STEM Debate at Zespri

The last debate of the STEM Debate Series, sponsored by Zespri International, was held on Monday at Zespri’s shiny new headquarters in Mount Maunganui. Zespri were our hosts for the evening and had arranged a ‘Presidential-style’ debate which saw two teams of four pitted against each other in 8 rounds of questions. Teams took turns in responding to the range of questions, all themed around the central topic of whether we should be focussing on encouring more women into STEM, or advocating for more diversity in general. At the end of each question round, the audience voted for their winning answer, with all scores being added up to find a winning team of the evening.

The debate was held in front of an intimate audience, who enjoyed the informal atmosphere and banter between teams and MCs. The team members came from a variety of STEM and non-STEM related backgrounds, including two young adults from Youth Search and Rescue.

There were many memorable moments from the night, including:

* Mike offering clips from the Big Bang Theory as evidence of a bias in media

* Luke warning us that he is not to be trusted in a position of responsibility, particularly involving health and safety

* Stacey’s chocolate cake recipe with secret ingredients, and

* Juliet’s mic drop to end the night.

Although the last round was a tie, Team 2 were the overall winners of the night, arguing for the ‘encouraging more women into STEM’ side of the argument.

Many thanks to our hosts for their generosity, our wonderful MCs Hiraina and Dan, and the team members for their enthusiastic participation. It was a fun night to end our debate series on.