Gaffney Award

The Women’s Debate Institute has created the Megan Gaffney Community Development Award in honor of her contribution to community building and her commitment to gender equality in debate.

Megan attended the WDI in the summer of 2013.  She was kind and loving, and empathetic to a fault.   Her desire to positively impact the debate community translated into activism; when she passed she was in the midst of a campaign to raise awareness about sexual assault and the lack of respect for diversity in the debate community.  Those who had the opportunity to engage with her at the WDI remember her incredible laugh, positive attitude and fun spirit.  She is sorely missed.

Friends and family of Megan have donated to the WDI in her name, and we have used those funds to establish a fellowship in her honor.  Each year we will select a WDI debater (or two, as happened in 2014!), nominated by their peers, to receive this award. In addition to a scholarship for college, the Gaffney Awardee will be invited back to WDI in the following year (all expenses paid) to help our staff with community building activities during camp. This fellowship, which will continue indefinitely, celebrates the vibrant love for debate and inclusion Megan embodied.

Gaffney Awardees

Victoria Brown
2014
Victoria Brown – Columbia, MD Victoria is a senior attending Atholton High School. Victoria has had a great first semester and hopes to end the season strong. Always sporting a positive attitude, Victoria helped foster a safe and comfortable community environment at WDI. Her nomination read: “The effort Victoria puts into debate is amazing and she deserves to be recognized for it. She stepped up and did the demo-debate [at camp] and went out of her way to make new friends and make people feel accepted.”
Shifra David
2014
Shifra David – Frisco, TX Shifra is a senior attending Wakeland High School. She has been involved in debate for several years and is a returning WDI attendee. Those close to her say she is kind and caring, always making sure everyone is included. Shifra’s nomination read: “I choose Shifra because she is a hard working, dedicated and well-rounded individual. She balances school, debate, and a job. She is a great role model and has a love for debate that is inspiring.”