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Cadets take home trophy in ethics competition

U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. – Cadets at the Air Force Academy took the winning trophies at the University of Colorado Springs Ethics Case Competition, Nov. 2.

Cadet 2nd Class Austin Carlman and Cadet 1st Class Mikaela Pollack teamed-up to debate the ethics of a competition scenario pitting online privacy against profit. 

“The cadets had 10 minutes to present their position,” said Lt. Col. Joel Brown, Carlman and Pollack’s faculty adviser and a philosophy professor at the Academy. “Then they faced questions from a panel of judges from businesses across Colorado Springs.”   

Sixteen college teams competed in the annual event, designed to showcase the students’ business knowledge, critical thinking and ethical decision-making abilities.   The teams’ argue a fictional case, a “scenario involving a business and ethics dilemma,” Carlman said.    

“The teams prepare a solution to the case acting as consultants and ‘present’ in front of a panel of judges,” he said.   

The judges grade each team’s professionalism, presentation and solution and may question the teams for five minutes after their presentations.   

“The best team wins,” Carlman said.   Brown said the experience cadets get at these competitions enhances their professional growth.   

“They give cadets a chance to put everything they’ve learned at the Academy into action,” he said. “It gives them a preview of situations and issues they will face as officers and leaders,” he said. “They engage the cadets’ critical thinking, ethical values and presentation skills all at once. It’s an invaluable experience.”   

Carlman agreed.   

“These events allow us to demonstrate the skills we learn in a competitive environment,” he said. “Vital skills, such as thinking, speaking and writing,” he said. “It gives us an opportunity to see how our education [at the Academy] compares to other universities.”