Student Debates

The ESA Student Debates are lively, cross-examination-style debates held annually during ESA’s Annual Meeting. The Debates are an important educational, as well as entertaining, component of the ESA Meeting.

The Debates generally include three subtopics under a broader main topic selected by the Student Affairs Committee (SAC) and feature the best of ESA’s student membership. The SAC Chair will introduce the program after which the debates begin. Teams are independently judged with the winning team decided by majority vote. The winners and runners-up are recognized at the ESA Student Awards Session where the winners are presented with a plaque for the team and certificates for all participating members of both teams.

The Best Debate Team Award will be awarded to the best student debate team out of all the teams participating at the National Student Debates. The winning team will receive $500 cash, and trophy with their university name engraved on it.  The SAC Chair, who organizes the debates, selects the judging panel (which includes students, post docs, and faculty members) that will determine the winning team.  

All students taking part in the debates are “invited” speakers through university-sponsored teams.  Each team is comprised of three to five members. All debate teams are required to have a formal faculty advisor.

All participants in the debates are winners as this is the only program at the ESA Annual Meeting that can directly culminate in an article in ESA’s American Entomologist.

To participate, or for more information, email

The themes and the winners Entomology 2014 Debates are listed below:

“Management Strategies: Solutions to Grand Challenges,” and the teams and topics are:

1. The calls for the end of invasion biology are justified; this field should be replaced by the ecology of species redistribution.

Unbiased Team: University of Missouri (Jessica Warwick)
Pro Team: Washington State University (Elizabeth D'Auria, Karol Krey, Robert Orpet. Advisor: David Crowder)
Con Team: Louisiana State University (Emily Kraus, Matt VanWeelden, Nathan Mercer, Monique Ferreira. Advisor: Kristen Healy)

2. Neonicotinoids are causing the death of bees essential for pollinating our food crops. The use of neonicotinoids should end.

Unbiased Team: Washington State University (Alix Whitener)
Pro Team: Auburn University (Olufemi Ajayi, Adekunle Adesanya, Julian Golec, Matt Burrows, Scott Clem, Z. Ye. Advisor: David Held)
Con Team: University of California—Davis (Mohammad amir Aghaee, Daniel Klittich, Ralph Washington Jr., Rei Scampavia, Jenny Carlson. Advisor: Michael Parrella)

3. What is the single best tool to reduce malaria cases throughout the world?

Unbiased Team: University of Arkansas (Jessica Hartshorn)
Specific Solution Team, "Using DDT for malaria control": Florida A&M University (Julius Eason, W. Stewart, E. Inyang, N. Francis, T. Gordon. Advisor: Raymond Hix)
Specific Solution Team, "Using GE Mosquitoes for malaria control": Kansas State University (Shelly Wiggam, Aaron Cato, Bettina Jancke, Dinesh Erram, David Margolies. Advisor: John Ruberson)

Student Debate Subcommittee 2014: Tamra Reall Lincoln (SAC Chair), Rebecca Schmidt-Jeffris, and Alejandro Del Pozo-Valdivia

Click here for general Student Debate Rules and Procedures.

Click here to volunteer as a Judge.

Click here for previous American Entomologist articles.

Click here for previous Debate winners.