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, a PhD candidate in philosophy at New York University, and (starting fall 2019) assistant professor of philosophy at the University of Southern California. Before coming to NYU, he was an undergraduate at Princeton and a graduate student at Oxford. As a coach, his students have won the TOC, NDCA, the Dukes & Bailey Cup, the Glenbrooks, the Harvard RR, Bronx, Emory, TFA State, and other national, regional, and local championships. As a debater, he won the Glenbrooks (twice), Greenhill (twice), Harvard, Emory, Bronx, the Bronx Round Robin, the MBA Round Robin, the VBT Round Robin, and the FFL State Championship, was in finals of NSDA Nationals, and was top speaker at the TOC, Greenhill, Harvard, Bronx (twice), the Bronx Round Robin (twice), Yale (twice), the Vassar Round Robin, the Crestian Classic, and the FFL State Championship. He attended VBI three times as a student and has worked at 31 sessions.
Areas of Expertise: Theory Debate, Philosophy Debate, Traditional Debate, Research, Innovation, Strategy, Critical Thinking
Chris Theis is Executive Director of Victory Briefs. He currently coaches for his alma mater, Apple Valley High School (MN). He has previously coached students from Palos Verdes Peninsula High School (CA), Trinity Preparatory School (FL), Winston Churchill (TX). He currently sits on the National Debate Coaches Association’s Executive Committee, the National Speech Association Lincoln-Douglas Topic Wording Committee, and the Tournament of Champions (TOC) Lincoln-Douglas Committee.
As a coach, his students have consistently reached elimination rounds at the Tournament of Champions, 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 three juniors to ever win the Tournament of Champions and is the only person to win the tournament 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.
SunHee Simon is Director of Lincoln-Douglas Debate 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 focuses on coaching a few students while she finishes up school. She has helped her students get to late elims, finals, and/or championships of national tournaments like the Glenbrooks, NDCA, Berkeley, Emory, and the TOC. This is SunHee's fifth year with VBI.
Anthony Berryhill is Managing Director at Victory Briefs. He holds a B.A. in Political Science from Stanford University, is an alumnus of Yale’s Ph.D. Program in Political Theory and holds an M.B.A. Anthony is currently a Learning and Development Manager for GLG, a learning platform which helps the world’s largest financial institutions with their research needs. At GLG Anthony helps lead the company’s onboarding, diversity/inclusion and operational training programs. As a coach Anthony has coached TOC champions (most recently in International Public Forum in 2017) and late elim round participants at NCFL and NSDA. As a competitor he qualified to national championships in LD, Extemp and Senate Legislative Debate his senior year. As an instructor Anthony specializes in critical theory, argument analysis, refutation and building debaters' confidence. This will be Anthony’s fifth summer with VBI.
Devane Murphy is Assistant Managing Director at Victory Briefs. Devane 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.
Marshall Thompson is a Director of Instructional Design & Curriculum 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 ninth summer at VBI.
Nick Smith is the Squads Manager and a Director of Instructional Design & Curriculum at Victory Briefs. He studied Political Science and Philosophy at the University of Minnesota. He was the Director of Debate at Hopkins for four years, a coach at St. Thomas Academy & The Visitation School, in addition to privately coaching several students. He now is the head coach at Apple Valley High School. His students have won multiple state championships, reached late elimination rounds at many major national tournaments, received numerous round robin invitations, and have frequently qualified to the TOC, NSDA Nationals, NDCA Nationals, and NCFLs. Nick has worked at twenty eight sessions of the Victory Briefs Institute.
Brianna Aaron is currently a Policy debater at Wake Forest University. She debated for Newark Science (NJ) for six years, ranging from Policy to Lincoln-Douglas to Worlds School. Over her two and a half year participation in Lincoln-Douglas, she has amassed 10 LD TOC bids and has reached elims of various national tournaments. Her most notable achievements are championing the 2017 Glenbrooks Invitational and round robin, the 2016 Holy Cross round robin, the 2017 Blake Invitational, reaching quarterfinals of TOC as a junior, attaining Top 12 at the 2017 NSDA nationals, She has also reached semifinals of NDCA, octafinals of the TOC, and has obtained the Dukes and Bailey cup for year long excellence. Brianna is very excited to be working as an instructor at VBI again!
Areas of Expertise: Kritik Debate, Ethos
Ronak Ahuja debated for 4 years in both Lincoln Douglas and Policy Debate. Receiving 3 career bids in policy debate and 7 in LD, Ronak qualified to the TOC their junior and senior year. Ronak won Harvard Westlake their junior year and won top speaker their senior year. Additionally, Ronak championed Loyola 2018 and the Presentation RR, as well as finished third at the California RR. They have also made it to finals/semifinals of various tournaments such as Loyola 2017, CPS, Blake, Golden Desert, La Costa Canyon and Jack howe. They specialize in critical curriculum, especially postmodernism, achieving a large amount of success with arguments like Psychoanalysis and Baudrillard.
Areas of Expertise: Kritik Debate
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, 2017, 2018 and is returning this year for his fourth year.
Areas of Expertise: Policy Arguments, Kritik Debate, Traditional Debate, Ethos, Research
Ishan debated for St. Andrew’s Episcopal School in Mississippi for four years, participating in mostly Lincoln-Douglas Debate. As a competitor, he championed the 2018 National Speech and Debate Association tournament and the 44th Harvard Invitational and Round Robin. Ishan also placed 2nd at the National Catholic Forensic League Nationals and 5th at the Tournament of Champions. In addition to his Lincoln-Douglas career, Ishan also was a member of the USA Debate Team his senior year. He attended the Victory Briefs Institute before his senior year and is excited to return as a staff member.
Areas of Expertise: Policy Arguments, Kritik Debate, Ethos
Tiffany Chang debated in LD for four years at Phillips Academy Andover in Massachusetts. She earned 4 TOC bids as a junior and was a finalist at the Princeton Invitational, a semifinalist at the Yale Invitational, an octafinalist at the Harvard Invitational, and a quarterfinalist at the College Prep Invitational. She placed in the top ten speakers at Bronx, Yale, Princeton, and Glenbrooks. She attended VBI as a student and is excited to return as an instructor this summer!
Areas of Expertise: Kritik Debate, Philosophy Debate
Eric debated for San Marino High School in California on the national circuit in LD for 2 years. During his high school career, he received 5 career bids at tournaments like Stanford, Long Beach, Harvard Westlake, Presentation, and Loyola. He also received speaker awards at Greenhill, Long Beach, Stanford, Presentation, Loyola, and Peninsula, as well as receiving invites to the King, Cal, Voices, and debateLA round robins. He finished his career in octofinals of the Tournament of Champions. Currently, Eric does policy debate at NYU and is excited to return to VBI for the third year, second as an instructor.
Areas of Expertise: Kritik Debate, Policy Debate, Ethos
Sean Fahey debated for Benjamin Franklin High School in New Orleans, Louisiana as an independent LD debater. He qualified to the TOC twice and was an NCFL national finalist. He now primarily studies English at Tulane University and is an LD coach at the Brentwood School. His students have reached late elims of large bid tournaments such as Berkeley, Bronx, and Harvard-Westlake, as well as semi-finals of the Tournament of Champions and finals of the NSDA tournament. Sean has a long working history with major LD debate camps and this will be his third year teaching at VBI.
Areas of Expertise: Theory Debate, Kritik Debate, Philosophy Debate, Traditional Debate
Andrew Garber debated LD for four years at the Cambridge Rindge and Latin School in Massachusetts, where he was the co-captain of the team for two years. He qualified to the TOC his junior and senior years, winning the Penn RR and reaching finals of Yale. As co-captain, he helped grow the CRLS debate team and has experience teaching younger debaters. Outside of debate, Andrew enjoys eating and running. Andrew attended VBI thrice as a student and is excited to work as an instructor this summer!
Areas of Expertise: Theory Debate, Philosophy Debate
Ryan Hemnarine currently debates for Rutgers University Newark and has been in outrounds of every tournament. He used to debate for University High School in Newark, New Jersey, and was the first debater from his school to qualify to the Tournament of Champions. He has earned three bids to the TOC where he was top speaker and semifinalist. Ryan won the Newark Invitational, received bids at the John Edie Holiday Debates, the Newark Invitational, and the Cal Invitational. He was number one seed at Lexington and octofinalist, fourth speaker at the National Debate Coaches Association National Championship and octofinalist, undefeated at the Ridge Debates, and was invited to the Harrison RR. Ryan is excited to return to VBI as an instructor!
Areas of Expertise: Kritik Debate
Willie Johnson is the head coach of the Rutgers University Newark national championship debate team. With over 16 years of experience as a debater, coach, educator and administrator. Coaching multiple teams to qualify to the TOC, multiple state/national championships and elimination rounds, leading the 2017 NDT and CEDA champion team, multiple collegiate championships and team awards including ranking top 10 overall debate teams in the nation. As a member of the Victory Briefs family for the last few years he has worked with students teaching the important elements of progression in debate.
Areas of Expertise: Policy Arguments, Kritik Debate, Traditional Debate, Ethos, Performance debate
Sai Karavadi debated on the national circuit in LD for the Quarry Lane School from 2015 to 2019, breaking at numerous national bid tournaments and working with underprivileged students and younger debaters as a mentor. Sai also helped pioneer the LD program at their school and was captain of speech and debate in their senior year. They earned 4 career bids and reached 14 bid rounds. Sai was also a quarterfinalist at the 2018 Newark Invitational, a quarterfinalist at the 2018 Greenhill Fall Classic, a semifinalist at the 2018 Presentation Invitational, a quarterfinalist at the 2018 Bronx Invitational, a double-octofinalist at the 2018 Tournament of Champions, and received speaker awards at numerous tournaments, such as 13th speaker at TOC and top speaker at Bronx. They have also received invitations to multiple round robins, semifinalled at the Voices Round Robin, are a former recipient of the VBI Community Equity Scholarship, and helped organize the Quarry Lane Womxn's Tournament. Outside of debate, Sai enjoys singing, playing chess, and watching kdramas. Sai has been to all 3 VBI sessions in the past 3 summers and is very excited to return as a staff member!
Areas of Expertise: Theory Debate, Kritik Debate, Ethos, Performance Debate
Eva Lamberson competed in Lincoln Douglas for four years at Canfield High School in Ohio, where she served as the president of her team in 2018. Throughout her career, Eva succeeded at many tournaments in Ohio, advancing to break rounds and winning multiple tournaments. She was a two time state qualifier in LD, where she advanced to break rounds both years. Eva was a two time NCFL Grand National Tournament qualifier, a tournament which she championed in 2018. Eva was also a two time NSDA National qualifier, where she advanced to round twelve both years, placing fifteenth in 2017 and eleventh in 2018. During the season, she is a volunteer coach at Liberty High School. She attends Youngstown State University where she studies philosophy, English, and religion and competes on the Ethics Bowl team. This will be her second year at VBI.
Areas of Expertise: Philosophy Debate, Traditional Debate
Beau A. Larsen (they/them) is a collegiate debate coach at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington. They graduated summa cum laude from the University of Southern California in 2018, studying Gender and Sexuality Studies and American Studies and Ethnicity. Larsen debated at USC for four years, receiving two first round bids to the National Debate Tournament and making it elimination rounds at the NDT three years in a row. During their senior year at USC, Beau was also awarded Top Speaker of the 2018 Cross Examination Debate Association (CEDA) Tournament and the Brian "Baby Jo" Johnston Debater of the Year award. In high school, Beau received six policy bids to the Tournament of Champions and was the Top Speaker of the 2014 Berkeley tournament. Larsen has an absolute passion for teaching, and particularly enjoys the rigor and intensity of coaching debate.
Areas of Expertise: Kritik Debate, Ethos/Pathos, Argument Innovation
Jacob Lugo debated for Winston Churchill High School for three years in LD and Policy and currently debate for the University of Texas in Austin. On the national circuit, they cleared at and received speaker awards from Grapevine, Colleyville, and Berkeley. Additionally, they qualified for NSDA Nationals (LD) and UIL and TFA State (Policy and LD). They attended VBI both as a student (2015) and as an instructor (2017/2018) and are excited to be back for another summer!
Areas of Expertise: Policy Arguments, Kritik Debate, Traditional Debate, Ethos
Michelle Li debated for Hunter College High School from 2014-2018, serving as novice director her junior year. She competed at the Tournament of Champions her senior year. Michelle reached elimination rounds at several national tournaments, including Yale, Scarsdale, Princeton, Newark, Lexington, and Harvard. She also competed at the Byram Hills and Harrison Round Robins, reaching semifinals at the latter. She now attends NYU, where she does policy debate. On the high school LD circuit, she coaches multiple independent debaters. Michelle attended VBI three times as a student, and is excited to return for her second summer as an instructor!
Areas of Expertise: Theory Debate, Kritik Debate
Jacob Nails debated 4 years for Starr's Mill High School (GA) in Lincoln Douglas debate, graduating in 2012. As a competitor, he won the Georgia state tournament, cleared at NSDA nationals, and qualified to the TOC. In college, he qualified twice to the National Debate Tournament in policy debate. Jacob has 7 years of experience coaching LD debate, including coaching debaters to top seed at the TOC, as well as Top Speaker awards at Harvard, Yale, and Bronx. He has taught at fifteen sessions of the Victory Briefs Institute.
Areas of Expertise: Policy Arguments, Theory Debate, Philosophy Debate, Research
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 first black women to do so on the team in OU's history. Since then, she was a Semifinalist of the first half of the UC Berkeley tournament and Double Octofinalist of the second half of the UC Berkeley tournament. The summer of 2017 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 in 2019. 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!
Areas of Expertise: Policy Arguments, Kritik Debate, Philosophy Debate, Ethos
Christian Quiroz will be teaching at VBI for his fifth year as an instructor and will be serving as an assistant to the LD Director. In college, he debated for Rutgers-Newark where he attended the NDT as a freshman and made multiple finals appearances at local Northeastern tournaments. 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. As a coach, Christian has had students appear in the finals of many national tournaments such as Bronx, Glenbrooks, and Harvard.
Areas of Expertise: Kritik Debate, Philosophy Debate, Ethos
Osmane debated for Science Park High School (More commonly known as Newark Science) in New Jersey for four years, participating in mostly Lincoln-Douglas Debate. As a competitor, he championed the 2017 Holy Cross Invitational. Osmane also placed Quarterfinals at the UC-Berkeley, Apple Valley, and Blake tournaments and Double Octofinals at the Tournament of Champions. In addition to his Lincoln-Douglas career, Osmane had a few occasional appearances on the policy circuit. He attended the Victory Briefs Institute during his senior year and is excited to return as a staff member.
Areas of Expertise: Kritik Debate, Ethos, Research, In-Round Presence
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. A self described "camp-mom", 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 fifth year attending VBI and she is excited to be returning for her fourth year as an instructor.
Areas of Expertise: Kritik Debate, Traditional Debate, Ethos, Research
Niki Vasan debated for Presentation High School in San Jose, California where she was captain of her school's LD team and active member of the policy team. Last year, she received 6 speaker awards and reached elimination rounds and seven tournaments, including octofinalist at NDCA, semifinalist at Alta (receiving a bid to the TOC), octofinalist at Jack Howe, champion and top speaker of the Quarry Lane Womxn's Round Robin, as well as double-octofinalist and fourth speaker at Stanford. In policy, she was the first team from her school to obtain competitive success on the national circuit. She was a double octofinalist and 18th speaker at ASU, as well as top seed, octofinalist and 8th speaker at Jack Howe. She attended VBI as a student last year and is excited to return as an instructor!
Areas of Expertise: Kritik Debate, Ethos, Research
Kathy Wang is an assistant to the LD Director and instructor at Victory Briefs this summer. She debated in LD for Stuyvesant High School for 4 years, graduating in 2016. She now attends New York University with a double major in Computer Science and Social and Cultural Analysis. As a debater, she consistently broke at tournaments and spent most of her time mentoring younger students. She has now coached multiple debaters to outrounds and speaker awards at several bid tournaments. She also currently debates for the NYU policy debate team, breaking and attaining speaker awards regularly. This is her 6th year at VBI and her 4th as an instructor, leading lab at all different levels of debate.
Areas of Expertise: Policy Arguments, Theory Debate, Kritik Debate, Research
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, DoubleOctofinalist of USC, Quarter finalist of Fullerton, and Octofinalist of Northwestern all within their first year of debating in the college circuit. 2017-2018 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. He is excited to return to VBI as an instructor!
Areas of Expertise: Policy Arguments, Kritik Debate, Ethos, Research
Lindsey Williams debated for four years at Sprague High School in Salem, Oregon. During that time, she reached out rounds at a number of top tournaments on the west coast, including Berkeley, University of Puget Sound, Lewis and Clark, Meadows, and Central Valley. She also won and took top speaker at numerous local tournaments, including three state championships in IEs. As of writing this, she has qualified three times to NSDA Nationals and once to the TOC, making her the second student in her school's history to do so; prior to graduation, she served as captain of the Sprague debate team and designed the curriculum for local debate seminars, coaching both progressive and traditional LD. This will be her first year teaching at VBI.
Areas of Expertise: Policy Arguments, Philosophy Debate, Traditional Debate
Pacy Yan, now a student at NYU, debated Lincoln-Douglas for four years at Stuyvesant High School, qualifying to the TOC her senior year. She was captain of her team her senior year and 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 return for her second year as an instructor.
Areas of Expertise: Theory Debate, Kritik Debate, Philosophy Debate
Carolyn debated for two years at Pennsbury High School in Lincoln-Douglas and Policy debate. They read primarily policy and kritikal arguments, and qualified to TOC. They championed the Beltway Invitational and were invited to the California, Apple Valley, Newark, Quarry Lane, and Lake Highland round robins. Carolyn earned the top speaker award at the Newark round robin, and other speaker awards at the Newark, Apple Valley, Meadows, Beltway, Princeton, and Blake tournaments. They attended VBI twice as a student and are excited to return as an instructor!
Areas of Expertise: Policy Arguments, Kritik Debate, Ethos