University of Iowa Mock Trial


Current Members

Head Coach: Shane McChurch

Shane is an assistant county attorney in Washington County, Iowa and he formerly competed in UIMT. He enjoys being able to volunteer and impart legal knowledge and trial skills to the members of the program.

Executive Board 2020-2021


Brianna Perez:

Brianna is a junior 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. 

Vice President

Shaffer Kirschenmann:

Shaffer is a junior studying Ethics & Public Policy and International Studies. She joined Mock Trial because she likes to argue, and to look good in a suit while doing so. When she isn't doing stuff for UIMT, you can find her laughing, napping, listening to music, or teaching people how to pronounce her name. Shay-fer Ker-shen-man, by the way. :-)


Tess Paxson:

Tess Paxson is a sophomore 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.


Elanna Neppel:

Elanna is a senior 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.

Public Relations

Liam Houlgrave:

Liam is a junior at the University of Iowa studying both Business Management and Physics. He spends most of his time watching hockey, but is also loves music, working out, and watching South Park. Liam joined Mock Trial originally to see if he was into studying law, but stayed in because of all of the people in it and the opportunity to compete and act.


Reilly Aegesen:

I am a sophomore from Saylorville, IA (Des Moines area) and I am studying Criminology/Sociology and a possible minor in Rhetoric, while on the Pre Law track, and hope to one day attend either the law school here at Iowa or Drake Law School. I have experience in Mock Trial from middle and high school and it has always been a passion of mine because I've been told I'm good at arguing and also that I am a good speaker. I am excited to be doing mock trial again and I look forward to the next 3 years as a part of UIMT! 

Cassie Calkin-

Cassie is a Junior double-majoring in Criminology, Law, and Psychology at The University of Iowa. In her free time, she loves to spend time with her family and friends, write/read poetry, rollerblade, and play basketball or baseball with her brothers. She joined Mock Trial because she wants to build her public speaking skills and is also considering studying law. Plus, she has loved to argue with people since she was a little kid, hence, why everyone has always called her Sassy Cassie!

Anna Carter:

Gavin Cook:

Spencer Cooper-Ohm:

Spencer is a freshman majoring in Ethics & Public Policy on the Pre-Law track. He first joined Mock Trial six years ago because he enjoyed wearing a suit and kept doing it because making other middle schoolers cry during trial was fun. In his free time, he plays piano, yo-yos, and reads romance novels that are meant for middle-aged women.

Gabriella Kent:

I’m a junior at the University of Iowa majoring in criminology, law, and justice with the goal of going to law school. I have never done mock trial before, but I am excited to expand my knowledge and public speaking skills through this experience that I can put forth in my future. I’m one of those weird people that actually enjoy running and do so in my free time. I also love watching Netflix in my free time and have seen almost every movie. My friends and family are really important to me. Oh and I love listening and jamming to music.

Cora Murphy:

Samantha Murray:

Benjamin Naze:

Sabrina Lacy:

Ainsley Shird:

Lane Shirrell:

Brandt Swallow:

Alexander Underwood:

Hey, my name’s Alex and I’m new to mock trial this year. I’m a Junior at the University of Iowa and I’m majoring in Civil Engineering with a minor in Spanish. I love sports, having played basketball for 8 years, baseball for 7 years, track for 3 years, and football for 12 years prior to college. However, not being good enough at any of them to play at Iowa, I needed to find a new way to compete, and so mock trial was the answer. I spend a lot of my free time either listening to music, watching movies, or very poorly playing the piano.

Ben Wootton:

My name is Ben Wootton. I'm majoring in Psychology and minoring in German. I have never done Mock Trial before but I am interested in going to law school. I plan to pursue a career in international corporate law or criminal defense law. In my free time, I enjoy reading, writing, hiking, watching movies, and listening to the Doors.


Jenna Eastman:

Jenna is a sophomore studying History and Secondary Education on the Social Sciences track along with minoring in religious studies. In her free time, Jenna likes to hang out with her friends, listen to music, thrift, 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 the best way to spend a weekend is obviously in a suit pretending to be a lawyer.

Maggie Harrison:

Maggie is a junior 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.

Katie Hubeli:

Katie is a sophomore at Iowa, beginning her second year as a member of mock trial. She is studying Ethics and Public Policy with a minor in Writing and a certificate in Sustainability. She wants to do her part in helping the environment. Katie loves music, politics, shopping, horror movies, rain, and her dog Molly! 

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:) 

Rachael McNerney:

Rachael McNerney is a sophomore 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. 


Faith Benson:

Thomas Finn:

Thomas is a senior at the University of Iowa studying History, but is from St. Louis. He is planning on going into Law school. Thomas spends his free time playing Among Us with the boys, watching Love Island, or listening to Kanye West. Often referred to as Tommy or Mac, Thomas is well known for captivating judges with his signature southwestern witnesses. Thomas is in Mock Trial because he is interested in Law, but mainly because he needed an activity to satisfy his need for drama. Thomas is an avid Battlehawks fan, but also loves supporting his Cardinals, Raptors, and Broncos; as well as being the owner of the Fighting Farquaads.


Assistant Coaches

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. 

Michelle Kumar:

Michelle competed for UIMT from 2017 to 2020. She graduated with a double major in International Studies and Ethics and Public Policy. Now she is working with Iowa Legal Aid through AmeriCorps. 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.

Serena Qamhieh:
Serena is a law student at the University of Iowa and competed from 2017 to 2020. She knew law school was in her future and 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. She is very happy that now all of her classes are in one building, thanks law school!

Ellen Wandro:

Ellen competed for UIMT from 2017 to 2020 and recently graduated with a degree in Criminology, Law, and Justice as well as a minor in sociology. Ellen is currently working full time for the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in the Patient Financial Services department and as a medical record abstractor at a local law firm. Ellen is passionate about helping others and is excited about making sure the UIMT members have the same fun and impactful experience that she had while growing in the program.