Ball State University senior Sara Maier of Fort Wayne received a National Educational Debate Association All-American award, which goes to students whose tournament, academic, and public activities exemplify NEDA’s mission, including a commitment to ethics, public service, and advocacy.

“Getting this distinction is pretty cool,” said Maier, a graduate of Carroll High School. “I’m grateful for the time I’ve spent on the debate team. I’ve put a lot of work into debate for the last four years, and it’s nice to be recognized for that.”

In the March 15-16 competition, Maier won a second place team award and second place individual award in policy debate, the style of debate that is longer, more formal, and more technical than others. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in political science, she plans to attend law school to study constitutional law and eventually work in the public sector toward sentencing reform.

“My academic studies at Ball State have made me more knowledgeable about current social and political issues, so I’m able to bring a lot of background knowledge into debates,” Maier said. “Debate itself has given me a great outlet for both personal expression and advocacy.”

The Ball State Debate Team won all three team championship divisions at the tournament, becoming the first college to do so in the NEDA’s 24-year history. The team, coached by Associate Lecturer of Communication Studies Mike Bauer, hosted the tournament this year as a component of the University’s Centennial celebration.

“This is one the hardest-working teams we have had at Ball State in my 28 years as coach here,” Bauer said. “For a group of students who have put in extra time and effort in practice, it is very satisfying to see that work paid off with the team’s success. There is a direct relationship between the numerous hours of preparation and the team’s outstanding performance at the national tournament.”