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Grace College Mediation Team Celebrates Record-Breaking Season

The Grace College Mediation Team is experiencing a record-breaking season. With strong appearances at its last two tournaments: the Peacemaker Invitational Mediation Tournament, hosted by Maharishi International University in Fairfield, Iowa, and the International Intercollegiate Mediation Tournament hosted by Principia College in Elsah, Illinois, the team has brought home more awards this year than in the team’s 14-year history.

“At the Peacemaker Invitational, our team took home nine of the 24 awards given at the tournament – more than any other participating team,” said Sydney Victa, president of the Mediation Team at Grace. “These awards were the result of months of dedication and sacrifice, and it was rewarding to see our hard work recognized.”

The Mediation Team at Grace is coached by Dr. Mark Norris, dean of the School of Arts & Sciences at Grace, and is comprised of six students: Victa, Brianna Bauer-Nordness, Hannah Mast, Jamall Smith, Neo Ferrell and Bianca Jimenez-Ortiz. The group meets weekly to practice honing their skills in peaceful conflict resolution by studying many actual cases and taking part in mock mediation on all sides of the process: client, advocate and mediator.

At the tournament in Iowa, Grace was awarded first-place medals in the advocate/client team and mediator team categories. Victa brought home a first-place individual award in the advocate/client category, and three other individuals were awarded top-five placements.

Building on that success, the team was awarded seven top-ten rankings at their tournament last weekend in Illinois, including first-place awards for Victa, Ferrell and Jimenez-Ortiz. Norris was also named “Coach of the Year” at the tournament by the International Academy of Dispute Resolution (INADR).

“We are so proud of him and so happy to see him get the recognition he deserves,” said Victa. “Although, of course, he’s always coach of the year to us.”

Victa, who is double-majoring in French and political science and minoring in pre-law, says the Mediation Team is an ideal way to gain valuable experience for those pursuing pre-law. According to her, the group’s record-breaking season is due to the camaraderie of the team.

“Our team finds a lot of joy in competing together, which I think contributes to our success,” said Victa. “I am so proud of the team for their commitment to mediation and look forward to seeing what the rest of the season holds.”

For more information on the Grace College Mediation Team, contact Dr. Mark Norris at To learn more about the pre-law minor at Grace, visit

Photo Attached:  Back row (left to right): Jamall Smith, Dr. Mark Norris, Neo Ferrell Front row (left to right): Sydney Victa, Hannah Mast, Bianca Jimenez-Ortiz

Tagged With: Department of Humanities, School of Arts and Humanities