Meet Our Staff

Triumph debate camp instructors

Traditional LD Instructors

Traditional LD Instructors

Andrea Chow

Andrea has been coaching summer debate camps for the past two years. In high school, she was a 4x California state qualifier, West LA Student of the Year, and district champion. She also quarterfinaled at the TOC as a sophomore and finished in the top 30 at NSDA Nationals as a senior. She is currently studying ethnicity, race, and migration at Yale University where she will continue to debate and coach middle and high school teams. She also volunteers with Speech and Debate Stories to make debate more equitable and accessible for people of all backgrounds. Her favorite part of coaching is having fun with debaters. Outside of debate, she loves hiking, painting, and cooking.

BRYCE EDISON

Bryce competed in debate for three seasons before graduating from Boardman High School in 2019. In both his freshman and sophomore year, he competed in Public Forum debate before switching to Lincoln-Douglas his senior year. In his senior year, Bryce broke at the OSDA state tournament and qualified in LD for the NSDA national tournament. Currently, Bryce studies philosophy at Case Western Reserve University and also coaches LD and PF at Brecksville-Broadview Heights High School.

Jo Spurgeon

Jo Spurgeon competed in Speech and Debate for 3 years, competing in HI, OO, ADS, Prose, and LD. Sophomore year, Jo finaled in Humorous Interp at the OSAA State Tournament. Junior year, she was a finalist in After Dinner Speakingthird in Humorous Interp, and second in Lincoln Douglas debate at the OSAA State Tournament. Throughout her career she also won top speaker at several regional tournaments including the Jerry Hudson and Jean Ward Invitationals. Jo also qualified for the NSDA National tournament in Original Oratory in 2019 and in Lincoln Douglas debate in 2020. Senior year she was voted the 2020 Southern Oregon Student of the Year by regional coaches for her success across both speech and debate. Her senior year she also finished as the 2020 NSDA Lincoln Douglas National Champion, making her the first Oregonian to win that title in the history of the tournament. She is currently attending American University pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Neuroscience.

Katie Humphries

Katie Humphries joined Speech and Debate her sophomore year as the first ever LDer at her school. In her two years in LD, both years she qualified to the OSDA state tournament and the Northern Ohio World Schools team, where her team broke to double octa-finals at NSDA’s. After graduating in 2017, she now attends the University of Akron, where first year, she joined Akron’s Speech and Debate team and championed the OFA State Tournament in IPDA. In 2018, she left the team to fully invest in coaching for her alma mater, Liberty High School. Coming from a low-income school and competing on a team with little to no funding, Katie co-founded Triumph Debate with the purpose of making debate more accessible.

Matt Slencsak

Matthew Slencsak graduated from Howland HS in 2013, after competing in Lincoln Douglas debate for 4 years. After High School, Matt obtained a degree in IT. Since, Matt has been coaching Speech and Debate for 7 years. Matt has coached students to making stage at both the Ohio Speech and Debate Tournament as well as the NSDA Tournament. After observing problems in the Speech and Debate community, Matt co-founded Triumph Debate with the goal of creating a more welcoming and equitable space for all.

TIA SPEECE

Tia Speece competed in Lincoln Douglas debate for three years at Kenston High School. During her first year, she semi-finaled at the state competition. In her senior year, she made it to finals at States, qualified to the NSDA National competition, and became the first female public-schooled student to compete in and win the City Club debate. She also competed in World Schools debate for three years. Tia now privately coaches students and competes in British Parliamentary at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, where she is studying philosophy.

VINAMRA AGRAWAL

Vinamra coached for Revere High School and now coaches for Mason High School where he debated for three years in Lincoln-Douglas debate. His students have gone on to be OSDA and NSDA qualifiers and rank in the top 14 in Extemp Debate at Nationals. Vinamra was the Lincoln-Douglas Event Leader in his senior year. Vinamra was an NSDA qualifier in Worlds Schools Debate and a two-time OSDA qualifier in LD. He currently attends Ohio State University where he is majoring in data analytics in business.

Progressive LD Instructors

Andrea Chow

Andrea has been coaching summer debate camps for the past two years. In high school, she was a 4x California state qualifier, West LA Student of the Year, and district champion. She also quarterfinaled at the TOC as a sophomore and finished in the top 30 at NSDA Nationals as a senior. She is currently studying ethnicity, race, and migration at Yale University where she will continue to debate and coach middle and high school teams. She also volunteers with Speech and Debate Stories to make debate more equitable and accessible for people of all backgrounds. Her favorite part of coaching is having fun with debaters. Outside of debate, she loves hiking, painting, and cooking.

Ian mikkelsen

Ian Mikkelsen is pursuing his doctorate in Public Policy at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He competed in high school and collegiate speech and debate for 7 years at the National level. In high school, Ian won the 2011 Kansas State Championship in Lincoln Douglas debate and concluded his high-school career as the National LD Runner-up at the NCFL 2011 championship. In college, Ian competed in Parliamentary Debate winning multiple National Invitationals and took 2nd and 3rd place in the 2014 and 2015 National Parliamentary Debate Association Tournament. Ian also coached several top high-school competitors, helping his alma mater win its second LD State Championship, and break to late out rounds in Public Forum at Nationals. Recently, he coached students out rounds at NSDA Nationals, qualifying bids to the TOC Lincoln Douglas Tournament, as well as the 4th place speaker and 2020 National Champion in LD for NSDA. In collegiate debate, his students have 2016 IPDA National Championship, as well as several late out round placements in Team IPDA Nationals. He currently works at DFWSD as a coach as well as a hired judge and coach for several collegiate programs when he has the time.

Nethmin Liyanage

Nethmin Liyanage attended the Hill School in Pottstown, Pennsylvania where she debated in Lincoln-Douglas and served as the captain of the debate team. Her last two years of high school involved teaching many young debaters and she’s excited to share that experience with students at Triumph Debate’s winter intensive! During her career, she was the first LD debater at her school to reach the bid round of a national circuit tournament and the first LD debater to receive a round robin invitation. She reached the bid round at Meadows, Blue Key, ASU, Emory, and Millard North and cleared at the majority of the tournaments she attended. The highlight of her career was championing the Durham Round Robin with some of her closest friends, all of whom have curly hair. Nethmin is a student at (currently virtual) Pitzer College where her hobbies include trying out fun zoom backgrounds and drinking cold brew. When not debating, she can be found talking about intersectional feminism or buying copious amounts of Pilot G2 pens.

Andrea Chow

Andrea has been coaching summer debate camps for the past two years. In high school, she was a 4x California state qualifier, West LA Student of the Year, and district champion. She also quarterfinaled at the TOC as a sophomore and finished in the top 30 at NSDA Nationals as a senior. She is currently studying ethnicity, race, and migration at Yale University where she will continue to debate and coach middle and high school teams. She also volunteers with Speech and Debate Stories to make debate more equitable and accessible for people of all backgrounds. Her favorite part of coaching is having fun with debaters. Outside of debate, she loves hiking, painting, and cooking.

Bryce Edison

Bryce competed in debate for three seasons before graduating from Boardman High School in 2019. In both his freshman and sophomore year, he competed in Public Forum debate before switching to Lincoln-Douglas his senior year. In his senior year, Bryce broke at the OSDA state tournament and qualified in LD for the NSDA national tournament. Currently, Bryce studies philosophy at Case Western Reserve University and also coaches LD and PF at Brecksville-Broadview Heights High School.  

Jo Spurgeon

Jo Spurgeon competed in Speech and Debate for 3 years, competing in HI, OO, ADS, Prose, and LD. Sophomore year, Jo finaled in Humorous Interp at the OSAA State Tournament. Junior year, she was a finalist in After Dinner Speaking, third in Humorous Interp, and second in Lincoln Douglas debate at the OSAA State Tournament. Throughout her career she also won top speaker at several regional tournaments including the Jerry Hudson and Jean Ward Invitationals. Jo also qualified for the NSDA National tournament in Original Oratory in 2019 and in Lincoln Douglas debate in 2020. Senior year she was voted the 2020 Southern Oregon Student of the Year by regional coaches for her success across both speech and debate. Her senior year she also finished as the 2020 NSDA Lincoln Douglas National Champion, making her the first Oregonian to win that title in the history of the tournament. She is currently attending American University pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Neuroscience.

Katie Humphries

Katie joined Speech and Debate her sophomore year as the first ever LDer at her school. In her two years in LD, both years she qualified to the OSDA state tournament and the Northern Ohio World Schools team, where her team broke to double octa-finals at NSDA’s. After graduating in 2017, she now attends the University of Akron, where first year, she joined Akron’s Speech and Debate team and won the OFA State Tournament in IPDA. In 2018, she left the team to fully invest in coaching for her alma mater, Liberty High School. Coming from a low-income school and competing on a team with little to no funding, Katie co-founded Triumph Debate with the purpose of making debate more accessible.

Matt Slencsak

Matthew Slencsak has been coaching Speech and Debate for 6 years. He graduated from Howland HS in 2013, after competing in Lincoln Douglas debate for 4 years. After High School, Matt obtained a degree in IT and is currently pursuing a bachelors in Integrated Social Studies, hoping to one day coach at the school he teaches for. Matt has coached students to making stage at both the Ohio Speech and Debate Tournament as well as the NSDA Tournament. After observing problems in the Speech and Debate community, Matt co-founded Triumph Debate with the goal of creating a more welcoming and equitable space for all.

Tia Speece

Tia Speece competed in Lincoln Douglas debate for three years at Kenston High School. During her first year, she semi-finaled at the state competition. In her senior year, she made it to finals at States, qualified to the NSDA National competition, and became the first female public-schooled student to compete in and win the City Club debate. She also competed in World Schools debate for three years. Tia now privately coaches students and competes in British Parliamentary at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, where she is studying philosophy.

Vinamra Agrawal

Vinamra coached for Revere High School and now coaches for Mason High School where he debated for three years in Lincoln-Douglas debate. His students have gone on to be OSDA and NSDA qualifiers and rank in the top 14 in Extemp Debate at Nationals. Vinamra was the Lincoln-Douglas Event Leader in his senior year. Vinamra was an NSDA qualifier in Worlds Schools Debate and a two-time OSDA qualifier in LD. He currently attends Ohio State University where he is majoring in data analytics in business.

Progressive LD Instructors

Andrea Chow

Andrea has been coaching summer debate camps for the past two years. In high school, she was a 4x California state qualifier, West LA Student of the Year, and district champion. She also quarterfinaled at the TOC as a sophomore and finished in the top 30 at NSDA Nationals as a senior. She is currently studying ethnicity, race, and migration at Yale University where she will continue to debate and coach middle and high school teams. She also volunteers with Speech and Debate Stories to make debate more equitable and accessible for people of all backgrounds. Her favorite part of coaching is having fun with debaters. Outside of debate, she loves hiking, painting, and cooking.

Ian Mikkelsen

Ian Mikkelsen is pursuing his doctorate in Public Policy at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He competed in high school and collegiate speech and debate for 7 years at the National level. In high school, Ian won the 2011 Kansas State Championship in Lincoln Douglas debate and concluded his high-school career as the National LD Runner-up at the NCFL 2011 championship. In college, Ian competed in Parliamentary Debate winning multiple National Invitationals and took 2nd and 3rd place in the 2014 and 2015 National Parliamentary Debate Association Tournament. Ian also coached several top high-school competitors, helping his alma mater win its second LD State Championship, and break to late out rounds in Public Forum at Nationals. Recently, he coached students out rounds at NSDA Nationals, qualifying bids to the TOC Lincoln Douglas Tournament, as well as the 4th place speaker and 2020 National Champion in LD for NSDA. In collegiate debate, his students have 2016 IPDA National Championship, as well as several late out round placements in Team IPDA Nationals. He currently works at DFWSD as a coach as well as a hired judge and coach for several collegiate programs when he has the time.

Nethmin Liyanage

Nethmin Liyanage attended the Hill School in Pottstown, Pennsylvania where she debated in Lincoln-Douglas and served as the captain of the debate team. Her last two years of high school involved teaching many young debaters and she’s excited to share that experience with students at Triumph Debate’s winter intensive! During her career, she was the first LD debater at her school to reach the bid round of a national circuit tournament and the first LD debater to receive a round robin invitation. She reached the bid round at Meadows, Blue Key, ASU, Emory, and Millard North and cleared at the majority of the tournaments she attended. The highlight of her career was championing the Durham Round Robin with some of her closest friends, all of whom have curly hair. Nethmin is a student at (currently virtual) Pitzer College where her hobbies include trying out fun zoom backgrounds and drinking cold brew. When not debating, she can be found talking about intersectional feminism or buying copious amounts of Pilot G2 pens.

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