University of Iowa Mock Trial


Current Members

Head Coach: Ryan Seelau

Executive Board 2019-2020

Isabelle Breitfelder-

Isabelle is a senior studying Global Health and Ethics & Public Policy. She’s had over eight different majors since coming to the University of Iowa, so hopefully she sticks with these two. Isabelle spends her time searching for sleep, sanity, and coffee. She decided to join Mock Trial when she read a sign on a cambus that said, “If you are always right and you absolutely rock a suit, this is your call to join Mock trial.”

Vice President

Christian Pint-

Christian is a junior  majoring in Civil Engineering. He’s doing mock trial because it’s a fun pastime that he has been involved with since junior year of high school. His life generally revolves around occasionally school, lots of mock trial, then there is that occasional pesky need to sleep.


Ellie Hoeper-

Ellie is a junior planning on studying Criminology, Law, and Justice and she plans to go to law school after she finishes her undergraduate degree. She joined Mock Trial because she's really competitive and loves being dramatic so Mock Trial just seemed like the best of both worlds! Ellie's hobbies include procrastinating papers until the last minute and coloring adult coloring books as a stress reliever. She likes to work out but always rewards herself with a smoothie every time. Ellie's pet peeves are when people overuse the word "like" in a sentence and when people sit right next to her on an empty bus.


Nathan Vanderheyden-

Nathan is a sophomore at the University of Iowa who’s been directly admitted to the Tippie College of Business, planning on majoring in planning on majoring in Economics and minoring in Philosophy. Nathan is also on the pre-law track. Nathan was a jock in high school, being the captain of his high school football team, so Mock Trial is a new concept. Nathan decided to do Mock Trial for the first time because he hopes to go on to law school and become a Healthcare Attorney. That and his mom thought he would make a good lawyer. You can find Nathan in the gym, at Hawkeye football games and wrestling matches, or in his dorm studying and drinking Rockstar. People call him “Chad.”

Public Relations
Maggie Martinson-

Maggie is a senior who is currently double majoring in Political Science and Ethics & Public Policy. Her goal is to hopefully pursue a degree in law after completing her bachelor's degree. In her free time, she likes to listen to music and hang out with friends instead of studying like she should be doing. Maggie had never heard of mock trial before coming to the University of Iowa, but she is very happy she joined because she's learned so much and has met so many great people.


Ciara Gallen-

Ciara is a sophomore majoring in Economics and Ethics & Public Policy. She hasn’t done Mock Trial before but joined because she is interested in going to law school. When not at mock trial you can find her on a run around campus, she’ll do her best to give you a wave. She also loves rock climbing, hummus, and rainy days.

Hannah Johnson-

Hannah Johnson is a Spanish and International Human Rights major at the University of Iowa. She attempted a lot of different sports throughout high school, but failed to succeed in any of them. So, with a lack of depth perception and a mediocre attitude, she found her place on a mock trial team since middle school. Hannah spends most of her free time hanging out with friends, watching movies, and stress eating over any minor inconvenience:) 

Jenna Eastman-

Jenna is a freshman at the University of Iowa studying History and Secondary Education on the Social Sciences track, but she switches what she wants to be when she grows up every other week so this will probably change. In her free time, Jenna likes to hang out with her friends, listen to music, watch Netflix, or scroll through Twitter while avoiding all her responsibilities. She is also on the never ending quest of finding the perfect Chai latte. She joined Mock Trial because she needed a competitive outlet and she’s been told she needs to stop starting arguments for fun. Plus the people are super nice!

Katie Hubeli-

Katie is a freshman majoring in environmental policy. In the future, she sees herself trying to help save our dying earth. Katie has never done mock trial before and her high school just got a mock trial program this year. She’s really mad about it because she would’ve done it but she’s glad she gets to for the next four years at Iowa! Katie likes politics, rain, to hang out with friends and family, to sleep, listen to music, and dance.

Maggie Harrison-

Maggie is a sophomore at the University of Iowa majoring in English and minoring in German. She is currently on the pre-law track and hopes to attend law school out East. She joined mock trial in hopes of getting better at public speaking and better understanding the trial process. When she's not working at her favorite place, Catlett Marketplace, she enjoys listening to classic rock, rewatching SNL sketches, and hanging out with friends.

Rachael McNerney-

Rachael McNerney is a freshmen from Des Moines, IA studying Ethics and Public Policy. This is her 8th year competing in mock trial. In her free time, Rachael enjoys taking baths, going to concerts, petting every cat she meets, and not thinking about mock trial. 

Tess Paxson-

Tess Paxson is a freshman at the University of Iowa and is majoring in Criminology, Law and Justice with a Pre-Law designation and a Political Science minor. She has been involved in Mock Trial since 7th grade and is thrilled to continue on a collegiate level. When not found at the law building, Tess is most likely hanging out with friends, napping, convincing her big sister to take her to Goodwill, eating kettle corn, or flexing on her kendama (look it up). Tess hopes to attend the University of Iowa College of Law and become a criminal prosecutor.

Zach Springer-

Zach is a freshman at the University of Iowa who is majoring in political science and economics. He spends most of his time hanging out with friends, playing sports, watching movies, and skiing. He was involved in 4 sports in high school, but baseball has always been his favorite. He’s an avid Cardinals and Parks and Rec fan, and he believes that LeBron is the best player to ever play the game.


Brianna Perez-

Brianna is a sophomore who is studying criminology, law, and justice on a Pre-Law track. Before joining the mock trial team she had never done mock trial before, but is really enjoying it. In her free time she enjoys playing tennis, hanging out with friends, and Netflix. She knows that this is completely unrelated, but doesn't know what else to write and thought ending with a fun fact was appropriateA fun fact about her is she is a quadruplet. 

Caroline Brown-

Caroline is a sophomore majoring in English. There was a point in her life when she didn’t do mock trial, but since that was before middle school, it doesn’t really count. She loves to read and write (shocking, given her major) and is currently struggling to find room for more books in her dorm. When she isn’t studying, working on mock trial, or trying to sneak a nap, she’s probably jamming to music, petting an animal, or daydreaming.

Danica Merrill-

Danica is a sophomore studying Creative Writing on the Publishing Track and Computer Science. She hopes to one day make a living from writing, editing, and publishing books. She is chilly all the time, likes power outages and poetry, and can’t stand the sound of people chewing. She thinks law is cool but not cool enough to go to law school, so mock trial is a safe alternative.

Liam Houlgrave-

Liam is a sophomore at the University of Iowa planning to study both Business Management and Physics. He spends most of his time watching hockey, but is also very interested in classic rock, space, and South Park. Liam has experience in both Track and Speech in high school. Liam joined Mock Trial because he loves to argue, is great at improvising, and is also considering studying law. He also needed a reason to dress up again.

Shaffer Kirschenmann-

Shaffer is a sophomore who is currently an Ethics & Public Policy major on the Pre-Law track. When she's not at Mock Trial, she loves laughing, napping, hanging out with friends, watching movies, and listening to music. Shaffer joined Mock Trial because she likes to argue, and to look good in a suit while doing so. If you want to be her friend, talk to her about Harry Potter or tell her a dad joke!


Elanna Neppel-

Elanna is a junior majoring in engineering and minoring in math. It is a mystery as to why she joined mock trial, but she is very glad she did. In her free time, she enjoys reading, watching tv shows, or accidentally procrastinating on something.

Ellen Wandro-

Ellen is a senior at the University of Iowa studying criminology, law, and justice for no apparent reason. In her free time, Ellen enjoys watching Netflix, drinking coffee, procrastinating very important tasks, giving love to stray cats, and pondering the meaning of life. She isn’t sure what she wants to be when she grows up yet, but it seems every day she finds another thing she doesn’t want to do. Ellen joined mock trial because her mom always told her it was amazing how she never ceased to get her way and because former president Abby Ayers pressured her to. Turns out, Abby was right, and mock trial is pretty neat.    

Michelle Kumar-

Michelle is currently a senior at the University of Iowa. She is pursuing a double major in International Studies and Ethics and Public Policy. Outside of mock trial, she loves pretending she can bake and getting emotionally attached to shows on Netflix. You're most likely to find her in the library color coding her planner and calling it a dayShe made the decision to join Mock Trial because she can't resist a good argument and stayed because the people are amazing.


Abby Hudock

Abby is a senior majoring in Microbiology and plans on attending medical school, with the hope of one day becoming a pediatrician. Hopefully, she’ll get to study abroad next year and finally figure out if those five years of Spanish were worth it. She joined mock trial because, according to her family, she loves to argue, and she figured she might as well channel that into something constructive. You can usually find her stressing out over a chemistry exam or hiding in a bookstore. Or both.
Delaney Cornforth-

Delaney is a pre-law senior majoring in Anthropology and International Studies with a human rights focus. She’s been in mock trial since seventh grade, and it’s always been a very important part of her life, so she decided to continue in college. A fun fact about Delaney is that she lived in Bolivia for a year and is fluent in Spanish. 
Serena Qamhieh-
Serena is a senior at the University of Iowa studying Political Science and Philosophy. Seeing law school in her future, Serena decided that Mock Trial would help enhance her public speaking and argumentation skills, all while giving her the chance to make new friends and become better aquatinted with the trial process. In her non existent free time, Serena enjoys reading as well as playing and listening to music. You may spot Serena frantically dashing across campus while most likely running late to her next class, meeting, or engagement.
Sophie Ortiz-

Sophie is senior who is majoring in underwater basket weaving because it's pretty much the only thing she's good at. That's code for "she's still trying to figure out how to be an adult". One of her favorite hobbies is going to the pet store and letting the cute puppies distract her from her responsibilities. Surprisingly, Sophie is pretty good at the steel drums, the harmonica, and soccer; she's still trying to find a way to do all three at the same time. Sophie has an obsession with the color purple, the number 134, and Dr. Seuss books. She joined mock trial so that she could figure out how to assimilate to normal people and also have an outlet for her tendencies to be overdramatic.
Tarentino Vacanti-

Tarentino is a senior who is studying Ethics and Public Policy, with a criminology minor.  Tarentino had no idea what Mock Trial was before coming to the University of Iowa, but he is very glad he discovered it and got involved.  Now, he enjoys cooking, hanging out with friends, and listening to live music.  Go follow Tarentino on twitter! @Taren_Vacanti

Assistant Coaches

Sam Kaplan-

Samantha graduated with a double major in elementary education and psychology and middle school endorsements in math and social studies. Now she teaches sixth grade at Solon Middle School. She likes basically everything your typical white girl would like - Starbucks, Netflix, shopping at Goodwill, and Instagramming all of the above. She also has a penchant for procrastination (ie this was due ten minutes ago). She joined mock trial because she needed an outlet for public speaking; apparently, talking aloud to oneself does not count.

Jake Huebener-

Jake competed for UIMT in 2013 - 2017. He graduated with a degree in Mathematics and earned his M.A.T. in Secondary Mathematics Education. He went to Ottumwa High School in southeast Iowa where he was first coached in public speaking by UIMT alumna Melissa Carpenter. Jake now teaches high school math in Muscatine, Iowa. In the small amount of free time that he finds, Jake loves to play piano and read anything that involves science-fiction or math. He is, what some people might call an "obsessive bibliophile" as he is always buying more books than he can possibly read. Besides making friends and traveling, Jake enjoys mock trial because it helps him build his public speaking and critical thinking skills so that he can be a great teacher. 

Andrew Elias-

Andrew is a law student and competed for UIMT for three years (2013-2016). He likes watching all sports (except baseball) and loves playing them too (including baseball) as well as the ESPN Fantasy variations of them (except baseball). An Iowa native, he comes from a big family and enjoys spending his time with them. He also likes watching classic movies, doing impersonations, working out, and playing video games. He lives by the phrase, “Rule #1: I’m number one.”

Shane McChurch-

Shane is a county prosecutor in Washington County and he formerly competed in UIMT. He's the type of guy who knows he's smarter than everyone, but he'll still be your friend and help you out. Shane is an excellent drummer in an awesome band that will someday help him pay off his loans. He also hopes to someday have his very own pet ostrich. Why? Because flightless birds need love too and penguins are overrated.