Kennesaw State's Mocking Owls Sharpen Skills, Build Networks, and Achieve Success

Kennesaw State University's Mocking Owls have added another successful season to their impressive record, reaching the Opening Round Championship Series (ORCS) tournament for the third time in four years.

KENNESAW, Ga. (May 9, 2024) — by: James R. Turner

This dominant performance follows an undefeated (8-0) at the American Mock Trial Association's regional tournament, one of at least seven tournaments they have participated in this season. Competitions have included invitationals, a regional tournament, and the ORCS, all of which showcased the team's dedication and raw talent.

Kennesaw State Mocking Owls
The 2023-2024 Academic Year Mocking Owls pose for a photo with their advisor and Professor of Political Science Elizabeth Gordon, Ph.D., (back left) in celebration of a successful mock trial competition.
The Mocking Owls, guided by Professor of Political Science, Elizabeth Gordon, Ph.D., is comprised primarily of students from various majors within the Norman J. Radow College of Humanities and Social Sciences, with a few students from other KSU colleges. The team is open to all KSU students.

"We are incredibly proud of our Mocking Owls," said Faculty Advisor and Professor Elizabeth Gordon, Ph.D., "This is such a dedicated group of students. They love what they do, and they put in the time and effort so they can shine in competition. But this activity is about much more than winning trophies. Students on the team build strong bonds with each other and network with members of the national mock trial community and the legal profession. Many KSU Mock Trial alumni, like Jessica Turner, continue to support the program by helping with team practices, scrimmages, and KSU's Owl Classic tournament."

Jessica Turner exemplifies the lasting impact of the program. "I wanted to give back to the team and community that did so much for me," said Turner. "Being on the Mocking Owls changed everything for me. It reignited my passion for the law and potentially attending law school one day. It helped me become a better public speaker, taught me how to be a leader, and overall, being a Mocking Owl helped me become a better version of myself. I find fulfillment in helping others, and I hope to help grow and shape the students on the team into who they strive to be, the same way my predecessors did for me."

This year, the Mocking Owls faced fierce competition from across the Southeast. They juggled rigorous academic schedules within their individual majors with a demanding competition and practice regimen, excelling in both. This drive does not go unnoticed – legal firms recognize the unwavering work ethic mock trial participation requires, a valuable quality for future lawyers.

Team Captain Pranay Nair emphasizes that being a Mocking Owl goes beyond trophies. "Our participation in mock trials fosters a well-rounded skillset applicable to various career paths," Nair explained. "We gain a strong foundation in legal knowledge, which is crucial for any law-related field. But the benefits are vast even for those not set on law school. Through mock trials and competitions, we hone our public speaking abilities. We learn to think strategically, analyze complex situations, and construct persuasive arguments. We also develop strong teamwork skills by collaborating with peers to achieve a common goal. Employers across all industries highly seek after these transferable skills, and being a Mocking Owl prepares us to excel in our future endeavors."

Crafting objections, delivering powerful closings – these are just two of the skills honed through competition. But mock trials offer more than courtroom victories. They open doors to invaluable mentorship opportunities, internships, and may even pave the way for legal careers.

Rory Manley, an undergraduate student and Mocking Owls President, understands this firsthand. While balancing her studies, she also works at a local law firm, a position secured through connections made through the mock trial community. "Everyone involved, regardless of university affiliation, is part of a larger community. says Manley. "The program not only helped me network with experienced attorneys, but it also equipped me with skills that impressed my employers. It's no surprise that many Mocking Owl alumni go on to secure and succeed in positions at law firms."

However, the Mocking Owl story transcends individual achievements. Within the competitive landscape of mock trials exists a unique sense of camaraderie.

Kennesaw Mocking Owls with Trophy
The 2023-2024 Academic Year Mocking Owls pose for a photo with their advisor and Professor of Political Science Elizabeth Gordon, Ph.D., (holding trophy) in celebration of a successful mock trial competition.
"There are no real rivals," explains Manley. "Everyone involved, regardless of university affiliation, is part of a larger community.” This sentiment resonates across the collegiate mock trial scene. Unlike traditional sports where bragging rights reign supreme, mock trial fosters a different kind of pride – pride in pushing each other to excel as competitors, and in building a vibrant community of students with common aspirations beyond college.

This unique spirit is evident in scrimmages and practice rounds. These unofficial matches, often student-organized, pit teams from different universities against each other. But instead of a tense championship atmosphere, scrimmages are all about learning and friendly competition. Teams share strategies and analyze each other's strengths and weaknesses, ultimately elevating the overall skill level of the students who participate in collegiate mock trial competition.

The Mocking Owls' popularity allowed for two competitive teams this year. Their achievements go beyond competitive success; they've solidified their reputation as a program that fosters personal and professional growth. The team's culture is that of a supportive community and forms the beginning of a professional network for students regardless of their chosen career path.

With three schools and eight departments that serve nearly 8,000 students, Radow College offers over 80 programs of study across the humanities and social sciences, as well as a wealth of extracurricular clubs, Registered Student Organizations (RSOs), and activities such as the Mocking Owls. For additional information on the educational opportunities available at Radow College, please visit