USA Debate

About USA Debate

Twelve student members of the National Speech & Debate Association have been selected to represent the prestigious 2019-2020 USA Debate Team after completing a rigorous application process.

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.

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.

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.

Use #USADebate to track the team's progress on Twitter!


2019 World Schools Debating Championships Team
Congratulations to the five USA Debate team members representing the United States of America at the 2019 World Schools Debating Championships in Thailand this July: Emily Grantham, Leila Saklou, Ishan Bhatt, Luke Tillitski, and Anh Cao.

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

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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.

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

Apply to be a Member of the USA Debate Team 2019-2020

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, and are no younger than 14 years of age, and have not reached their 20th birthday in July 2020. 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 regrets the narrative of American Exceptionalism. 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 28 – Stage One auto-qualifier application deadline. The online form closes at 11:59 p.m. CT.

July 5 – Stage Two applicants announced

July 15 – Stage Two video task deadline

July 29 – Stage Three applicants announced

August 5 – Stage Three video task deadline

August 16 – Finalists announced

August 19-23 – Interviews for national team applicants

August 26 – USA Debate national team announced

September 11 – USA Debate members arrive in Dallas for training at Greenhill

Please email info@speechanddebate.org with specific questions.

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!

2019-2020 National Team

Cassandra Berlin

Senior – 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

Senior – Bentonville High School – Arkansas

Anh is a returning member of USA Debate and participates in World Schools Debate, Congressional Debate, and International Extemporaneous speaking. As a junior, Anh was selected as a member of the 2019 US World Championship Team in Bangkok. At WSDC, Team USA placed 5th, and Anh took home a top 10 speaker award. Anh’s teams have championed the 2018 Greenhill Fall Classic and the 2018 Cornell University Alfred Tuna Snider Tournament (where she also won top speaker). Anh has advanced to finals at the Winter Holidays Open in Croatia and the Harvard-Westlake Debates in Los Angeles. Additionally, Anh is the reigning double state champion in Congressional Debate and International Extemporaneous speaking. As a sophomore, she also reached state finals in Varsity Public Forum. Outside of debate, Anh is the president of her school’s Young Democrats chapter and an active member of French Honor Society, where she has been recognized as a two-time Gold Medalist in Le Grand Concours National French Contest. In her free time, Anh enjoys drinking coffee, listening to podcasts, and most of all, spending time with family. Anh is looking forward to a great year with Team USA!

Genevieve Cox

Junior – W.B. Ray High School – Texas

Genevieve is competing in Congressional Debate and Extemporaneous Speaking for her 6th year. In the 8th grade she qualified for the High School Congressional Debate TOC and won the NSDA Congressional Debate Middle School National Championship. In Congressional Debate as a Freshman she placed 8th at Blue Key, 2nd at UT, 2nd at UIL State, won Churchill and broke to Semi-Finals at the TOC. As a Sophomore she finaled at Yale and Emory, placed 6th at Blue Key, won Katy Taylor, won Churchill for the second time, placed 8th at TFA state, 6th at the NCFL Grand Nationals and 6th in the Senate at the NSDA Nationals. She has 22 lifetime TOC bids and is vice president of her high school debate team. She spends her summers working for Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid and teaching English at a rural school and an orphanage in India near where she was born. She has also played piano since she was 2 and has performed in Carnegie Hall 6 times. In her spare time she enjoys eating mochi and watching detective documentaries. She feels incredibly honored for this opportunity to represent her country on the USA Debate Team.

Elyse Dewbre

Senior – Northland Christian School – Texas

Elyse is a captain of her school’s debate team and has been involved in speech and debate since her freshman year. Although she competes in a variety of events, her passion is Extemporaneous Speaking and World Schools Debate. As a member of Team USA in the 2018-2019 season, she finaled at the Harvard World Schools Tournament, closed out the Harvard-Westlake Debates and finaled at the Winter Holiday Open in Croatia. In 2018, she championed the NSDA National Tournament in World Schools with her district team; in 2019 she reached semifinals of the Tournament of Champions in Extemporaneous Speaking in Chicago and Kentucky. Aside from debate, she serves as the president of the Student Council at her school, plays varsity tennis and is the president of her class’ National Honor Society. In her free time, Elyse spontaneously buys people pet betta fish, drinks way too much iced coffee, and is constantly searching for cinnamon bun Oreos.

Arham Habib

Senior – Monte Vista High School – California

Arham has been competing in speech and debate tournaments since 8th grade, primarily in Lincoln-Douglas Debate and Extemporanrous Speaking. He was 2nd at the CHSSA State Tournament, 7th at the Glenbrooks Invitational, and 9th at NSDA Nationals. Additionally, he enjoys teaching speech and debate to students at his local elementary and middle schools, and created an initiative to link low-income students from Pakistan to scholarships and opportunities to express their voices in an international platform through speech and debate. Outside of debate, Arham collaborates with his school district’s Board of Education to offer unique educational opportunities to students in the Gifted and Talented program, is a member of the Danville Youth Council, and has worked under Congressman Mark DeSaulnier to develop a variety of legislation. In his free time, he enjoys playing basketball, going on hikes, reading mystery novels, and listening to the Freakanomics Podcast. He’s looking forward to a phenomenal year with USA Debate Team!

James Hu

Senior – Mira Loma High School – California

James has been involved in speech and debate at Mira Loma for his entire high school career, mainly competing in Extemporaneous Speaking and World Schools Debate. His most notable accomplishments in Extemp include championing the 2019 Stanford Invitational in National Extemp (NX), placing second at the same tournament in International Extemp (IX), championing the 2018 James Logan Invitational in IX, placing third at Arizona State University, semifinaling at the Berkeley Invitational, quarterfinaling at the Extemp TOC as a sophomore, and reaching the Top 30 round at NSDA Nationals. James has also competed on behalf of the USA Debate Development Team for two years. As a member of the Development Team, he has reached the final round at the Alfred Tuna Snider Tournament at Cornell University and the Blake Tournament, while also reaching elimination rounds at Harvard, Greenhill, and Holy Cross. He was also second place speaker at the 2019 Harvard World Schools Invitational. Outside of debate, James is an enthusiastic officer for his class, where he helps put together Homecoming floats, plan class events, etc. In his free time, James loves to swim and make daily trips to the West-Coast native coffee chain—Dutch Bros. He is unbelievably excited for an amazing year with USA Debate!

Roopa Irakam

Senior – Watchung Hills Regional High School – New Jersey

Roopa has been involved with speech and debate since 7th grade, competing primarily in Congressional Debate and World Schools Debate. She currently serves as the co-captain of her school’s speech and debate team alongside her twin sister. Roopa has made it to numerous semifinal and final rounds in Congressional Debate including at Yale, Harvard, Emory, Sunvite, Bronx, the Tournament of Champions, and NSDA Nationals in the Senate, along with being the champion of the Princeton Tournament. As a member of the 2018-2019 USA Debate Development Team she broke to multiple out rounds with her team including at Cornell, Blake, and Harvard, as well as breaking to elimination rounds at NSDA Nationals with her NJ District Team. Outside of debate, Roopa is an avid Girl Scout and Indian Classical Dancer, completing her Bharatanatyam Arangetram. She currently serves as her school’s student body President and as the Chairperson of the Somerset Healthcare Foundation Youth Board at her local hospital. She is passionate about giving back to her community and promoting healthy living, along with coaching other students in speech and debate. In her free time, she loves running, hiking, skiing, archery, reading the news, trying new cuisines, and traveling with her family. Roopa is excited for an amazing year with USA Debate!!

Ranen Miao

Rohit Jhawar

Senior – John F. Kennedy High School – California

Rohit has been involved in debate since his freshman year, primarily in Congressional Debate. Most notably, he won the 2019 NSDA tournament in Congressional Debate-Senate. He also championed the Stanford Invitational, took 2nd at the California State Tournament, and took 4th at the Tournament of Champions and UCBerkeley Invitational, along with finaling at Blake, ASU, Emory, and more. He has been president of his team for 3 years, and also coaches debate over the summer. Outside of debate, he is president of his school’s Latin Club, coaches youth basketball, and plays varsity soccer. He hopes to one day practice medicine clinically and ultimately teach it as a professor. In his free time, he likes playing basketball, listening to rap music, and cooking. He’s excited for a great year ahead with USA Debate.

Jack Johnson

Senior from The Blake School in Minnesota

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!

Liana Schmitter-Emerson

Junior – Campbell Hall – California

Liana is a returning member of USA Debate and has been involved in speech and debate at Campbell Hall Episcopal for four years, primarily competing in World Schools Debate, Congressional 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 championing the Alfred Tuna Snider World Schools Tournament and placing as fifth speaker, closing out the Harvard-Westlake World Schools Tournament and placing as top speaker, reaching semifinals of the Winter Holiday Open in Zagreb, and placing second at the Harvard College World Schools tournament, where she also earned top speaker. Additionally, she is a two time qualifier for CHSSA State and NSDA Nationals, reaching semifinals in Extemporaneous Speaking at CHSSA both her freshman and sophomore years and finals of NSDA Nationals in Congressional Debate her sophomore year. Outside of debate, Liana serves on her school’s Academic Honor board, volunteers as a tutor for students experiencing homelessness, and enjoys traveling and spending time with her family and friends. She is incredibly grateful to be working with USA Debate again this year!

Miles Wang

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

Miles, hailing from South Florida, is a sophomore at Dreyfoos School of the Arts, where he competes in World Schools Debate and Congressional Debate. Last year, his World Schools team placed third overall at the NSDA National Tournament, and in Congress he reached the final round at the Blue Key Invitational and elimination rounds at Nova Titan and The Tradition, among others. He serves as novice liaison on his debate team, helping newcomers learn the ropes of the activity and is trying to spread the World Schools format in his community. Outside of debate, Miles runs cross country, writes opinion for Dreyfoos’ award-winning newsmagazine, The Muse, and serves as an officer in his school’s Key Club and Artists Reaching to Society (ARTS) Club. Outside of school, he volunteers as a student attorney at his county’s Youth Court and helps organize a summer camp for local children. He spends his free time reading books, watching The Office, and spending time with friends and family. He is excited and honored to represent the U.S. internationally and to meet people around the world!

Abbey Xu

Sophomore – St. Paul’s School – New Hampshire

Abbey has been actively participating in speech and debate since 6th grade, competing primarily in World Schools and Public Forum. In World Schools, she was a grand finalist at NSDA Nationals as a freshman this year, an octo-finalist at Prague Spring in the Czech Republic and a quarter-finalist at AWSDC 2019 held in Thailand. In Public Forum, Abbey championed the Berkley tournament in the JV division as an 8th grader and won 4th speaker at the Stanford Invitational that same year. She was also the 3rd best speaker for the Public Forum division at MS NSDA Nationals 2018. Outside of debate, Abbey is a member of her school’s varsity volleyball team, plays the cello in her school orchestra, and participates actively in 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 trying new foods, cooking, and finding new music. She is also beyond excited to be a part of Team USA this year!

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 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. Michael was the FL State Champion in Congressional Debate, a finalist at EurOpen, Winter Holidays Open, Harvard-Westlake, and a top-three finisher at Harvard, Cornell, and NSDA Nationals. At Emory, Michael plans to major in Business. He is excited to watch the future success of the USA Debate team!

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. At Indiana University, Maddie is excited to study International Studies, French, 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

Emily is taking a gap year before attending New York University pursuing Global Liberal Studies. Competing with Kingwood High School in debate for four years and being associated with USA Debate for three, Emily is a TFA state and NSDA national champion in world schools debate who competed at the WSDC in 2018 and 2019, reaching quarterfinals both times.

Ranen Miao

Ranen Miao

Washington University in St. Louis

Ranen debated for Millburn High School in New Jersey, and was a two-year member of the USA Debate Team from 2017-2019. As a member of the team, he championed tournaments at Cornell, Greenhill, and Slovenia, and placed third at the EurOpen twice. At the end of his senior year, Ranen served as his school’s speech and debate team president and was ranked first in the country for Congressional Debate, championing the Tournament of Champions, Harvard National Tournament, University of Pennsylvania Liberty Bell Classic, Princeton Invitational, Glenbrooks Tournament, Blake Invitational, Blake Round Robin, Ridge Debates, and New Jersey States twice, along with placing 2nd at NCFL Nationals, 2nd at NSDA Nationals, and receiving the NSDA House Leadership Bowl. He is an incoming freshman at Washington University in St. Louis, where he plans to major in Political Science.

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 sophomore 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 sophomore at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania studying management and decision processes. She currently competes for the Penn Debate Society and consults for Penn International Impact Consulting and the Social Impact 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 and served as co-captain of her school team. Shreyoshi is very excited to see what the future of USA Debate holds!

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 sophomore studying Applied Math, Economics, and Computer Science at Harvard University. Aditya competed in Congressional Debate nationally, placing second at the 2017 NSDA National Tournament, and at the 2017 WSDC, where the USA Debate Team made it to the semifinals. He currently competes with the Harvard College Debating Union and writes for the Harvard International Review.

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 a junior at Yale University 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 on the board of the Yale Debate Association, the American Parliamentary Debate Association, and 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

In pursuit of her long-term goal to work toward a more just and equal United States (and global community), Sara joined the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy (ACS) staff in Washington, D.C. in August 2019 as a Policy and Program Fellow. ACS is a leading progressive legal organization in the nation.

Sara recently graduated from Duke University with a B.A. in Refugee and Migrant Studies, magna cum laude, in May 2019. She received distinction for her senior 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 1L at the University of Chicago Law School. He graduated magna cum laude with a degree in Political Science from Boston University in 2019, writing his senior thesis on the future of state torture practices. While at Boston University, Jasper won the American Parliamentary Debate Association’s Team of the Year award with his debate partner. In his spare time, Jasper enjoys weightlifting and browsing Reddit.

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 is graduate of Loyola University New Orleans with a Bachelor’s in Marketing. He has now started his path to a career in education and education policy. Currently he is enrolled at High Tech High Graduate School of Education getting his Masters in Education with a focus on Teaching and Learning. He splits his time between TAP (Teacher Apprenticeship Program) and their New School Creation Fellowship. He will be student teaching 12th grade Humanities at High Tech High in the Point Loma Neighborhood of San Diego. In the Fall of 2020 he will be one of the founding teachers 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.

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 is currently pursuing her Master’s in international relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science as a Rotary Scholar. Her research focuses on the intersection of gender and ethnic conflict. She graduated from Western Kentucky University in 2018 with her Bachelor’s in philosophy and international conflict studies. While competing on WKU’s national championship forensic team, she won a national championship in impromptu speaking and reached nine other final rounds in various individual events. Outside of forensics and her studies, Lily has completed research for the International Commission on Missing Persons, interned for Bosnia Initiatives for Local Development, and conducted fieldwork in Kosovo.

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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