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Debate Institute Staff


Aubrey Semple:

Aubrey Semple is the Program Director of the New York City Urban Debate League.  Aubrey is also an alumni of the NYCUDL and has been an award winning NYCUDL student debater, coach, volunteer, tabroom director, and Director of our High School Summer Debate Institute.  As Program Director, Aubrey is responsible for all day to day programming, tournaments, outreach, summer camps and everything else to to provide the best debate education opportunities for NYC youth and teachers! Aubrey was the former debate coach at Brooklyn Technical High School and has been coaching for over seven years at various high schools throughout New York City. Aubrey has coached several championship caliber policy debate teams including New York State Debate Coaches Association (NYSDCA) State Champions in Novice (2014) and Junior Varsity (2012) and Co-Champions in Varsity Policy Debate (2013). As a coach, his debaters qualified for elimination rounds in nearly every national circuit tournament including Champions of the New York Invitational at Bronx Science (2013), Quarterfinals at the Harvard Invitational (2013) and qualifying a team to the Tournament of Champions (2014) at the University of Kentucky.  Aubrey received his B.A. from City University of New York in United States History with a concentration in American History and Urban Studies.


Erik Fogel:

Erik Fogel is Director of the New York City Urban Debate League and has been a school teacher and debate coach for 10 years in the South Bronx. He was his high school’s first policy debater at James Logan in California, and competed for four years in Policy Debate, Extemp, and Student Congress. He received his B.A. from U.C. Berkeley, J.D. from Hastings College of Law, M.A. from Pace University and is enrolled in Baruch College’s Masters in Public Administration & Nonprofit Administration.


Jessica McIntosh

Jessica McIntosh has been involved in competitive debate and forensics since 2000. She has competed at both the high school and collegiate levels, winning both state and national acclaim for her public speaking skills.  Additionally, she has coached at the middle, high school, and collegiate levels, leading students to state and national success with multiple state championships and national champion speaker awards in debate, and deep elimination appearances at NSDA in public speaking events.  Her accomplishments have also included multiple national publications in the journal of the Interstate Oratorical Association, advancing social justice issues through persuasive advocacy.  Jessica is committed to increasing debate and public speaking recognition for all age groups and hopes to utilize her experience to create a thriving speech and debate community in New York City.



Arielle Gallegos:

Returning for the third summer, Arielle looks to continue volunteering at the summer camp as a debate coach.

Arielle Gallegos is currently at City College of New York—majoring in International Studies with a minor in English and Marketing. Arielle mentions debate as the reason she looks to push towards a Law degree post-graduation. In High School, Arielle did Public Forum debate for about three years and was an active member of the Travel Team. Some of her awards include: receiving a Council’s Citation in response to her involvement with debate within the community, and being the 2015-2016 NYCUDL Urban Debater of the Year.


Sally Ho:

An upcoming junior at Scarsdale High School, this is Sally’s first summer with the UDL. Although she is young, she has experience teaching via her time as a Girl Scout, and mentoring of Novice debaters her at school. She has been doing Lincoln Douglas debate for two years, and in that short time has become a Varsity national circuit debater.

Outside of debate, she dances pre-professionally and enjoys reading and cooking.


Loretta Brady:

Loretta Brady has encouraged debating for nearly 15 years in such far-flung places as a UN refugee camp in Central Africa, and Harvard’s Summer Debate program in Boston. While Public Forum is her favorite, she originally competed in Speech and Policy in High School at state tournaments, judging and guiding a Worlds competitions in New Orleans.

Last year, Loretta worked with our Columbia Camp (for MS Beginner Parliamentary/Worlds). However, she has worked several summers teaching and designing games and tournament cases with students for PFD at Manhattan’s. Two summers ago worked with MS and HS Public Forum and MS Speech at Harvard’s summer debate programs.

She has been an active member of the UDL community, coaching schools that need help starting a team and running regional scrimmages in the Washington Heights area.

Currently, she is a coach for the PS/MS 278 Debate team.


Samita Rahaman:

Samita has been debating Lincoln Douglas for about 3 years at the Bronx High School of Science. At Bronx Science, she is currently one of the Lincoln-Douglas Novice Directors; where she teaches over 30 novices the fundamental aspects of LD.

Samita will become a senior at the Bronx High School of Science in the fall of 2017. She has competed at multiple prestigious tournaments, including the Harvard Invitational and the Princeton Invitational. Aside from debate, Samita enjoys reading about current scientific advancements and playing chess.


Ananta Wadhwa:

Ananta is rising Junior at Scarsdale High School and has been doing Lincoln-Douglas debate for the past 3 years. As a sophomore and a junior, she broke at numerous national circuit tournaments i.e. Harvard, Byram Hills.

In addition to debating, she is a novice officer. As officer, she helps to teach the novices the basics of debate such as how to argue, how to do prep, etc.

Outside of debate, she studies music, sings, and spend lots of time with friends and family.


Linda Ramseur:

Linda is a first year college student at Simpson College in Iowa. Enrolled in the Criminal Justice Masters degree program and majoring in Psychology, her career goal is to be a Profiler for a federal agency or a psychologist for a federal agency. She says that, “Debate has given me the tools to be able to speak in public and do extensive research on any topic or argument that I use for my papers in college. This has boosted my confidence to even start my own club on campus.”

She has not taught at UDL Camps before, however she has created a policy team at Simpson College to compete on the CEDA level. She teaches them the fundamentals of Kritiks and Performance Affs because of traditional style they are used to.

In addition, she works as the alumni Ambassador for the Chicago UDL, has judged for the New York League recently in December and judged for Middle school and High school debates during her 4 years of being a debater for Acorn Community High School.


David Hartman:

David has a long history with debate. In addition to being a member of the Lincoln-Douglass Debate Team back when he was in high school, he currently teaches Public Forum, public speaking, and Philosophy to both middle and high school. One strategy he likes to use is to also debate with his students during normal classroom discussion, and teach students to debate in classes.

He started the Debate Team at his high school in the spring of 2016. In his first semester, he coached his students to success within the Harlem Debate League, earned the opportunity to compete at the championships at Morgan, Lewis, and Bockius Law Firm in June 2016. This year, students on his team graduated to the Open Public Forum competitions, where they regularly received accolades, often placing in the top 10 competitors.


James Harrison:

James Harrison is a sophomore in high school at the Institute for Collaborative Education. He has debated four years both on the NYCUDL and National Circuit. Most notably, he has won many tournaments including winning City Championships in 2015 and 2016 both in Varsity public forum, along with placing in the top ten in speaker points and team placement at various local tournaments. In addition, he was quarterfinalist at the Fall 2016 Georgetown invitational in Varsity public forum, where he placed for top four speaker. In addition, he was a quarterfinalist at the 2017 Newark invitational for varsity public forum tournament.

He has attended several prestigious tournaments such as the annual Harvard invitational, Stanford invitational, and Columbia invitational. Lastly, he has also been to many summer debate camps, including DDI (Dartmouth Debate Institute), HSCW (Harvard Debate Council Summer Workshops) and NDF (National Debate Forum).

Outside of debate, he also likes to tutor kids in his spare time at school, along with judging at various local middle school debate tournaments over the weekend.


Yasemin Schmitt:

Yasemin is a ninth grader attending The High School for Math, Science and Engineering. While attending Salk School of Science for Middle school, she debated in the parliamentary division for three years. In the seventh and eighth grade, she finished the Middle School State Championships as a semifinalist. Now in High School, Yasemin is a part of the Junior Statesman of America (JSA) which is an organization that that involves the use of individual speaking and bill writing to promote civic engagement.

“Debate has taught me how to think differently and think on my feet. It has helped me build confidence in expressing my views. It showed me how words can be powerful and influence people’s opinions.”

In addition to Debate, she enjoys reading, running, biking and drawing.


Kenya Gordon:

Kenya is currently a tenth grader at Kurt Hahn Expeditionary Learning School in Brooklyn. Long term, her career goal is in the Medical industry, but she likes debate because she can “broaden my knowledge on topics I didn’t know about and I get to have an argument with someone using all the information I have and it’s fun!” She has won team debate medals and an individual speaker awards previously.



Jack Frelich:

A Junior in High School at the Dalton School, Jack has competed on the National Circuit since freshman year in Public Forum and have reached out-rounds at Harvard, Columbia, Princeton, Villager, the NYSFL State Championship, and several other tournaments.

Although he has never worked formally at our camp, he is not new to teaching debate. His debate team creates activities for underclassmen that teach different Public Forum techniques.


Neonne Ameer:

Neonne has worked with the UDL for three years: starting with Saturday classes and tournaments. This eventually helped with the following: ESF Summer Camp – Summer 2016: Teaching elementary school science, arts & craft, and sports. BCC ECC – Fall 2015-Spring 2016: Assistant teacher to pre-school aged students – taught various methods – counting, alphabets, manipulative activities.

Her experience with speech began in college with taking a speech course, and eventually using that as a support to teach others how to do public speaking.

After work, she enjoys helping with all core subjects homework, doing yoga, arts & crafts, and various projects.


Andrew Geathers:

Andrew Geathers is currently the coach at MS 50, but has extensive debate experience. He coached Brooklyn Technical High School for seven years, he has Tabbed for several UDL Tournaments over the years and has taught at the Hunter Camp for 3 years.

As an undergrad, he attended John Jay as a Poli Sci major. He then attended LIU as a SpED major for his master’s. In addition to teaching, he put his efforts into competing as well. He helped put the UDL on the map by being nationally competitive while at the same time helping students realize their greatness in the activity. He was specifically known for his innovative arguments that push the envelope on what is considered critical thinking.

While coaching at Brooklyn Tech, he produced 2 TOC qualified teams, late teams in national competition and multiple state champions.



Ignacio Evans:

Ignacio Evans has been involved in debate since 2006, and has debated for the Baltimore Urban Debate League and as well as Towson University.

As a debater, he co-created several innovative critical arguments such as Black Rage, Nommo (Cultural CP), Black Framework, Quare, and Anti-Blackness to name a few.

As an assistant coach at Towson University, he developed several successful debate teams and cultivated several national college policy debate champions (in 2014-15 with Towson University and 2016 with University of Vermont.)

Ignacio’s coaching success extends to high school students as well, allowing him to be involved with numerous programs in various UDLs across the United States.

We are elated and proud to have Ignacio Evans as a policy debate instructor at the 2017 NYCUDL Scholars Camp for Policy Debate. 


Nevan Edwards:

Nevan currently attends Baltimore City College as a senior in High School. He regularly coaches his peers in Varsity debate during practices and tournaments (when he isn’t competing). At Baltimore City College, he has qualified for the TOC twice with a total of ten bids. Right now, he is finishing his High School debate career with six bids, and looks forward to debating in college. He has committed to Wake Forest University in the Fall and looks forward to majoring in Political Science while there.

“I have a passion and commitment to debate because it has given me opportunities outside of competition and has also advanced my research practice as well as my critical insight of the world.”



Kaley Pillinger:

Kaley Pillinger has been coaching for the UDL for four years and has debated for four years in Public Forum at Hunter College High School (and two in middle school Parli!). She attended the TOC in her sophomore, junior, and senior years, collecting 7 bids total, not including her auto-qualification to the TOC from reaching octafinals at TOC in junior year. As of October 2016, Kaley and her partner Josh were ranked as the second team in the nation and Kaley was the first ranked female debater. Select tournament awards include champion of Big Bronx, aka NYC Invitational (2016); champion of the Princeton Invitational (2015); semifinalist at the Harvard Invitational (2017); third place team at the Harvard Round Robin (2016); and semifinalist at the Yale Invitational (2014). She will be entering her freshman year at Yale in the fall.



Zoe Staum:

Zoe is a rising third-year at Columbia Law School. She graduated from Lafayette College with a B.A. in Asian Studies and Philosophy. One of the reasons why she loves debate is because you enjoy a great community and develop critical thinking skills. This is also the best way to practice public speaking.

She served as Director of Debate at Truman State University, where her students competed in NFA-LD and parli. In college she competed in NFA-LD and was a semifinalist at NFAs.


Claire Liu:

Claire has debated for two years on the Lincoln Douglas debate team at Stuyvesant High School located in lower Manhattan. She is currently a rising junior and has reached outrounds of several varsity tournaments. As a sophomore she has reached octafinals of Columbia, receiving tenth speaker. She has also reached semifinals of the New York State Tournament. Outside of debate, she enjoys playing the oboe, doing yoga and baking.


Kadija Sedibeh:

Kadija is currently in 10th grade and attends the Young Women’s Leadership School of the Bronx. She has also received in speaker awards in the top 10 and 20 at our UDL Locals.