The Charger Blog

Model United Nations Students Reflect on Record-Breaking Performance at National Conference

At recent conference in New York, students on the University’s award-winning Model United Nations Team were not only recognized for their outstanding performance, they also developed their confidence and critical skills that, they believe, they will continue to draw on in their academic and professional careers.

April 25, 2023

By Lizbeth Medrano ’25, Deepak Dinesh ’26, and Abigail Fruhling ’26

The Model UN conference was a fun and immersive way for students to apply what they’ve learned in the classroom.
The Model UN conference was a fun and immersive way for students to apply what they’ve learned in the classroom.

Students taking part in the University’s Model United Nations (MUN) program recently traveled to New York to take part in the National MUN Conference. Under the mentorship of their professor Chris Haynes, Ph.D., the University’s teams representing Indonesia and Fiji earned Outstanding Delegation awards. Students also won nine Outstanding Position Paper awards – the most outstanding paper awards the University has ever earned.

Dr. Haynes serves as director of the program, which has been generously supported by Phil Bartels ’11 Hon. and Susan Bartels, two of the University’s most generous benefactors.

Beyond the students’ success at the conference, they said it was the meaningful opportunity to build invaluable skills, including resilience, confidence, and public speaking, which students say was especially impactful. Below, three students reflect on their experience and what they learned from it.

Lizbeth Medrano ’25

This semester I had the privilege of being able to be a part of Model United Nations. This is a course I was previously interested in taking, but I wasn’t able to until this semester. When I first signed up for the class, I was extremely intimidated with the coursework and expectations. However, as the semester continued, it slowly got easier.

Students in New York.
Students in New York.

Dr. Chris Haynes works hard to make personal connections with each student and works with us to improve so that we can become the best version of ourselves. He offers constant advice that allows us to succeed in class and beyond. During classes, we work hard to develop leadership skills, and by the time the conference comes, leading a group comes naturally without having to think too much about it.

During the conference, there were certainly times when I questioned if this was something I was capable of doing. I definitely had to put my nerves to the side and just walk into the conference room in a confident manner. However, by the end of the conference, I noticed an increase in confidence and realized that I came back with amazing social skills. As a whole, this program has allowed me to grow and given me numerous opportunities to develop skills that I will find useful moving forward.

Although intimidating at first, you learn things about yourself that you didn’t know before. You develop numerous skills that make you wonder if the person you were at the beginning of the semester is the same person you are now. I can easily say that at the beginning of this semester I was a very quiet individual who would just follow others. However, now I am someone who is a lot more social and confident, and I no longer hesitate to lead a group of people.

In addition to the skills you gain in this course, you also gain an amazing support system. Everybody is in this together, and you learn to be a part of a team. By the end of the conference, you learn that you have a family. I am currently enrolled to take MUN again for the Fall 2023 semester, and I hope to continue taking MUN throughout my next two years at the University.

The Model UN conference was an opportunity for students to build their public speaking skills.
The Model UN conference was an opportunity for students to build their public speaking skills.
Deepak Dinesh ’26

Our Model United Nations program has had a positive impact on my personal and professional development. As a business analytics major, I have directly benefited from both the course and the conference simulation. From research techniques to networking, the skills I have acquired from this experience are highly transferable. Most importantly, I have become a more confident person. I credit my development to Dr. Haynes and our head delegates and thank them for their guidance, feedback, and attention to detail.

Students recently attended the National MUN Conference in New York.
Students recently attended the National MUN Conference in New York.

My favorite part of the MUN experience was the conference itself. We spent a week in New York working with students from around the world, discussing a range of problems and forming solutions. The conference pushed me outside of my comfort zone, allowing me to develop my critical thinking and interpersonal skills. This is why I would recommend this class to any student regardless of their major or academic interests.

Thank you to everyone from Dr. Haynes, Joseph Scollo, and the head delegates for their hard work and leadership; Phil and Susan Bartels for their generosity; Carolyn Brehm and Ambassador Richard Boucher for their advice and contributions; and everyone else who makes this MUN program thrive.

Abigail Fruhling ’26

When I first decided to do Model UN, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I was going through a rough time in my life and thought MUN could be a good distraction and resume builder. I certainly did not expect MUN to have this huge of an impact on me.

Students present their work at the conference.
Students present their work at the conference.

Back in January, I would get nervous to even introduce myself to those I did not know. I am now able to deliver a speech in front of hundreds of strangers with ease. It was a long road to get there of course, but it was a journey well worth it. With the help of Dr. Haynes, our head delegates, and my classmates, each class got easier and easier. I slowly started to understand our simulations and even had several returners on their toes at times. The class helped me gain confidence and build on new skills each week, preparing me well for our New York MUN conference.

When the time for conference arrived, I was super excited, yet nervous. All the hard work in class had paid off. Before I knew it, I was leading a group of more than 60 people. I did not get by without challenges though. When I was faced with delegates targeting my leadership abilities, I was lucky to have my head delegates and co-delegates there to support me while Dr. Haynes helped me strategize.

Our University of New Haven MUN team ended the conference week having achieved so much. Although we received quite a few awards, it was the bonds I built with my classmates and the new, confident attitude I acquired that really changed my experience at this school. I look forward to returning to MUN in the fall as I am truly grateful for this incredible experience.

Lizbeth Medrano is a political science major. Deepak Dinesh is a business analytics major. Abigail Fruhling is a national security major.