with it, so I joined up. We’re really good friends and I wouldn’t be following my dreams now if it wasn’t for her.”

Twelve teams from six colleges and universities participated, including four teams from Brenau, one team from Butler University in Indianapolis; one team from Clayton State University in Morrow, Georgia; two teams from Principia College in Elsah, Illinois; three teams from University of North Carolina at Charlotte; and one team from Wheaton (Illinois) College.

Zheng, a senior business and conflict resolution & legal studies major from Suwanee, Georgia, earned the Overall Award, the tournament’s highest individual honor. She also came in second place for top mediator and in the top ten for top advocate/client pair, with Clark as her partner. Zheng has been participating in the mock mediation tournaments since she was a freshman, thanks to the encouragement from her residence assistant, who was on the mediation team.

“I went in there, and it happened, and I fell in love with it,” Zheng said. “You get to work with many students with schools from across the country, and it’s a huge learning curve. You learn so much about dispute resolution processes by doing this.”

Cierra Franklin, a sophomore mass communications major from Albany, Georgia, also won honors, earning second place in the top advocate/client category, third in top mediator teams, fourth in top advocate/client teams and eighth for top mediator. She was another recruit into the mediation tournaments by Zheng, and this is her second year of competing.

“Practicing in the competition, I’ve learned so many things about myself,” said Franklin. “I’ve learned that I am stronger than I thought I was. I’ve learned how to be a better communicator, and I’ve learned how to advocate for myself and other people.”

Other Brenau students who participated were:

  • Diamond Wood, right, fills the role of one of the two mediators on a case in the Brenau University Mock Mediation Invitational Tournament. (AJ Reynolds/Brenau University)

    Diamond Wood, right, fills the role of one of the two mediators on a case in the Brenau University Mock Mediation Invitational Tournament. (AJ Reynolds/Brenau University)

    Jessica Jarrett, a sophomore conflict resolution & legal studies major from Dahlonega, Georgia, who placed fifth place for top advocate/client teams and in the top ten for top advocate/client;

  • Taylor Ramos, a sophomore history & political science major from Braselton, Georgia, who placed third for top mediator teams and fourth for top advocate/client teams;
  • Sha’Kym Holland, a freshman English major from Savannah, Georgia, who placed fifth in top advocate/client teams;
  • Diamond Wood, a junior nursing major from Decatur, Georgia;
  • Bridget Tiller, a senior conflict resolution & legal studies major from Gainesville, Georgia;
  • Jasmine Rolle, a sophomore conflict resolution & legal studies major from Lithonia, Georgia, who placed first in top advocate/client and seventh in top mediator.
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