USA Debate

About USA Debate

Since 2013, the National Speech & Debate Association has assumed responsibility for the USA Debate Team, choosing the best debaters in the country to represent the United States in international competition.

Twelve students have been selected to represent the prestigious 2020-2021 USA Debate Team. In addition, 15 students have been selected to the USA Debate Development Team. This group of students will train and practice with USA Debate coaches and alumni to learn more about World Schools Debate. To be eligible for the USA Debate Team, students must be members of the National Speech & Debate Association and complete a rigorous application process. 

USA Debate Logo

Team Administration

Team USA features a highly accomplished and dedicated coaching staff. These coaches have deep roots in the content and style of World Schools Debate and work with the team to acclimate the debaters to the event.

The mission of USA Debate is to join the global promotion of free and civil discourse, foster international cooperation and education, as well as demonstrate competitive excellence and national pride.

Questions about USA Debate? Please contact info@speechanddebate.org.

More Information

The USA Debate Team represents the diversity of our nation. The National Speech & Debate Association wants to ensure all students have full access to the opportunities available as they compete for USA Debate, without being limited by individual economic circumstances. Thanks to a variety of supporters like you, the students on the team are given the educational experience of a lifetime. Your tax-deductible gift allows the U.S. to continue to showcase the best and brightest young people to the rest of the world.

If you or your company would like more information about becoming an official sponsor of USA Debate, please contact us.

Sponsorship levels include:2016-IMG-USA-Debate-Logo

  • Competition supplies and materials for one debater
  • Training sessions with the USA Debate coaches
  • International competition for one student on the team
  • World Championship for one student on the team
  • International competition for entire USA Debate Team
  • World Championship season for entire USA Debate Team

Donate

Apply to be a Member of the USA Debate Team 2020-2021

Eligible applicants are citizens (dual citizenship acceptable) or students who have obtained permanent residence status for a minimum of two years. Per WSDC rules, all applicants must be current residents of the United States who will be attending a secondary diploma-granting institution, are no younger than 14 years of age, and have not reached their 20th birthday in July 2021. Candidates must also be current and active student members of the NSDA at an active member school.

April 15 – Stage One application opens 
Students submit required data using an online form, upload coach/administrator recommendations, and record a video on the motion provided below. (Click here for a preview of the Stage One questions you will be required to answer in the online application.)

Stage One Video Task
Please upload a speech of no more than four minutes (including intro/framing/ONE argument/conclusion) responding to the motion: This House would require classes moved online during a time of crisis to be graded on a pass/fail system. Students may choose side Proposition or Opposition. The argument may be one that would be presented in either the first or second speech.(Click here for helpful tips about creating an unlisted YouTube video.

June 1 – Stage One application deadline. The online form closed at 11:59 p.m. CT.

June 24 – Auto-qualifiers in WS, USX, IX, Congress, LD, PF, and Policy are invited to apply as part of Stage One. No video task is required for auto-qualifiers. However, they must upload coach/administrator recommendations as part of the application. Click here for a preview of the Stage One questions you will be required to answer in the online application. (Note: The link to the online application form will be emailed to eligible auto-qualifiers.)

June 29 – Stage One auto-qualifier application deadline. The online form closes at 11:59 p.m. CT.

July 6 – Stage Two applicants announced

July 16 – Stage Two video task deadline

July 30 – Stage Three applicants announced

August 6 – Stage Three video task deadline

August 17 – Finalists announced

August 19-23 – Interviews for national team applicants

August 27 – USA Debate national team announced

September 15 – USA Debate members arrive in Dallas for training at Greenhill

Please email info@speechanddebate.org with specific questions.

2018-2019

Coaches: Aaron and Cindi Timmons
Team Manager: Cindi Timmons

Team Members: Ishan Bhatt, Michael Bole, Maddie Butler, Anh Cao, Elyse Dewbre, Emily Grantham, Jack Johnson, Ranen Miao, Leila Saklou, Liana Schmitter-Emerson, Luke Tillitski, Brian Zhou

Greenhill – Dallas, TX

1st Place – Brian Zhou, Ishan Bhatt, Anh Cao
2nd Place – Leila Saklou, Luke Tillitski, Jack Johnson
Speaker Awards

  • 1st Place – Ranen Miao
  • 2nd Place – Ishan Bhatt

Cornell University – Ithaca, New York

1st Place – Anh Cao, Ranen Miao, Liana Schmitter-Emerson
3rd Place – Michael Bole, Maddie Butler, Elyse Dewbre, Luke Tillitski (hit USA Team in semis)
Speaker Awards

  • 1st Place – Anh Cao
  • 2nd Place – Ranen Miao
  • 3rd Place – Michael Bole
  • 5th Place – Liana Schmitter-Emerson

EurOpen – Stuttgart, Germany

2nd Place – Leila Saklou, Michael Bole, Luke Tillitski, Brian Zhou
3rd Place – Emily Grantham, Ishan Bhatt, Ranen Miao, Jack Johnson
Speaker Awards

  • 1st Place – Leila Saklou
  • 2nd Place – Luke Tillitski
  • 5th Place – Brian Zhou
  • 8th Place – Emily Grantham

Winter Holiday Open – Zagreb, Croatia

2nd Place – Leila Saklou, Michael Bole, Elyse Dewbre, Anh Cao
3rd Place – Emily Grantham, Ishan Bhatt, Maddie Butler, Liana Schmitter-Emerson
Speaker Awards

  • 3rd Place – Leila Saklou

Harvard-Westlake – Los Angeles, California

Close-Out Finals

  • Michael Bole, Ranen Miao, Brian Zhou, and Maddie Butler
  • Anh Cao, Elyse Dewbre, and Liana Schmitter-Emerson

Speaker Awards

  • 1st Place – Liana Schmitter-Emerson
  • 2nd Place – Anh Cao
  • 3rd Place – Elyse Dewbre

Harvard World Schools Invitational – Cambridge, Massachusetts

2nd Place – Emily Grantham, Luke Tillitski, Elyse Dewbre, Liana Schmitter-Emerson (advanced over USA Team in semis)
3rd Place – Michael Bole, Brian Zhou, Jack Johnson, Ranen Miao
Quarters – Leila Saklou, Ishan Bhatt, Anh Cao
Speaker Awards

  • 1st Place – Liana Schmitter-Emerson
  • 3rd Place – Emily Grantham
  • 5th Place – Ishan Bhatt
  • 14th Place – Leila Saklou
  • 16th Place – Anh Cao
  • 18th Place – Luke Tillitski
  • 19th Place – Jack Johnson

World Schools Debating Championships – Bangkok, Thailand

5th Place – Ishan Bhatt, Anh Cao, Emily Grantham, Leila Saklou (captain), Luke Tillitski (2nd seed, advanced to Quarters)
Speaker Awards

  • 5th Place – Ishan Bhatt
  • 9th Place – Anh Cao
  • 11th Place – Luke Tillitski

Assistant Coach: Danny DeBois

2017-2018

Coaches: Aaron and Cindi Timmons
Team Manager: Cindi Timmons

Team Members: Shreya Agarwala, Shreyoshi Das, Piper Doyle, Emily Grantham, Ranen Miao, Ella Michaels, Nikhil Ramaswamy, Leila Saklou, Brian Zhou

Alfred “Tuna” Snider World Schools Debate Tournament – Cornell University – Ithaca, New York

1st Place – Shreyoshi Das, Ranen Miao, Leila Saklou
2nd Place – Piper Doyle, Emily Grantham, Nikhil Ramaswamy
Speaker Awards

  • 1st Place – Ranen Miao

EurOpen – Stuttgart, Germany

1st Place – Piper Doyle, Emily Grantham, Ella Michaels
3rd Place – Shreyoshi Das, Ranen Miao, Leila Saklou

Winter Holiday Open – Zagreb, Croatia

Quarters – Shreyoshi Das, Shreya Agarwala, Nikhil Ramaswamy
Quarters – Emily Grantham, Leila Saklou, Brian Zhou

International World Schools Debate Tournament – Ljutomer, Slovenia

1st Place – Ella Michaels, Nikhil Ramaswamy, Ranen Miao
Quarters – Piper Doyle, Shreya Agarwala, Brian Zhou
Speaker Awards

  • 1st Place – Nikhil Ramaswamy
  • 2nd Place – Ella Michaels
Harvard World Schools Invitational, Cambridge, Massachusettes

Quarters – Shreya Agarwala, Emily Grantham, Ranen Miao, Brian Zhou
Octos – Ella Michaels, Shreyoshi Das, Piper Doyle, Nikhil Ramaswamy, Leila Saklou

World Schools Debating Championships – Zagreb, Croatia

6th Place – Ella Michaels (captain), Shreyoshi Das, Nikhil Ramaswamy, Emily Grantham, Leila Saklou
Speaker Awards

  • 12th Place – Ella Michaels

Assistant Coaches: Danny DeBois and Aditya Dyar

2015-2016

Coaches: Aaron and Cindi Timmons
Team Manager: Cindi Timmons

Team Members: Milan Amritraj, Nik Angelopoulos, Sonya Huang, Amit Kukreja, Julia Lauer, Josh May, Nikhil Ramaswamy, Liz Yount, Matthew Zheng

Winter Holiday Open – Zagreb, Croatia

1st Place – Milan Amritraj, Josh May, Liz Yount
3rd Place – Nik Angelopoulos, Amit Kukreja, Julia Lauer

International World Schools Debate Tournament – Ljutomer, Slovenia

2nd Place – Nik Angelopoulos, Amit Kukreja, Julia Lauer
3rd Place – Milan Amritraj, Josh May, Liz Yount

World Schools Debating Championships – Stuttgart, Germany

Milan Amritraj (Captain), Sonja Huang, Amit Kukreja, Josh May, Liz Yount

2014-2015

Coaches: Aaron and Cindi Timmons
Team Manager: Cindi Timmons

Team Members: Milan Amritraj, Nik Angelopoulos, Sara Evall, Nicky Halterman, Jane Irons, Abigail, Marone, Mitali Mathur, Tiana Menon, Amelia Miller, Jasper Primack, SunHee Simon, Matthew Zheng

EurOpen – Stuttgart, Germany

Quarters – Milan Amritraj, Nik Angelopoulos, Nicky Halterman, Abby Marone
Quarters – Mitali Mathur, Jasper Primack, SunHee Simon, Matthew Zheng

International World Schools Debate Tournament – Ljutomer, Slovenia

1st Place – Nicky Halterman, Jasper Primack, SunHee Simon
2nd Place – Milan Amritraj, Nik Angelopoulos, Sara Evall

World Schools Debating Championships – Singapore

10th Place – Nicky Halterman (Captain), Nik Angelopoulos, Mitali Mathur, Jasper Primack, SunHee Simon
Speaker Awards

  • 6th Place – Nicky Halterman

2013-2014

Coaches: Aaron and Cindi Timmons
Team Manager: Cindi Timmons

Team Members: Nik Angelopoulos, Danny DeBois, Sara Evall, Daniel Garrison, Shania Hunt, Jane Irons, Tiana Menon, Amelia Miller, Lily Nellans

International World Schools Debate Tournament – Ljutomer, Slovenia

1st Place – Danny DeBois, Sara Evall, Amelia Miller
2nd Place – Nik Angelopoulos, Daniel Garrison, Jane Irons
Speaker Awards

  • 1st Place – Jane Irons
World Schools Debate Academy

1st Place – Danny DeBois, Sara Evall, Tiana Menon
Speaker Awards

  • 1st Place – Danny DeBois
World Schools Debating Championships – Bangkok, Thailand

Nik Angelopoulos, Daniel Garrison, Mitali Mathur, Tiana Menon

2019-2020 Calendar – National Team

September 2019
  • 12-15 – Greenhill – Dallas, Texas (mandatory training)
October 2019
  • 18-20 – Harvard University – Cambridge, Massachusetts
November 2019
  • 12-20 – EurOpen – Stuttgart, Germany
December 2019
  • 11-16 – Winter Holiday Open – Zagreb, Croatia
January
  • 16-20 – Harvard-Westlake – Los Angeles, California
  • 26-February 3 – Taiwan/Singapore
March
  • 5-9 – Harvard World Schools Tournament – Cambridge, Massachusetts
April
  • TBD
May
  • TBD
June
  • 14-21 – National Speech & Debate Tournament – Albuquerque, New Mexico
July
  • 4-11 – Training for the World Schools Debating Championships – Colorado Springs, Colorado
  • 17-31 – World Schools Debating Championships – Mexico City, Mexico

For the latest updates, follow #usadebate on Twitter.

The Lanier Law Firm

Thank You!

The Lanier Law Firm is an official sponsor of the USA Debate Team.

Thank You to Our Generous Supporters

Spark Investment Management LLC
The Kettles Law Firm

Tom Rollins

Simon Greenstone Panatier Bartlett, PC

Ziziki's

Thank You!

Throughout the school year, The Blake School (Minnesota), Greenhill School (Texas), Harvard-Westlake School (California), Taipei American School (Taiwan), and Holy Cross School (Louisiana) provide invaluable training opportunities for the USA Debate Team. Thank you for your support!

2020-2021 National Team

Genevieve Cox

Genevieve Cox

Senior – W.B. Ray High School – Texas

Genevieve is a returning member of the USA Debate Team as well as the President of her team at Ray. This is her 7th year competing in Congressional Debate and Extemporaneous Speaking. In Congressional Debate as a Freshman she placed 8th at Blue Key, 2nd at UT and broke to Semi-Finals at the TOC. As a Sophomore she finaled at Yale and Emory, placed 6th at Blue Key as well as the NCFL Grand Nationals and the Senate at the NSDA Nationals. As a Junior she championed the Glenbrooks and Harvard tournament, was the runner up for the TOC, and placed second at the TFA State Tournament. She has 30 lifetime TOC bids. She has also been playing piano since she was 2 years old, having performed in Carnegie Hall 6 times. In her spare time she enjoys drinking boba and watching detective documentaries. She feels incredibly honored for this opportunity to represent her country on the USA Debate Team.

Cameron Kettles

Cameron Kettles

Junior – Greenhill School – Texas

Cameron has been involved in debate for six years, competing primarily in World Schools Debate. As a member of the 2019-2020 USA Debate Development Team, she co-championed the Delores Taylor Arthur School World Schools Invitational and reached quarterfinals at European, Greenhill, and Blake. Her freshman year, she championed Hockaday and Isidore Newman and placed third at the TFA State Tournament. She was also ranked 5th speaker at the 2019 NSDA National Tournament in World Schools. As a sophomore, she championed the NSDA National Tournament in World Schools with her district/school team, the University of Texas Tournament, Jesuit, and placed second at the Harvard-Westlake Tournament where she was also the top speaker. Outside debate, she serves as the content editor of her school paper, The Evergreen, and is an active member of her school’s Project Dialogue Club and Political Action Club. In her free time, she enjoys bike riding, backpacking in the Texas deserts, drinking coffee, and playing with her dog, Blue. Cameron is excited for an amazing year with USA Debate!

Jason Luo

Jason Luo

Senior – Westlake High School – Texas

Jason has been involved in speech and debate at Westlake High School since his freshman year, competing primarily in Public Forum Debate. In his three years of competition, he’s qualified for and broken at TFA State, NSDAs, and the TOC, finaling at the most recent Tournament of Champions, finishing as the top speaker at the Harvard National Forensics Tournament, and reaching late outrounds at many other competitive national tournaments. Beyond competition, he cares deeply about accessibility in debate and has created numerous educational resources and run multiple free debate camps designed to promote a more inclusive model of debate. Outside of debate, he works with various political campaigns around Texas, has been involved in various non-profits providing assistance to populations heavily impacted by the Covid-19 Pandemic, and volunteers at the Children’s Association for Maximum Potential to support individuals with special needs. In his free time, Jason enjoys playing video games, writing short stories, and eating soup noodles. He’s very excited for a phenomenal year with the USA Debate team.

Kaitlyn Maher

Kaitlyn Maher

Senior – The Potomac School – Virginia

Kaitlyn has competed in debate her entire high school career, primarily in Congressional Debate and World Schools. She captains her school’s speech and debate team. In Congressional Debate, Kaitlyn placed 3rd at the 2020 Tournament of Champions and has made numerous semifinal and final rounds at Harvard, Yale, Emory, Princeton, Durham, Bronx, NSDA Nationals in the Senate, and more. Kaitlyn competed on behalf of the USA Debate Development Team for two years, during which she won first place and top speaker at the Delores Taylor Arthur Invitational, championed the Bluebonnet Invitational, and finaled at the Blake Tournament. In her junior summer, Kaitlyn was awarded a U.S. State Department National Security Fellowship to study Mandarin in China. She also sings and acts professionally. Since becoming the Youngest Top 10 Finalist on America’s Got Talent at age four, Kaitlyn has performed for presidents, toured internationally, and starred in numerous feature films, TV shows, and national commercials. She serves as an Artist Ambassador for Compassion International, an organization which aims to combat global child poverty. In her free time, she enjoys traveling with family, volunteering at her church, dabbling in other languages (currently Arabic), writing music, having spontaneous dance parties, and scouting out restaurants that serve escargot. Kaitlyn feels tremendously grateful and excited to compete with Team USA this year!

Johnathan May

Jonathan May

Senior – Palisade High School – Colorado

Jonathan is entering his senior year of speech and debate as co-captain of his school team, competing primarily in Extemporaneous Speaking and World Schools Debate. Most notably, he placed 17th at the 2019 NSDA National Tournament in World Schools, finished in the top 8 of the Harvard-Westlake Debates, and was a finalist at the CHSAA State Tournament in Domestic Extemp. Additionally, Jonathan competed on behalf of the USA Debate Development Team for the 2019-2020 season. While debating with the Development Team, he was a member of the top finishing American team at the 2020 Bluebonnet International World Schools Invitational, co-championed the 2019 Delores Taylor Arthur International World Schools Invitational while simultaneously placing 5th speaker, and reached the quarterfinal round of the Blake Tournament. When he is not debating, Jonathan is an avid cellist, and has performed as the principal cellist of various multi-state and national orchestras. In addition to performance, he leads community outreach efforts that provide after-school music education to elementary schoolers in his area. In his spare time, he can be found skiing, hiking, or watching Parks and Recreation. He is looking forward to an incredible year with USA Debate!

 

Guyberson Pierre

Guyberson Pierre

Senior — A.W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts — Florida

Guyberson has been involved in forensics since his freshman year, competing in Congressional Debate and World Schools Debate. He currently serves as co-debate captain of his school’s speech and debate team. In Congress, Guyberson has championed The Tradition at Cypress Bay and has made final rounds at Nova Titan, Florida Blue Key, Sunvitational, Harvard, NCFL Nationals, and NSDA Nationals, among others. In World Schools, Guyberson championed the Florida State Tournament and received 3rd at the 2020 NSDA National Tournament with his district team. Outside of debate, Guyberson leads his county’s Youth in Government delegation, works on the business section of his school’s nationally-recognized yearbook, is an officer for Class Council, and studies Latin—even placing at regional competitions. Additionally, Guyberson has attended legislative recaps with elected officials in his local community and is an ambassador for When We All Vote where he helps to register voters. In his free time, he loves listening to music, drinking boba, and spending time with friends and family. He is incredibly honored to represent his country and is looking forward to an amazing year with Team USA

Ria Raj

Ria Raj

Senior – Laurel Upper School – Ohio

Ria has been involved in speech and debate since her sophomore year, participating in International Extemporaneous Speech and World Schools Debate. In Extemp, she was a quarterfinalist at George Mason University, finalist at Bethel Park and earned a bid to the Tournament of Champions. In 2020, Ria was a four-time local tournament champion earning the highest number of bids in Cleveland for International Extemp. In Ohio, she was a state quarterfinalist and alternate to nationals her novice year and a state semifinalist in 2020. Ria earned a position on Cleveland’s World Schools Debate team, winning international runner-up at the 2020 NSDA National Tournament. Outside of speech and debate, Ria serves as her school’s Diversity Fellows co-chair, senior class secretary, and on the Model United Nations leadership board. She focuses her time most heavily on social justice reform, as content-editor of the Laurel Political Review, Asian culture society president and co-founder of her school’s March for Our Lives chapter. Additionally, Ria conducted a three-year research project on political awareness levels in high schoolers and independently wrote a current event curriculum. Ria has volunteered her time teaching English at Us Together, a refugee resettlement agency and tutoring students in reading at Citizens Leadership Academy, an inner-city school for lower-income families. In her free time, she loves dancing, listening to music, playing instruments, reading the news and traveling with her family. Ria is excited for an amazing year with USA Debate!

 

Liana Schmitter-Emerson

Senior – Campbell Hall – California

Liana is returning for her third year with USA Debate and has been involved in speech and debate at Campbell Hall Episcopal for five years, primarily competing in World Schools Debate, Congressional Debate, Public Forum Debate, and Extemporaneous Speaking. During her freshman year, Liana also competed as a member of the USA Debate Development Team. Her competitive accomplishments in World Schools Debate include reaching octofinals of the 2020 World Schools Debating Championships, finals at the European Open (placing as third speaker), semifinals at the Winter Holiday Open in Zagreb, championing the Harvard World Schools Tournament (placing as top speaker), championing the Alfred Tuna Snider World Schools Tournament, and championing the Harvard Westlake World Schools Tournament twice, in addition to others. In addition to serving as captain of her school team, she is a three time qualifier for CHSSA State and the NSDA National tournament, where she reached finals in Public Forum Debate in 2020 and finals in Congressional Debate in 2019. Outside of debate, Liana serves on her school’s Academic Honor Board, volunteers as a tutor for students experiencing homelessness, and enjoys spending time with friends and family. She is incredibly grateful to be working with USA Debate again this year!

 

Ashley Shan

Ashley Shan

Junior – Greenhill School – Texas

Ashley has been involved in speech and debate since her freshman year, primarily competing in World Schools Debate. As a sophomore, she placed first in World Schools at NSDA Nationals, second at Harvard-Westlake, reached quarters at Greenhill and Blake, and placed 5th at TFA State. Outside of debate, Ashley is the president of her school’s East Asian Affinity Group, Model United Nations team, Project Dialogue Club, and Political Action Club, as well as an avid photographer and musician, playing violin, viola, drums, and guitar. When she isn’t debating, Ashley enjoys writing articles, participating as a representative of the Dallas Youth Commission and Human Rights Commission, and volunteering as a judge at local middle school tournaments to encourage youth advocacy. In her free time, Ashley enjoys exploring local cafés, curating playlists for every occasion, and spending time with family. Ashley is incredibly honored to represent the United States in the activity that has given her a voice and is looking forward to a great year with Team USA!

Rodrigo Trujillo

Rodrigo Trujillo

Senior – Alief Elsik HS – Texas

Rodrigo is a senior at Alief Elsik High School where he is the President of the Speech and Debate team. Though he’s competed in almost every debate event, he found himself particularly interested  in Worlds School Debate and Extemporaneous Speaking. Competing in Worlds School, Rodrigo has made it to Semi-finals of the TFA State tournament as a Junior, Quarter-finals of UT Longhorn Classic, and placed first in the CASE Houston City Championship. In 2020, Rodrigo competed at TFA State and NSDA Nationals in Domestic Extemp and Worlds School Debate. Outside of the world of debate, Rodrigo works with the Houston City Council to organize rallies for the youth. In his free time, Rodrigo enjoys ramen, watching multiple animes at a time, listening to music and the ‘Philosophize this!’ podcast. He is incredibly honored to be a part of such a phenomenal team and is excited for a great year!

Miles Wang

Miles Wang

Junior – A.W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts – Florida

Miles is a returning member of the USA Debate team and competes in World Schools Debate and Congressional Debate. In World Schools Debate, Miles placed 3rd at the Winter Holiday Open in Zagreb (8th individual speaker), 1st at the Harvard-Westlake World Schools tournament, 2nd at the Greenhill Fall Classic, as well as reaching elimination rounds at Harvard and VWSDC. As a sophomore, he led teams to 1st place at the Florida Varsity State Tournament and 3rd at NSDA Nationals (having received 3rd the year prior). In Congressional Debate, he  placed 3rd at the Florida Blue Key Invitational (finaling the previous year) among reaching other out rounds. Miles also serves as co-debate captain of his school’s speech and debate team. Outside of debate, he is a co-president of Artists Reaching to Society (ARTS) Club, an editor on his school’s newsmagazine The Muse, on the officer boards of Mu Alpha Theta and Key Club, and a student attorney at PBC Youth Court. In his free time, Miles enjoys reading science fiction books, listening to music, and spending time with family and friends. He is looking forward to the upcoming year with Team USA!

Abbey Xu

Junior – St. Paul’s School – New Hampshire

Abbey is a returning member of USA Debate and she has been actively participating in speech and debate since 6th grade, competing in primarily World Schools and Public Forum. In World Schools, she was a grand finalist at NSDA Nationals as a freshman in 2019, an octo-finalist at Prague Spring in the Czech Republic and a quarter-finalist at AWSDC 2019 held in Thailand. Abbey championed the World Schools division at Harvard-Westlake and at the Greenhill Fall Classic. She also broke into quarters at the Winter Holiday Open 2019 and ranked 6th as an individual speaker. Outside of debate, Abbey is a member of her school’s varsity volleyball team and leads the Justice and Social Equality for Asians club. Abbey enjoys volunteering as a judge and instructor at youth tournaments to reach out to her local debate community. In her free time, she enjoys exploring cities, trying cool food and finding new R&B artists to listen to. She is excited for another great year with USA Debate!

Leadership Team

Aaron Timmons

Aaron Timmons

Co-Head Coach from Greenhill School in Addison, Texas

Aaron Timmons is the Director of Debate at Greenhill School in Addison, Texas. He is a lifelong educator and in 2000 was named one of the “top debate coaches of the 20th century” by the National Speech & Debate Association. Aaron has coached multiple state and national champions in both Lincoln-Douglas and Policy Debate, in addition to a National Public Policy Forum Champion. Aaron is one of three coaches with champions in Lincoln-Douglas and Policy Debate and is the only coach in history to have multiple winners in each event. He has taught and/or directed debate workshops and trainings at Harvard University, Stanford University, Northwestern University, and the University of North Texas, among others. Aaron is also the co-founder of the Global Debate Symposium, held at Colorado College in Colorado Springs. He is a member of the National Speech & Debate Association Hall of Fame, Tournament of Champions, and the Texas Forensic Association.

Cynthia Timmons

Cynthia Timmons

Team Manager and Co-Head Coach from Greenhill School in Addison, Texas

Cynthia Timmons lives in Dallas, Texas, and has been involved in debate for more than 40 years. Retired from 30 years in public schools where she coached dozens of national and state champions while winning numerous coaching awards, she has also served the speech and debate community in national and state leadership positions, in professional development training, and in summer institute work. In addition to serving as Co-Head Coach, Cindi is also the Team Manager. She is a member of the National Speech & Debate Association Hall of Fame as well as the Texas Forensic Association Hall of Fame. She is actively engaged in promoting the cause of women in debate and teacher professional development. Internationally, Cindi is an elected board member of WSDC, Ltd. and a two-term member of the WSDC Tournament Executive Committee. She has also served the international community on the Motions Committee for 2015. Having previously hosted three National Speech & Debate Tournaments in Dallas, she is preparing to host the best of the United States again in 2019. In her spare time, she loves reading and writing. Most importantly, she is a wife and the mother of two.

Read “Exploring Cultural Competence in the World Schools Debate Community” by USA Debate Team Manager and Co-Head Coach Cindi Timmons

Dr. Sandra Berkowitz

Dr. Sandra J. Berkowitz

Assistant Coach from The Blake School in Minneapolis, Minnesota

Sandy Berkowitz is an Assistant Debate Coach at The Blake School in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She has also been a college professor of Communication Studies, where her research interests include the connections between debate and critical thinking, gender and social practices, and critical cultural discourses. Sandy has coached for more than 30 years and is a recipient of the 2015 Minnesota Coach of the Year Award. She has coached at both the high school and college levels and has had award-winning students in Public Forum, Policy, Lincoln-Douglas, and Congressional Debate, as well as Oratory, Extemporaneous Speaking, Informative, and Rhetorical Criticism. Sandy has taught and/or directed at several summer workshops including those at Harvard, Dartmouth, the University of Southern California, and Wayne State University.

R. Shane Stafford

Shane Stafford

Assistant Coach from The Blake School in Minneapolis, Minnesota

Shane Stafford is the Director of Debate at The Blake School in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He has coached for more than 30 years in all debate and speech events with multiple national and state champions and finalists in Public Forum, Policy, Lincoln-Douglas, and Congressional Debate as well as Oratory and Extemporaneous Speaking. Shane is the recipient of many awards, including the 2015 Minnesota Coach of the Year. Shane has coached at both the high school and university levels of competitive debate. He has taught and/or directed at several summer workshops, including those at Harvard, Dartmouth, Georgetown, and the University of Southern California.

In Memoriam

Dr. Alfred “Tuna” Snider In Memoriam

Dr. Alfred “Tuna” Snider

Former Coach from the University of Vermont in Burlington, Vermont

Dr. Snider was the Edwin W. Lawrence Professor of Forensics at the University of Vermont. He had degrees from Brown University, Emerson College, and the University of Kansas. He taught courses in debate, argumentation, persuasion, and rhetorical analysis. He was the Director of the World Debate Institute and the Lawrence Debate Union. Dr. Snider conducted formal debate training in more than 40 countries and trained debaters from more than 55 nations. Dr. Snider published six books on debating in the last seven years and during his career edited or wrote more than 50 volumes about debating and for debaters.

USA Debate Alumni

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USA Debate Alumni – Class of 2020

Cassandra Berlin

Cassandra Berlin

Hawken upper School - Ohio

Cassandra has been involved in speech and debate since her freshman year and currently serves as a team officer, looking to expand the team’s community outreach through volunteerism. Cassandra has competed in five different events, but primarily competes in Congressional Debate. In Congressional Debate, she was a semifinalist at the Tournament of Champions and Harvard and a finalist at Emory. Cassandra has won several tournaments in Ohio and placed in the top ten at Ohio’s State tournament as both a sophomore and junior. Cassandra championed the 2019 NSDA National Tournament in World Schools Debate with her district team and was ranked as the 21st speaker at the tournament. Outside of debate, Cassandra serves on her school’s Senate and leads the Finance Club. She tutors at a local after school community center and has become involved with the nonprofit Teaching Cleveland, which inspires community and political engagement. In her free time, Cassandra enjoys practicing yoga, reading memoirs, cooking, and riding roller coasters.

Anh Cao

Anh Cao

Bentonville High School - Arkansas

Anh graduated from Bentonville High School after participating in USA Debate for two years. She was selected for the 2019 WSDC team that took home 5th place in Bangkok and was captain of the 2020 E-WSDC team. Anh is currently on a gap year, studying Arabic through the NSLI-Y Scholarship.

Elyse Dewbre

Elyse Dewbre

Northland Christian School - Texas

Elyse was a two-year Team USA team member and attended the 2020 WSDC. She graduated from The Northland Christian School and during high school was an NSDA national champion and a TFA state champion in World Schools. Elyse is currently a freshman pursuing a major in business at the University of Texas.

Arham Habib

Arham Habib

Monte Vista High School

Arham is currently a freshman at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, where he’s studying Finance and Data Science. In high school, he competed in Extemporaneous Speaking, where he championed the Stanford Invitational, got fourth at the Cal Invitational, won the MLK Invitational, and got second at the California State tournament. Currently, he competes for the Penn Debate Society and is conducting research about using business analytic frameworks to address climate change. Though he doesn’t know what the future holds, he’s fascinated by Venture Capital and startup culture. 

James Hu

James Hu

Mira Loma High School

James debated for Mira Loma High School in California and was associated with the USA Debate program for three years. As a competitor, James placed 4th at the NSDA tournament in International Extemp and was a member of the 2020 WSDC team. He currently attends Columbia University and hopes to study both political science and data science. This year he will also be assisting the USA Development Team in their training. 

Roopa Irakam

Roopa Irakam

Watchung Hills Regional High School - New Jersey

Roopa is currently a first year student at Barnard College of Columbia University studying Neuroscience and Behavior. She primarily competed in Congressional Debate for Watchung Hills Regional High School where she and her twin sister founded the speech and debate team. As a member of USA Debate, Roopa made it to outrounds at Greenhill, Harvard, and EurOpen in Germany, and she was a part of the USA Debate Development Team where she made it to elimination rounds at Cornell, Blake, and Harvard. She gained more than 25 bids to the TOC in Congressional Debate and continues to stay involved with the debate community by coaching younger students. She is immensely grateful for her time as a member of the team and is excited to see their success in the future! 

Rohit Jhawar

Rohit Jhawar

John F. Kennedy High School – California

Rohit competed in Congressional Debate for 4 years at John F. Kennedy High School and was a member of Team USA from 2019-2020, his senior year. He is now a freshman at the University of California, Berkeley, where he is studying Molecular and Cell Biology. He is very thankful for his time in debate, and now gives back as an assistant coach for Congressional Debate at James Logan High School.

Jack Johnson

Jack Johnson

The Blake School in Minnesotta

Jack is a returning member of the USA debate team as well as a captain of his team at Blake. Last year, Jack and his partner won the Tournament of Champions and the NDCA national championship in Public Forum debate. Additionally, he placed in the top 10 at the NSDA national championship, finished as the top speaker at the University of Kentucky National Opener, and championed the King Round Robin, finishing the year as the highest-ranking Junior in the country. His competitive accolades in World Schools debate include reaching semifinals at Harvard (after advancing to the Octofinal round the previous year), finals at Greenhill, and semifinals at the EurOpen tournament in Germany. When he isn’t debating, Jack writes for his school newspaper, Spectrum, and volunteers alongside the Miracle League to help support disabled youth by organizing and coaching recreational baseball games. In his free time, Jack enjoys spending time with friends, vacationing with family, playing video games, and binging Netflix. Jack can’t wait for another incredible year with Team USA!

USA Debate Alumni – Class of 2019

Ishan Bhatt

Ishan Bhatt

Harvard University

Ishan is incredibly thankful for his time in debate as a competitor in Lincoln-Douglas for St. Andrew’s Episcopal School for four years and the privilege of representing his country on USA Debate his senior year. In LD, he championed the National Speech & Debate Association tournament and the Tournament of Champions. During his time with Team USA, Ishan was a member of the 5th placing USA Team at the 2019 WSDC and was individually ranked as the 5th best speaker at the tournament. In college, Ishan is excited to try out multiple areas of study, including social studies, government, history of science, and economics, hopefully deciding upon one at some point! He is a member of the Harvard Debate Council, participating in policy debate. He is also excited to spend his time helping out high school debaters.

Michael Bole

Michael Bole

Emory University

Michael debated for Dreyfoos School of the Arts in Florida, was a member of USA Debate, and was a National Student of the Year Finalist. Since graduating, Michael has been consulting for minority-owned small businesses in Atlanta, designing advertising material for entrepreneurship initiatives, interning for the Atlanta Urban Debate League, and serving as an advisor in residence halls. He is double-majoring in Business (Marketing and Consulting) and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality studies. Long-term, he hopes to work in creative marketing to continue to communicate in meaningful ways.

Maddie Butler

Maddie Butler

Indiana University

Maddie is grateful for her time debating as a member of USA Debate and the Fishers High School debate team in Indiana. Throughout her debate career, Maddie earned two state championship titles in Congressional Debate as well as a State Championship title in Discussion. She also earned a championship title at the Harvard-Westlake World Schools Debate tournament and was an NSDA semi-finalist in Congressional Debate. She is in her second year at Indiana University studying International Law, Political Science, and Near Eastern Languages and Cultures through the Wells Scholars Program. She looks forward to pursuing a career in human rights and immigration law. Maddie is incredibly grateful for the opportunity to grow through USA Debate and looks forward to staying connected with the team.

Emily Grantham

Emily Grantham

Having spent a gap year teaching debate education in China, Emily is currently in her first year at Smith planning to major in Government. Competing for Kingwood High School and USA Debate, Emily is a TFA state and NSDA national champion (and two time finalist) in World Schools Debate who competed at the WSDC in 2018 and 2019, reaching quarterfinals both times. While in quarantine, she has been enjoying learning how to cook and roller skate. 

Ranen Miao

Ranen Miao

Washington University in St. Louis

Ranen (he/him) is a rising sophomore at WashU, studying political science and sociology. He is incredibly grateful for his time representing his country on USA Debate from 2017-2019, and serving as Millburn High School’s debate president. He currently serves as WashU’s Student Body President and Vice President of the debate team, working on projects to increase mental healthcare, expand access to free menstrual products, and create equity on campus. In high school, he was ranked 1st in the country for Congress, winning the TOC, Harvard, UPenn, Princeton, Glenbrooks, Blake, and New Jersey States twice. With the USA Team, he also won tournaments in Slovenia, Cornell, Greenhill, and Harvard-Westlake. 

Leila Saklou

Leila Saklou

Leila was associated with the USA Debate Team for three years and was captain of the 2019 WSDC Team. As Co-President of Kingwood High School Debate, Leila championed the TFA State competition and NSDA Nationals. Before college, Leila is taking a gap year to study Mandarin in China.

Luke Tillitski

Luke Tillitski

Yale University

Luke is a freshman at Yale University. While on Team USA’s 6th generation, Luke helped his team finish 2nd at the EurOpen tournament in addition to individually finishing as the 2nd overall speaker. Luke was proud to represent the United States at the 2019 WSDC in Bangkok, Thailand where Team USA placed fifth in the world while he simultaneously placed as the 11th overall individual. Domestically, Luke was the NSDA National Champion in Congressional Debate. Luke is excited to help Team USA’s future generations pursue a world championship as a proud alum!

Brian Zhou

Brian Zhou

Brian Zhou graduated from Greenhill as valedictorian after 4 years of Lincoln-Douglas debate and 2 years on the USA Debate Team. He is currently taking a gap year in Rabat, Morocco as a NSLI-Y Arabic Academic Year scholar and will attend Harvard University in the Fall of 2020 with a concentration in History of Science.

USA Debate Alumni – Class of 2018

Shreya Agarwala

Shreya Agarwala

University of Texas at Austin

Shreya debated for Greenhill School in PF and was a part of Team USA in 2017-2018. She is now a sophomore attending the University of Texas at Austin studying business.

Piper Doyle

Piper Doyle

University of Denver’s Daniels College of Business

Piper is currently a senior attending the Daniels College of Business at the University of Denver. She is studying business information analytics. Piper continues to debate in the British Parliamentary format, works as a residential assistant, and interns as a research analyst for an international company based in the Denver area. 

Shreyoshi Das

Shreyoshi Das

Wharton School - University of Pennsylvania

Shreyoshi is a junior at the Wharton School studying management and decision processes. She currently serves as the President of the Penn Debate Society and consults for Penn International Impact Consulting, a pro bono consulting group on campus. Shreyoshi competed on the 2018 WSDC team in Zagreb, Croatia, where Team USA placed sixth overall. She also debated for Flower Mound High School in Texas for four years in a variety of events and served as co-captain of her school team.

Ella Michaels

Ella Michaels

Harvard University

Ella is currently a sophomore at Harvard. She was a member of USA Debate her junior year, captain of the 2018 WSDC Team her senior year, and the highest ranked American debater at two consecutive world championships. She also placed second at both the TOC and NSDA Nationals in Congressional Debate in 2018. In addition to being a part of the Harvard College Debating Union, she teaches with CIVICS, a program that provides weekly civics classes to fifth-graders in Boston. She also works with the Harvard College Consulting Group and the Harvard Square Homeless Shelter.

Nikhil Ramaswamy

Nikhil Ramaswamy

University of Chicago

Nikhil competed for Plano West Senior High School in Extemporaneous Speaking, championing the MBA Round Robin, Harvard National Tournament, UK Tournament of Champions, and Northwestern Extemp Tournament of Champions. As a three-time finalist in IX at NSDA Nationals and a three-year member of USA Debate, he contributed to the team’s victory in Slovenia and quarterfinals finish at the 2018 WSDC. Nikhil is currently a freshman majoring in computational/applied math and economics at the University of Chicago.

USA Debate Alumni – Class of 2017

Aditya Dhar

Aditya Dhar

Harvard University

Aditya is a senior studying Applied Math, Computer Science, and Economics at Harvard University. He placed second at 2017 NSDA Nationals in Congressional Debate, and semifinaled at the 2017 World Championships with Team USA. In college, Aditya competes with the Harvard College Debating Union, and was a top ten speaker and semifinalist at the 2020 World Championship. Outside of debate, he also enjoys doing research in economics, computer science, and statistics.

Colette Faulkner

Colette Faulkner

Pepperdine University

Colette has been an active member of the debate community since her sophomore year of high school. In high school, Colette competed in both Public Forum and World Schools Debate at Kingwood High School. As a three-time NSDA Nationals qualifier, Colette competed in the quarterfinals and finals of World Schools debate her junior and senior year. She served as captain of the 2017 WSDC Team USA in Bali where the team reached semifinals. Colette is now a senior at Pepperdine University where she is studying Economics and Mathematics and is the coach of the Pepperdine debate team.

Gaurav Gawankar

Gaurav Gawankar

George Washington University

Gaurav debated for Kingwood High School in Houston, Texas, and was a member of the USA Debate Team in 2016-2017. He now attends the George Washington University double majoring in economics and political science.

Ellie Singer

Ellie Singer

Yale University

Ellie Singer is currently on leave from Yale University, where she is majoring in political science. She stays involved in debate by coaching for her alma mater, the Blake School, and competing in American parliamentary debate. Ellie serves as the 2020 President of the Yale Debate Association, the Vice President of Operations of American Parliamentary Debate Association, and a co-director of the activist organization Engender at Yale.

Sarah Lanier

Sarah Lanier

Baylor University

Sarah is a current a junior in the Honors College at Baylor University. She will graduate in 2021 and is majoring in International Studies with a minor in Spanish. She plans to attend law school after graduation. Sarah still stays involved in the debate community by coaching students in Extemporaneous Speaking and judging at various tournaments in the Texas area. She competed for the USA Debate Team in WSDC 2017 Bali.

Joshua May

Joshua May

Cornell University

Josh debated with the USA Debate Team from 2015-2017 and represented the team at the 2016 World Championships in Stuttgart, Germany. He continues to debate in the British Parliamentary format, advancing to semifinals at U.S. Western Regionals and reaching 7th novice at USA Nationals. Josh studies applied economics and management at the Cornell University where he enjoys playing rugby and hiking the local gorges.

Liz Yount

Liz Yount

The George Washington University

Liz is currently a sophomore at The George Washington University studying English with a concentration in Critical Theory/Cultural Studies. She was a member of the USA Debate national team from 2015-2017 and captain of the Harvard-Westlake debate team from 2016-2017. During Liz’s tenure in USA Debate, she championed tournaments in Croatia and Singapore and achieved top speaking ranks in Slovenia, Croatia, Singapore, and at the Harvard College Invitational. At university, she is the VP of Policy for GW Students Against Sexual Assault where she advocates for sexual violence prevention and education both on campus and on the federal level. Liz currently coaches the Harvard-Westlake Lincoln-Douglas Debate team and contributes to Global Debate Symposium LD Briefs. In her spare time, she is an avid skincare and makeup enthusiast, often reading Vogue or Into the Gloss.

USA Debate Alumni – Class of 2016

Milan Amritraj

Milan Amritraj

University of Southern California

Milan was captain of the 2016 WSDC Team USA and is currently majoring in Business Administration at USC’s Marshall School of Business.

Nikolas Angelopoulos

Nikolas Angelopoulos

Stanford University

Anastasios co-founded a prescription eyeglass diagnostics company, MHR vision, with billionaire entrepreneur and investor Ming Hsieh and inventor of the prosthetic retina Mark Humayun. After graduating in three years from Stanford University as the only electrical engineer to receive the Terman Award (top 30 students), Phi Beta Kappa (top 30 in liberal arts), Tau Beta Pi (engineering honors) and departmental distinction, Anastasios is now an EECS Ph.D. student at Berkeley as an NSF scholar co-advised by Michael I. Jordan, Jitendra Malik, and Avideh Zakhor. Anastasios leads an International Space Station mission on space biology as a co-investigator, his first-authored research has been featured in the Nature Research journal Scientific Reports, and he holds three patents (two provisional, one issued). His current work is in theoretical machine learning, computational imaging, and biomedical engineering.

Sonya Huang

Sonya Huang

Wharton School – University of Pennsylvania

Sonya currently attends the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, concentrating in finance and business analytics. She captains the case competition team of Penn’s marketing club (MUSE) and consults for the Social Impact Consulting Group. Sonya debated throughout all four years of high school, placing second at the 2015 NSDA Nationals in Lincoln-Douglas Debate and was one of the final five selected to represent the USA Debate Team at the 2016 WSDC in Stuttgart, Germany.

Julia Lauer

Julia Lauer

Harvard University

Julia is concentrating in government with a focus in international affairs and security. She competes on Harvard’s Parliamentary Debate Team and consults for the Harvard College Consulting Group. Over the summer, she coached Congressional Debate for the Champion Briefs Institute and the Institute for Speech and Debate, and she will continue to privately coach middle school Parliamentary and Public Forum Debate.

Amit Kukreja

Amit Kukreja

Rutgers Business School

Amit currently attends Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, majoring in finance. Amit coaches Lincoln-Douglas Debate at Success Academy in New York. Outside of debate, he is a member of the investment bankers association at Rutgers.

USA Debate Alumni – Class of 2015

Sara Evall

Sara Evall

Duke University

Sara is a Legal Assistant at Gupta Wessler, a national appellate, constitutional, and complex litigation boutique. She just finished a year long position as a Policy and Program Fellow at the American Constitution Society, a leading progressive legal organization. Sara graduated from Duke University in May 2019 with a B.A. in Refugee and Migrant Studies, magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa. She received distinction for her thesis, which she wrote based off of primary research she conducted in Jordan. Her thesis was entitled: “The Deprivation of the Right to Work as a Barrier to Autonomy for Iraqi and Syrian Refugees in Jordan.” Highlights of her time at Duke included working closely with resettled refugees in Durham and spearheading sexual assault prevention efforts.

Nicky Halterman

Nicky Halterman

Oxford University

Nicky recently graduated from Oxford University. He led his USA team to octafinals at the world championship and was recognized as the 6th place speaker in the world.

Jane Irons

Jane Irons

Yale University

Jane recently graduated cum laude from Yale with a BA in philosophy and with distinction in her major. She will be applying to law school in the upcoming year and is currently pursuing an interest in creative writing.

Abigail Marone

Abigail Marone

The George Washington University

Abigail Marone is a graduate of The George Washington University and currently works in the communications department at The Republican National Committee. She has had her writing published in The Hill, FoxNews.com, the Washington Examiner and appeared on Fox News, NewsMaxTV, and One America News.

Mitali Mathur

Mitali Mathur

Georgetown University

Mitali is working as an associate at IDinsight, based in New Delhi, India. She engages in fieldwork and conducts statistical analysis to run development impact evaluations that test the efficacy of anti-poverty programs. She hopes that such evidence can be used to better inform policymaking. Mitali graduated from the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University with a B.S. in International Economics (honors), a minor in Mandarin Chinese, and a certificate in International Development.

Tiana Menon

Tiana Menon

Harvard University

Tiana recently graduated from Harvard University. She has returned to her home state of Colorado to help run operations on one of 2020’s most competitive Senate races.

Amelia Miller

Amelia Miller

Harvard University

Amelia is studying Social Studies with a minor in Computer Science. Amelia writes for The Harvard Crimson magazine and coaches debate through Harvard College Mentors for Urban Debate.

Jasper Primack

Jasper Primack

University of Chicago Law School

Jasper is a 2L at the University of Chicago Law School. He graduated from Boston University in 2019, where he won the American Parliamentary Debate Association’s Team of the Year award with his debate partner.

 

SunHee Simon

SunHee Simon

Stanford University

SunHee is double majoring in Psychology and African & African American Studies. She will be coaching at James Logan High School in California and is involved in coaching schools in the Silicon Valley Urban Debate League. She currently debates for Stanford’s policy team and reached the semifinal round at CEDA in her freshman year of college (2016).

USA Debate Alumni – Class of 2014

Danny DeBois

Danny DeBois

Harvard University

Danny graduated summa cum laude from Harvard in 2018 with a degree in Social Studies, where wrote his thesis on the civil rights movement and the Supreme Court in the 1960s. He served as president of the Harvard College Debating Union and won the World Universities Debating Championship in Mexico with his partner. For the past two summers, he was an assistant coach with USA Debate at the World Championships in Croatia and Thailand. He currently does economic research for a hedge fund.

Daniel Garrison

Daniel Garrison

Loyola University

Daniel (who goes by Garrison) is a graduate of Loyola University New Orleans with a Bachelor’s in Marketing and a recent graduate of High Tech High Graduate School of Education getting a M.Ed with a focus on Teaching and Learning.In the Fall of 2021 he will be a founding teacher as well as the Director of the House System at The Delores Taylor Arthur School for Young Men in New Orleans under the direction of Byron Arthur. Garrison’s end goal is to spend some time in the classroom and then move on to working in education policy and potentially getting another masters in public administration. His love for debate will continue as he attempts to foster a love of rhetoric and argumentation in his classroom. Garrison also currently runs a politics & culture podcast called “Rebellion on the River.”

Shania Hunt

Shania Hunt

University of California, Los Angeles

Shania graduated in 2017 with a B.A. in Political Science with a focus on International Relations from UCLA. She coached Harvard-Westlake School for four years and now is the head of the middle school debate program at The Harker School. In college, she continued debate by competing at nationals for British Parliamentary debate. A proud Houstonian, she enjoys rooting for the Houston Rockets and exploring the California coast.

Lily Nellans

Lily Nellans

London School of Economics

Lily competed in speech and debate for four years at Roosevelt High School in Des Moines, Iowa and went on to compete in college at Western Kentucky University. Outside of forensics and her studies, Lily has completed research for the International Commission on Missing Persons, taught debate in rural Bosnia with Bosnia Initiatives for Local Development, and conducted fieldwork in Kosovo. She recently completed her masters in International Relations at the London School of Economics, where her dissertation “Genocide Studies and Its Queer Potentials” was awarded the International Relations Research Martin Wight Dissertation Prize. Lily is currently the director of the Bluegrass Debate League, an initiative housed at the University of Kentucky created to increase debate participation in the state. 

Read Exploring Cultural Competence in the World Schools Debate Community by Team Manager and Co-Head Coach Cindi Timmons

When the World Schools Debating Championships (WSDC) began in Australia in 1988, six nations participated: Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America. Over the years, the event has expanded, culminating in 2016 with 56 nations represented at the WSDC in Stuttgart. While debating teams from six continents have been represented, the increasing variety of participants from non-Western nations and the growing diversity of the debaters themselves in terms of race, ethnicity, religion, gender, etc., means that it is time for the global debating community to examine how inclusive it is and to evaluate its cultural competence as an organization. This paper seeks to address the current state of cultural competence in the organization and how WSDC might become even more inclusive.

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