The Charger Blog

Students Reflect on 'Incredibly Rewarding' Model G20 Experience

Students who took an innovative "Model G20" course with Chris Haynes, Ph.D., recently participated in American University’s Model G20 Summit, capturing second place in the virtual competition and developing important skills and confidence.

March 26, 2021

By Grace Beaulac ’22, Anna Schleck ’23, and Sanduni Muhandiramge ’22

Model G20 team
The University of New Haven’s Model G20 team captured second place in the virtual competition.

The University of New Haven’s Model G20 team represented the United States in the Model G20 Summit, a recent virtual event hosted by American University. Our group won the Outstanding Delegation award, and our team’s Finance Track earned the Outstanding Delegates Award.

We took a “Model G20” course with Chris Haynes, Ph.D., associate professor of legal studies and political science at the University of New Haven, this fall that enabled us to build important skills, such as teamwork, as well as confidence. The virtual event enabled us to apply all that we learned last semester.

Modeled after the G20, or Group of Twenty, an international forum for Heads of State of economies around the world, Model G20 is a program designed to expose students and young professionals to the world of international diplomacy. It includes opportunities for networking, international diplomacy, and debate on important global issues.

Anna Schleck ’23, Grace Beaulac ’22, Rachel Adler ’21.
Left to right: Anna Schleck ’23, Grace Beaulac ’22, Rachel Adler ’21.
Grace Beaulac '22

This past fall semester, I had the opportunity to take “Model G20” with Dr. Chris Haynes. This course gave me a very unique experience in which I could directly apply the skills that we learned in the course as we participated in the virtual G20 Conference.

The course was no doubt a challenging one. I learned not only how to develop my research skills in regard to policies, but also how to use diplomatic language and to speak confidently and fluently, even on a topic I don’t have a lot of experience in. It helped me develop my ability to think on my feet and respond properly when I don’t know the answer to a question.

The greatest takeaway from the Model G20 course was its applicability to interactions outside of the classroom. The interpersonal skills I developed are necessary for everyday life, both while I am in college and afterward. I have been able to use the skills I learned in this class in interviews as well as when speaking up in other courses. I know I will continue to use them moving forward.

While participating in the G20 Conference, I had the opportunity to put the skills I learned to work and really see everything come to fruition. I was a member of the Finance Track, alongside Anna Schleck ’23 and Rachel Adler ’21. Throughout the progression of this course, we were able to watch each other grow and develop the skillset this course requires. I was able to develop my teamwork skills while working with this group.

I would encourage other students to take experiential classes such as Model G20 because they teach you critical skills beyond just knowing content.Anna Schleck '23

The three of us were able to figure out where each of us felt the most comfortable and where our individual strengths were, and we applied them to our positions and overall functionality during the G20 conference. This allowed us to work effectively and efficiently throughout the conference. It was as if we shared the same brain, as we were able to function that effectively together.

This experience alone was incredibly rewarding, but being awarded the Outstanding Delegate award for the Finance Track truly showed us that the teamwork we believed was effective actually was. I am extremely proud to have worked alongside my teammates, and I am grateful for the experience this course has given me.

Anna Schleck '23

Taking “Model G20” this past semester was one of the best decisions I have made. I learned how to research policy, speak diplomatically, and think on my feet, among other things. The class challenged me to push myself out of my comfort zone and forced me to respond to different situations while using my knowledge to problem solve. It taught me how to respond when I don’t have all the information, as well as how to argue effectively using logic and evidence.

The class and the following G20 Conference allowed me to expand my interpersonal skills and work with a team. The conference was a lot of hard work, but it was also really enjoyable. We got to take all our preparation and apply it to competition against other highly qualified delegations. We got thrown a lot of curve balls over the weekend, but our team responded, and we were able to problem solve on the fly. We were successful because we put in a lot of practice and preparation.

I have great admiration and respect for my teammates, Rachel Adler ’21, Grace Beaulac ’22, Paige Niswonger ’21, Rachel Clavette ’21, Sanduni Muhandiramge ’22, and Joceline Swartz ’22. Working with them all semester and during the conference was extremely enjoyable, and we all pushed each other to be better. As the youngest member of the team, I appreciate that all of them took me under their wings and helped me succeed.

Under the guidance of Paige and Dr. Haynes, all of us were able to learn and apply critical skills that we will be able to use in real life. I will remember all of the simulations and the stories from the conference with this group. I will use the practical lessons from Model G20 in my other classes and when I am looking for internships and jobs.

Model G20 has given me more confidence, and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to be part of this class and team. I would encourage other students to take experiential classes such as Model G20 because they teach you critical skills beyond just knowing content.

Rachel Clavette ’21 in the virtual Model G20 Summit.
Rachel Clavette ’21 (left, center) takes part in the virtual Model G20 Summit.
Sanduni Muhandiramge '22

Without a doubt, “Model G20” has been the most impactful course I have taken at the University of New Haven. The experience is unique and offers students many opportunities to take initiative. Through Dr. Haynes’s guidance, as well as the direction of Paige Niswonger ’21, the head delegate for the past semester, I have grown tremendously. Apart from the tangible rewards the team has received, such as the Outstanding Delegation Award, we have also been fortunate to have cultivated many skills that will benefit us throughout our academic journeys and into our professional careers.

I have discovered a newfound passion for leadership and teambuilding. Additionally, I have refined my ability to maintain my composure and think critically in moments when I encounter the unexpected. These strategic thinking and communication skills, although emphasized in many other courses, are driving forces in “Model G20,” which sets the course apart from all others. These skills are enhanced in every class session through simulations, debates, and cycles of reflection until they become facets of our identities that distinguish us as determined rising professionals.

“Model G20” establishes diligence, instills confidence, and demonstrates integrity. These are lessons that cannot be obtained from a syllabus alone, and I hope that all students take advantage of opportunities such as this one.

Grace Beaulac ’22, Anna Schleck ’23, and Sanduni Muhandiramge ’22 are national security majors at the University of New Haven.