College of Natural Science student Lauren Pepper earns spot in the Big Debate

  • Mar 20, 2018
  • debate, competiton, Students
  • Homepage News, Alumni, Faculty & Staff, Research, Students, College of Natural Science, Integrative Biology

Image of Alex Brown and Lauren Pepper

Lauren Pepper, an MSU NatSci senior majoring in zoology (right), and Alex Brown, a James Madison College sophomore majoring in social relations and policy, will pair up to represent MSU in the 72nd annual National Debate Tournament held in Kansas at Wichita State University from March 21-27. Photo courtesy of MSU Honors College.

Lauren Pepper, a Michigan State University senior majoring in zoology in the College of Natural Science’s Department of Integrative Biology, is part of two pairs of students on the MSU Debate Team who will compete in the 72nd annual National Debate Tournament. Nearly 80 teams from across the country will participate.

Pepper and teammate Alex Brown, a sophomore majoring in social relations and policy in James Madison College, will represent MSU at the tournament, marking the 22nd consecutive season that the university has qualified for the national competition. Pepper and Brown earned a second round bid to the tournament, and Pepper said she is ready to compete.

“It’s intimidating,” said Pepper, “but I feel prepared, and I’m confident that Alex and I have put in the work necessary to do well.” 

The subject for this year’s competitive season is whether or not the United States should establish a national health care system. Pepper and Brown will be required to cite and quote evidence with accuracy and integrity from verifiable sources.

“Debate allows for the application of the knowledge I’ve learned as a zoology major. For example, this year’s topic is health insurance, and the zoology program has prepared me to speak authoritatively about the mechanisms of disease spread,” said Pepper.

“The Department of Integrative Biology is pleased and proud to see Lauren and her teammate Alex representing MSU in this prestigious national competition,” said Tom Getty, professor and chair of the Department of Integrative Biology. “The breadth and depth of Lauren’s intellectual and communication skills are a great example of what we hope to encourage in all of our majors.”

MSU Debate, housed in the Honors College, has been one of the most successful debate teams in the country in the past 20 years, earning the national title in 2004, 2006 and 2010.

"MSU has one of the strongest college track records in qualifying for the National Debate Tournament," said Will Repko, debate head coach. "Our students have worked hard this season and will be prepared heading into the national tournament later this month."

The other MSU debate team pair representing MSU is Lena Grossman, a sophomore majoring in political theory and constitutional democracy in James Madison College, and Ezra Serrins, a freshman in James Madison College.

This year’s National Debate Tournament will be held in Kansas at Wichita State University from March 21-27. For more information about the tournament, click here.


Banner image: (L to R): Alex Brown, Lauren Pepper, Lena Grossman and Ezra Serrins will represent MSU as they advance to the National Debate Tournament, held March 21-27 in Kansas at Wichita State University. Photo courtesy of MSU Honors College.