Learn from the Best
Effective Public Forum instructors need to stay up to date with its constantly changing styles. This summer, VBI PF's staff will feature some of the most innovative minds in the event: some who have been responsible for setting the event's stylistic tone and others who have coached against the trend-setters. To select our faculty, we pruned the debate family tree for instructors who could communicate their creative, fresh, and humble outlooks on debate. We recognize Public Forum's dynamism, so in selecting our staff, we have placed great importance on competitive and coaching success on a wide variety of circuits throughout the past four years.
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.
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.
Matthew Salah is the Director of Public Forum Debate at Victory Briefs. Matt Salah debated for four years at the Nueva High School in San Mateo, California. As a member of the first graduating class of his high school, Matt played a large role in founding and establishing the debate team at Nueva. Some of his most notable accomplishments include championing the Tournament of Champions (2017), the ASU Invitational (2017), and the Bronx Science Tournament (2015). Now, Matt coaches debate for Horace Mann High School, and studies political science and economics at Swarthmore college. He is returning to VBI for his third year.
Krithika is the Public Forum Curriculum Director at Victory Briefs. She is a two-time qualifier to the Texas Forensic Association State tournament in both Public Forum and Domestic Extemp. She has competed in late out-rounds of every national tournament she has attended since sophomore year including the University of Texas, Harvard, University of Pennsylvania, Bellaire, ASU, Dowling and the International Tournament of Champions. She has received invites to round robins such as the Bellaire Round Robin (reaching semifinals her sophomore year), Kandi King Round Robin, Harvard Round Robin and Berkeley Round Robin. Her senior year she championed the Grapevine Classic tournament (in addition to winning top speaker with perfect speaker points), Colleyville Heritage tournament and the Myers Park Invitational and has been ranked as high as #1 in the nation by Debate Rankings. After attending VBI three times as a student, she looks forward to returning as an instructor!
Philip is a senior at the Hackley School located in New York where has debated for 4 years and served as PF captain for both his junior and senior years. He has collected 6 bids to the tournament of champions, reaching late outrounds at Glenbrooks, University of Kentucky, Bronx, Princeton, Columbia and championing Scarsdale. During his senior year, he had been ranked as high as 7th in the country by NSD PF rankings
Kayla attended Newton South in MA where she was a co-captain of the debate team. As a debater, she advanced to out rounds at tournaments like Princeton, GMU, Columbia, and Lex, notably octafinaling at Harvard, finaling at UPenn, and championing Massachusetts States. Kayla is currently a sophomore at UC Berkeley and has since worked as an assistant coach at the Nueva School, where her students have reached late out rounds at tournaments like the UK Season Opener and the Cal Invitational. She's excited to be at VBI this summer!
Danny is a senior at Lincoln Sudbury High School where he’s debated for two years. In his junior year, he collected seven bids to the tournament of champions. He won the University of Kentucky tournament and the Manchester Invitational, reached finals at the New York City Invitational, semifinals at the Crestian Tradition, quarterfinals at the Harvard Invitational, and placed sixth at the NSDA National Tournament. He has been ranked as high as first on Vbriefly.
Chris Conrad debated for the Nueva School, where he amassed 5 bids to the Tournament of Champions in his senior year, won the Kandi King Round Robin, and reached finals of the James Logan Martin Luther King Invitational. Since graduating, he has primarily worked as an assistant coach for The Hill School in Pennsylvania. Chris is super excited to keep coaching at VBI this summer!
Isabel Coleman competed in public forum for four years at The Altamont School, serving as captain for three of those years. She received six gold bids to the TOC senior year and placed second at ASU and the Ivy Street Round Robin. Isabel has championed several tournaments throughout her career, including Holy Cross and Carrollton. She has also been ranked as high as fifth on debaterankings.com. She has enjoyed teaching those on her team and local circuit for the least three years and is looking forward to doing the same at VBI this summer!
Malcolm was co-captain of the debate team at Newton South High School in Massachusetts. As a debater, he championed the Bronx Round Robin, finished second the Harvard Round Robin, finished second at Columbia, reached semifinals of the Yale Invitational, and reached quarterfinals of the Tournament of Champions. Since graduating, Malcolm has worked as an assistant coach at Strath Haven High School in Pennsylvania. This year, Malcolm's students have championed the Bronx Round Robin, the Villiger invitational at St. Joseph's University, a The Lexington Winter Invitational, and reached elimination rounds at Bronx and Yale. Malcolm is very excited to work at VBI this summer!
Pia is a senior at the College Preparatory School in Oakland where she's debated for three years and has been a captain for two. She has qualified to the Tournament of Champions three times and received 8 career bids. She reached finals at Stanford and semifinals at both Alta and Minneapple, and made other outround appearances at many national circuit tournaments. She has received speaker awards including fourth at Stanford and Glenbrooks. Pia attended VBI the summer before her junior year and is excited to return as an instructor!
Sebastian is a senior at La Salle High School in Pasadena, California, where he has debated Public Forum for three years and currently serves as the captain of his team. He has competed in outrounds at many national circuit tournaments, including ASU, Emory, Bronx, and Berkeley, as well as NSDA Nationals. During his senior year, he broke at every tournament he attended, earning four bids and four speaker awards in six tournaments. Seb is thrilled to be working at VBI this summer!
Marybeth debated for Newsome High School, where she served as president of the debate team for two years. She was the first student from her school to reach elimination rounds at a national circuit tournament and the first to attend the TOC. Marybeth made late outround appearances at numerous tournaments such as Harvard, Glenbrooks, Emory, and NSDA nationals. Additionally, she earned multiple speaker awards at tournaments including Blue Key and Crestian. Marybeth is looking forward to teaching at VBI again!
Andrew Huang has participated in Public Forum Debate for three years in high school at Lake Mary Prep in Orlando and is currently the Debate Captain. He and his partner semi-finaled at 2018 Yale Invitational and the 2018 Sunvitational, quartered at the 2018 NCFL Nationals, and championed the 2018 International Public Forum at NSDA, the Blue Key Round Robin, The Tradition Round Robin, and the Tradition Cypress Bay Tournament. He and his partner finished has been ranked as high as 1st on PF rankings. His individual accomplishments includes speaker awards at TOC, Stanford, Yale, University of Kentucky, and Blake. He is extremely excited to join VBI this summer!
Ryan is a senior at Corona del Sol High School in Arizona, where he founded the PFD program his freshman year. He has amassed 5 career bids to the Tournament of Champions, qualifying his junior and senior years. Most notably, he championed the Bronx Science Tournament, the Golden Desert Invitational, and both the Presentation and Millard North Round Robins. He also reached late out-rounds at Glenbrooks, Yale, ASU, and NSDA Nationals. Individually, he received speaker awards at numerous tournaments, including at the Tournament of Champions, Glenbrooks, and Yale. He has been ranked as high as 2nd in the country. Ryan is very excited to work with VBI this summer!
Amala is a senior at Hunter College High School where she is a president of the debate team. She has amassed 8 bids and one auto-qualification (from NCFLs 2018) to the Tournament of Champions and reached semifinals or further at Harvard, Princeton, and UPenn. She has also received top 5 speaker awards at Lexington, Harvard, Princeton, Ridge, and UK. Amala is excited to work with students at VBI this summer!
Ethan is a senior at Horace Mann high school in the Bronx, where he serves as a team president. He has reached octofinals at Columbia and Princeton, and quarterfinals at Bronx and Blake. He is also a three-time qualifier to NSDA Nationals, where he placed 14th his junior year, earning an auto-qualification to the 2019 Tournament of Champions and NSDA National Tournament. He looks forward to teaching at VBI this summer!
Russell debated Public Forum for 4 years at Strath Haven High School in Pennsylvania, and currently studies Economics and Math at the University of Chicago. He was his debate team's captain, as well as the first on his team ever to break at a national circuit tournament. Over his career, he amassed 9 bids, qualifying to the TOC both his junior and senior year. He has made appearances in late outrounds at many national tournaments, including Yale, Bronx, GMU, Harvard, and the TOC. Russell also has won UPenn, the Bronx Round Robin, Villiger, Lexington, and Pennsbury, as well as numerous speaker awards. He finished his career ranked 3rd in the country.
Anna Kate Lembke is a senior at The Altamont School in Birmingham, Alabama. She has competed in public forum debate for four years, serving as the captain her senior year, and throughout her career has reached outrounds at Apple Valley, Bronx, Carrolton, Yale, Blue Key, and others. In her senior year she qualified to the Tournament of Champions, championed Holy Cross, and has been ranked as highly as 15th in the nation. She is also the founder of Beyond Resolved, an empowerment website for girls in debate.
Sajan Mehrotra is a senior at Horace Mann School in New York. He has qualified to the Tournament of Champions twice and reached late elimination rounds at a variety of national tournaments, including quarterfinals at Bronx and Blake. In addition, he was 6th speaker at Bronx, 8th speaker at Blake, and 10th speaker at Harvard. During his junior year, he placed 14th and received an autoqual at NSDA nationals and was ranked as high as 18th in the nation by VBriefly.
Jake Mengarelli debated for four years at the Nueva High School in San Mateo, California. As a member of the first graduating class of his high school, Jake played a large role in founding and establishing the debate team at Nueva. Over his career, he amassed 9 bids to the ToC and won the Tournament of Champions (2017), the ASU Invitational (2017), and the Bronx Science Tournament (2015). Jake now studies politics, philosophy and economics at the University of Pennsylvania.
Tim O'Shea competed in Public Forum for 4 years at Ridge High School in New Jersey. He made multiple deep outround appearances including the final rounds of CFL Nationals, Villiger, and Lexington. He also championed the Princeton Invitational and was top speaker at the Tournament of Champions, where he made it to finals. He ended his senior year ranked 3rd in the country. He later coached the champions of Havard, CFL Nationals, and Blake, as well as deep outround appearances at Berkeley, NSDAs, and Bronx. He is a senior at George Mason University, where he studies Government and International Politics.
Jasper Ou is currently in his fifth year debating at Lake Highland Preparatory School in Orlando, Florida where he serves as Captain of Public Forum. Jasper has amassed 8 bids to the Tournament of Champions, where he has qualified three times. Jasper has also reached deep elimination rounds at various tournaments including: Championing the Blue Key Invitational and the Berkeley Round Robin as well as reaching finals at the Berkeley Invitational, Glenbrooks Invitational, and Yale Invitational in addition to earning numerous speaker awards. As of 12/17/18, Jasper and his partner are ranked #1 in the nation. Jasper is very excited to work with the students at VBI this summer!
Lee competed in Public Forum at Trinity Prep and served as team captain his senior year. In 2 years of national circuit competition, Lee reached late outrounds at Florida Blue Key (twice), NDCA, Yale, Grapevine, Apple Valley, Emory, and Berkeley. Lee amassed 10 total bids to the Tournament of Champions throughout his career. In postseason competition, Lee qualified to FFL States, NSDA Nationals, and the UK TOC both his junior and senior years. His junior year he had a winning record at TOC and placed 7th overall and NSDA Nationals. His senior year he reached quarterfinals at FFL States, semi finals at TOC, and outrounds of NSDA Nationals. Lee peaked on the rankings April of his senior year being ranked #1 in Public Forum. In his 2 years of coaching Lee's students have won the Silver TOC, Alta, ASU, Santa Clara University’s tournament, and closed-out UOP. He is now a Freshman at UC Berkeley, planning to study Business Administration and Public Policy. He is incredibly excited to be returning to VBI to coach this summer.
Anjali is a current senior at the Nueva School in San Mateo, California where she’s competed on the Public Forum debate team for four years. She’s attended various national-level tournaments and reached out rounds several times, including reaching Quarterfinals at the Berkeley Invitational. She’s qualified to and attended the Tournament of Champions in her sophomore and junior year. Anjali and her partner have been ranked as high as 24th on VBreifly. She looks forward to working at VBI this summer!
Kate Selig debated for The Bromfield School in Massachusetts, serving as team co-captain during her junior and senior years. She has broken at every tournament she has attended since junior year, reaching quarterfinals at Columbia and Harvard, making her the first debater from her school to qualify to the TOC. She was also named the top speaker at Yale and semifinaled at her state tournament. Kate attended VBI as a student three times and is very excited to return as an instructor this summer!
Ahana Sen attended Quarry Lane School, where she has served as her team’s vice-captain for two years. She was a founding member of her team and she and her partner were the first students at Quarry Lane to earn a bid/qualify to the Tournament of Champions. She advanced to outrounds at many tournaments including Glenbrooks, ASU, Berkeley and the NCFL GNT. Most notably, she reached octafinals at the TOC, semi-finals at the Barkley Forum and Stanford and championed Alta. She is looking forward to working at VBI this summer.
Roshni competed in Public Forum for four years at Archbishop Mitty High School in San Jose, California, serving as Public Forum Captain and Vice President of Debate for three of those years. She reached late out rounds and received a total of seven bids at various competitive national tournaments, including the Stanford, Berkeley, and Glenbrooks invitationals, as well as winning the Voices invitational and advancing to elimination rounds at the Tournament of Champions.
Gigi competed in Public Forum for four years at Evanston Township High School. Throughout her career, she semifinaled at Blake, championed Middleton, the Millard North Round Robin, and the Glenbrooks Round Robin, and qualified to the Tournament of Champions twice, reaching outrounds her senior year. Her individual accomplishments include top speaker at the Tournament of Champions, Mid-America Cup, Millard North, and the Glenbrooks Round Robin. Gigi will be a sophomore at Columbia University next year and she is very excited to work at VBI this summer!
Grace debated in Public Forum for four years at The Nueva School in San Mateo. She has competed in out rounds at over a dozen national tournaments, including reaching quarter finals at Berkeley in her junior year. She has also attended both the Silver and Gold Tournament of Champions. Grace is very excited to work with students at VBI this summer!
Tucker is a senior at Hackley High School in Tarrytown New York, where he has debated for four years and has served as captain of the team for his junior and senior years. He has collected 5 bids to the Tournament of Champions, reaching Quarterfinals at University of Kentucky, Glenbrooks, and Bronx, as well as semifinals at Columbia and has championed the Scarsdale Invitational. He has been ranked as high as 19th in the country by Debate Rankings.
David Wornow debated at College Prep in Oakland, California, serving as the Team Captain his junior and senior years. He qualified to TOC all 4 years, amassing 11 career bids. David has been ranked as high as 7th his senior year and has consistently been in the top 20 during his high school career, including ranking 15th as a freshman. David has reached late out-rounds at several national tournaments, including Minneapple, Harker, and Stanford. His most notable achievements include finals at ASU and Harker and semi-finals at Emory. Aside from his own debate, David also founded the Head Royce Middle School Debate program and helped coach the middle school team to a 6th place finish at nationals in the program’s second year. David can’t wait to work at VBI this summer!