learn from the best
Our instructors come from all over the country and specialize in all aspects of LD. The highest levels of success in LD require knowledge of analytic philosophy, public policy, critical theory, and debate theory, in addition to mastery of fundamental and technical debate skills. No camp in the country can match our staff's expertise in any, let alone all, of those areas. From longtime coaches, experienced classroom teachers, and intercollegiate policy debaters to philosophy doctoral candidates, high school team captains, and the most successful recent debaters from all over the country, the VBI staff is best equipped to help you achieve your debate potential.
Jake Nebel is Executive Director of Victory Briefs and a PhD candidate in Philosophy at New York University. He holds an AB in Philosophy from Princeton and a BPhil in Philosophy from Oxford, where he studied as a Marshall Scholar. As a debater for Trinity Prep (FL), Jake reached finals of Harvard (three times), Greenhill (twice), the Glenbrooks (twice), the New York City Invitational (twice), the Barkley Forum at Emory, Yale, the Bronx Round Robin, the MBA Round Robin, the VBT Round Robin, the Vassar Round Robin, the FFL State Championship, and NSDA Nationals—winning most of those. He was named Top Speaker at the Tournament of Champions, Greenhill, Harvard, the New York City Invitational (twice), the Bronx Round Robin (twice), Yale (twice), the Vassar Round Robin, the Crestian Classic, and the FFL State Championship. As a coach for the Greenhill School (TX), Jake's students have won the Tournament of Champions, the NDCA National Championship, the Dukes & Bailey Cup, the Glenbrooks, the Harvard Round Robin, the New York City Invitational, Emory (twice), the TFA State Tournament, and other national, regional, and local championships. This will be his twelfth summer at VBI.
SunHee Simon is a LD curriculum Director at Victory Briefs. SunHee has participated in debate since the 7th grade and has been a championship debater in both Lincoln Douglas and Policy Debate. In 2015, she was one of only two people to qualify to the Tournament of Champions in CX and LD. Her freshman year at Stanford University--where she now attends--she earned the semifinal title at the Cross Examination Debate Association (CEDA) national tournament. Now, she focus on private coaching and coaching Science Park High School. She has helped her students get to late elims and finals of national tournaments like the Glenbrooks, NDCA, Berkeley, Emory, and the TOC. This is SunHee's fourth year with VBI.
Chris Theis is Executive Director of Victory Briefs. This is his eleventh year at VBI. He currently coaches for his alma mater, Apple Valley (MN). He has previously coached students from Palos Verdes Peninsula High School (CA), Trinity Preparatory School (FL), Winston Churchill (TX). As a coach, his students have reached elimination rounds at the Tournament of Champions each of the past six seasons, and have placed in the top 6 of the NSDA National Tournament. His students have won nearly every major invitational tournament (some multiple times) including: Harvard, Greenhill, Stanford, the Minneapple, Emory, CPS, Lexington, Loyola, Damus, the Greenhill Round Robin, and others.
As a competitor, he was one of only two juniors to ever win the Tournament of Champions and is the only person to win it twice. He was the champion of Blake, Emory, the Iowa Round Robin twice, the Greenhill Round Robin twice, and St. Marks twice. Chris was also a semi finalist at Greenhill and the Glenbrooks, and a finalist at Berkeley. Chris was a four year qualifier to the NSDA National Tournament in Lincoln-Douglas, U.S. Extemp Speaking, and Congressional Debate. This will be Chris's twelfth summer at VBI.
Marshall Thompson is the Director of Lincoln-Douglas Debate at Victory Briefs. He is is currently pursuing a PhD in philosophy at Florida State University, having previously received a bachelors degree in philosophy from Wheaton College. A large portion of Marshall's academic studies focuses on the science and practice of effective teaching. Marshall has been successful both as a debater and coach; in recent years he has coached debaters to win major national tournaments (such as the Bronx Invitational) and reach late out rounds at many others (including twice reaching finals of the TOC). Marshall is an experienced camp instructor having both taught and developed curriculum at multiple camps for years. This will be his eighth summer at VBI.
Lawrence Zhou is a LD curriculum Director at Victory Briefs. Lawrence competed at Bartlesville HS in Oklahoma (2010-2014) in Lincoln-Douglas Debate. In high school, he was the 2014 NSDA LD National Champion. He was also a three-time finalist and two-time champion of the Oklahoma State Tournament and placed 6th at NFL Nationals his junior year. He now attends the University of Oklahoma where he is a Management of Information Systems major and Philosophy minor. He is an assistant coach at The Harker School, a member of the OU Ethics Bowl Team where he placed as the National Runner Up at the 2018 Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl National Competition, and debates on the OU Shannon Self Debate Program policy team where he advanced to outrounds at the 2016 and 2018 CEDA Tournament. This will be his sixth year at VBI.
Carlos competed in Lincoln-Douglas for University High School (NJ) and competed in policy debate in college for Rutgers-Newark University. He currently serves as the Executive Director of the Newark Debate Academy and is largely responsible for the success of all facets of Newark Debate. As a high school policy and LD debate coach at Newark Science and University HS, Carlos has coached numerous debaters to win or advance to the late elims of most major national tournaments such as Glenbrooks, Emory, Big Bronx, Scranton, Blake, Apple Valley, Greenhill, Berkeley, Yale, NDCA, Tournament of Champions, NSDA, etc. Carlos has coached various debaters across LD and Policy debate to qualify to the Tournament of Champions. As a college debate coach for Rutgers-Newark, was one of the coaches of the 2017 CEDA and NDT champions. Carlos has also coached debaters in the late elims of most major national tournaments such as UMKC, Wake Forest, Cal Swings, CEDA Nationals, and the National Debate Tournament, etc. Carlos taught at VBI in 2015 and 2017 and is returning this year for his third year.
Sekou Cisse (VBI '16, VBI '17) is currently a senior at Success Academy HS in NY and has 8 career TOC bids. He's won the Byram Hills Invitational + RR, the Beltway fall classic, the Newark RR, the Berkeley RR, NYC Policy RR, Kandi King RR, and the Harrison RR. He was also a finalist at the Yale Invitational, Berkeley, Greenhill RR, Byram Hills, and the Newark RR. Lastly, he was top speaker at Greenhill, the Glenbrooks, Emory, Berkeley, Yale, Byram Hills + RR, Kandi King RR, and placed in the top ten speakers at every national circuit tournament he's attended. Sekou will also be attending and debating at Wake Forest University in the Fall! #GoDeacs
Eric was a debater and captain at San Marino High School where he received 5 career bids to the Tournament of Champions and was the first to qualify in his school history. Throughout his career, Eric has won the Jack Howe at CSULB, made the bid round or better at Stanford, Harvard Westlake, Voices, Berkeley, Loyola, and Greenhill, and cleared at Peninsula and USC. Additionally, he has received speaker awards at Greenhill, Loyola, Voices, Stanford, CSULB, and Peninsula, as well as qualifying to the California state tournament in policy for 2 years. Outside of debate, Eric likes watching anime, playing video games, and reading books. He attended VBI as a student and is excited to come back as an instructor!
Jonathan Horowitz debated for four years at Glenbrook North HS in Northbrook, IL. After graduating high school he went to Goucher College where he continued his involvement in debate by coaching at Loyola Blakefield HS for the entirety of his college experience leading Loyola to unprecedented success in both LD and policy debate including the first TOC appearances in both events as well as TOC outround apperance in LD. Subsequently, Jonathan returned to Chicago and worked for Chicagoland Jewish HS and New Trier HS. He then moved to New York for two years where he worked at Bronx Science, Beacon and Mamaroneck. Jonathan's students have made elimination at almost every major national tournament, won multiple state titles (in multiple states!), and have learned a lot. Jonathan is also a licensed social studies teacher and teaches in his non-debate time.
Willie Johnson is the head coach of the Rutger University Newark national champion debate team. He has over 16 years of experience as a debater, coach and educator, working in different facets of the activity including policy debate, Lincoln Douglas, Public Form and speech and congress events. His coaching accolades include coaching multiple teams to qualify to the TOC, multiple state/national championships and elimination rounds, led the 2017 National Debate Tournament and Cross examination debate association champion team, multiple collegiate championships and team awards including ranking top 10 overall debate teams in the nation. As a second year instructor at VBI, the 2017 Mukai college classic assistant coach of the year aims to provide an educational experience that diversify the learning experience and skills of all VBI scholars.
Priya Kukreja is returning as an instructor to VBI for her second year. She competed in LD for four years at Millard North High School in Omaha, Nebraska, graduating in 2017. She qualified to the TOC three times (receiving 7 career bids) and NSDA Nationals three times, becoming the National Runner-Up her junior year. Priya reached elimination rounds of Valley, Glenbrooks, Dowling, Iowa Caucus, Middleton, and Westside, receiving speaker awards at them all. She attended the Valley and Apple Valley round robins and was the Nebraska State Champion and top speaker.
Kevin Li debated for Stuyvesant High School from 2014-2018 and served as a team officer for two years. He earned 7 career bids to the TOC and also qualified for NSDA and NCFL Nationals. He won the UPenn and Columbia Invitationals, and was a top 5 speaker at Yale, Apple Valley, Newark, Columbia, and Emory his senior year. He attended VBI before his sophomore year. In his spare time, he enjoys painting, playing Volleyball, and watching The Office.
Emmiee (VBI 2016) debated for Harker for 3 years in Policy and 1 year in LD. She qualified for the TOC her senior year, earning 3 bids. Emmiee received several RR invitations and was in elimination rounds of numerous tournaments, such as St. Marks, Glenbrooks, CPS, Voices, Golden Desert, and NDCA. She also coaches debate at the Harker School and debates at UC Berkeley. This will be her second year as an instructor for VBI.
Devane Murphy is a former debater for Rutgers-Newark and Newark Science. With Rutgers Newark, Devane won the 2017 CEDA National Championship and the 2017 NDT. He also was the top Speaker of the 2017 NDT. Devane has coached on the college and high school level and has coached multiple qualifiers to the TOC, CEDA nationals, the NDT and debaters to late elimination rounds at national tournaments throughout the season. Devane has taught at both LD and policy labs including 2017 VBI LA 1/2 top lab and 2017 NDA Frost Valley top lab.
Brittany Plange was a part of the Moore High School Speech and Debate Team for 3 years. There she competed in Original Oratory, Domestic Extempt, Poetry, Lincoln-Douglas Debate, and Public Forum Debate. She placed in the State Tournament of Oklahoma in Original Oratory her Junior year and attended NSDA Nationals her Junior and Senior year. After high school Brittany went onto attend The University of Oklahoma for college. There she walked onto the OU Policy Debate and achieved numerous awards. Her freshmen year she and her partner, Natasha Sebunya, won the Cross-Examination Debate Association National Championship in the Novice/Junior Varsity division. They went onto win the 4th annual Mukai College Classic at Weber State in 2016, where Brittany also received 1st speaker, making them the most decorated black women debaters in OU's history. and the first black women to do so on the team. Since then, she was a Semifinalist of the first half of the UC Berkeley tournament and Double Octo-finalist of the second half of the UC Berkeley tournament. Last year was her first time working with the VBI where she was an instructor at LA II. She is extremely excited to come back and work with the VBI as an instructor at all three camps. A few things she likes is meeting new people, Game of Thrones, Bob's Burgers, Crash Bandicoot, good music, and tacos. She hopes to see you this summer at the VBI!
Christian Fernando Quiroz is going into his fourth year at Rutgers as a philosophy major where he also debates. He is a McNair and HLLC scholar and debates for Rutgers where he attended the NDT as a freshman. In highschool, Christian debated for Newark science where he attended the TOC twice, making it to semis and being awarded top speaker his senior year. He was also named co-champion at Berkeley and Scarsdale. He was also the winner of the Ridge tournament and the Newark Round Robin. During his career he made it to late elimination rounds at tournaments such as Harvard, Glenbrooks, and the NDCA. This will be his fourth year teaching at VBI.
Lavanya Singh debated for Mission San Jose High School in Fremont, California. She was a Quarterfinalist at the Tournament of Champions as sophomore and junior and earned 7 career bids. She won the College Prep Tournament twice and the Voices Foundation Educational Forum and co-championed the Voices Round Robin. Additionally, she reached late elimination rounds at the Alta Silver and Black Invitational, The Apple Valley MineApple Tournament, and the Stanford Invitational. She was ranked #3 in the nation for the 2017-18 preseason. In her junior year, she served as her school's Lincoln Douglas Captain and gained lots of hands on experience coaching and mentoring both novice and varsity debaters. She is currently President of her school’s debate club and oversees a team of 6 officers who coordinate coaching, logistics, and fundraising for the entire team. She has also organized and taught at free summer middle school debate camps with the Bay Area Urban Debate. Outside of debate, Lavanya enjoys coding, learning to play the guitar, and watching The Great British Bake Off. She attended VBI as a student for 3 years and can’t wait to return as an instructor!
Maddy Stevens debated for three years (2012-2015) at Winston Churchill High School in San Antonio, TX. As a student, she was a three-time TFA state qualifier in both Lincoln-Douglas and Domestic Extemp, and a two-time qualifier to NSDA Nationals in LD and PF. She is proud to be a cofounder of the Women’s Debate Support Group and of partnering with VBI throughout the competitive season to help low resource debaters navigate the debate circuit. She believes that debate can be a rough place and that the purpose of camp should be to teach you not only how to improve at debate but how to survive it. As a person on the autism spectrum, she cares deeply about representation and equity both inside and outside of debate, and works to make her classroom as accessible as possible. Currently, she is a biology major at Texas State University in San Marcos, TX. This will be her fourth year attending VBI and she is excited to be returning for her third year as an instructor.
Kathy Wang debated for Stuyvesant High School from 2012 to 2016, breaking at several national bid tournaments and helping students through the transition to the national circuit as JV Director for her junior and senior years. She is currently a sophomore at NYU studying Computer Science and Social and Cultural Analysis. She also debates for the NYU Policy team, where so far she has broken and placed within the top 10 speakers for all but ½ of a tournament. Kathy remains fairly active within the high school LD circuit, judging frequently, and also designed the primary curriculum for Victory Briefs Classroom. She also coaches several independent students, who have either gotten bids or reached bid rounds at several different tournaments. This will be her fifth year at VBI (third as an instructor), and she is super excited to return and work with students!
Darius White competed in high school policy debate for four years at C.E. Byrd high school in Shreveport, Louisiana. After graduating high school, they spent two years coaching for Lafayette high school and within that second year they advanced to six Tournament of Champions (T.O.C) elimination rounds. Upon their graduation, they transferred to South Louisiana Community College (SLCC) and there they served as the Student Government Association for a year. After a year and a half at SLCC he transferred to the University of Oklahoma and has received the recognition of being:
A top sixteen collegiate debater in the 2016-2017, Double Octofinalist appearance of National Debate Tournament (NDT) while also receiving the 17th speaker, Quarter finalist appearance at UMKC, Semifinalist of Gonzaga, the Double Octofinalist of Wake, Doctofinalist of USC, Quarter finalist of Fullerton, and Octofinalist of Northwestern all within their first year of debating in the college circuit. As for this year, they were the Semifinalist of the first half of the UC Berkeley tournament and Double Octofinalist of the second half of the UC Berkeley tournament while also walking away with the 18th speaker.
Maya Xia debated for Katy Taylor High School from 2014-2016 and for the Texas Academy of Math and Science from 2016-2018, where she founded the school’s debate team. She received 3 career bids, bidding her junior year and qualifying to the TOC her senior year. Maya reached elimination rounds at multiple tournaments, including St. Mark’s, Harvard Westlake, Grapevine, UT, UH, and Colleyville. She was also invited to the Kandi King Round Robin and the Valley Sophomore Round Robin. Outside of debate, she works in a neuroscience research lab. Maya attended VBI twice as a student, and she’s excited to return to VBI as an instructor this summer!
Pacy Yan has debated for four years (2014-2018) at Stuyvesant High School, qualifying to the TOC her senior year. She is the current captain of her team and was novice director her junior year. Throughout her career, Pacy has reached the bid round at Blake (twice), Newark (twice), Lexington (twice), Harvard, Penn (walkover), Yale, Emory, Columbia, and Glenbrooks, receiving bids at Lex and Newark. Pacy has received speaker awards at Yale, Blake, Scarsdale, Newark, Ridge, Columbia, and Lexington. Throughout her career, she has received invites to the Harrison, Newark, Byram, Apple Valley, and Harvard Round Robins. Pacy has qualified to the NYS championship four times, reaching semis in varsity her junior year and finals in intermediate her sophomore year. She has also qualified for and cleared at the Catholic Grands Nationals Tournament her junior year. Outside of debate, Pacy enjoys teaching and tutoring younger kids, reading and writing, and music-related activities. Pacy has attended VBI twice as a student and is super excited to teach at VBI!