Faculty

Stay tuned for updates to our 2017 Faculty….

2016 Faculty

Kristiana Baez
Faculty
Kristiana Baez started her debate career at Norman High School where she competed for four years. She continued to debate at the University of Oklahoma, earning awards at multiple university competitions including the Cross Examination Debate Association national tournament. She received a BA in International Security Studies with a minor in Middle Eastern Studies. Kristiana is currently a Graduate Assistant at Baylor University and is coaching their debate team. She was previously an Assistant Coach for UTSA’s competitive debate program and assisted in coaching students from Caddo Magnet High School.
Ellen Baker
Instructional Assistant
I debated at Lincoln Prep in Kansas City for 4 years and am stoked to debate at West Virginia in the fall. I like long walks on the beach and eating goldfish by the shovel full.
Emily Bosch
Faculty
Emily is currently finishing up her Master's degree in Communication Studies at the University of Kansas. Starting in September 2016, she will serve as the new assistant director of debate at Concordia College in Moorhead, MN. As a coach at KU, she assisted in coaching a team to the finals of the NDT in 2016 as well as many speaker awards and elimination round appearances. As a competitor, Emily debated for four years at Yankton High School in South Dakota; in college, she was a two-time National Debate Tournament (NDT) qualifier for Concordia.
Leah Castella
Executive Director
Leah Castella, JD Co-Chair of the Board. Leah started her debate career at Duncanville High School in Duncanville, Texas where she competed in LD, extemp, and oratory for four years. She went on to compete as a policy debater for four years at Lewis & Clark College. While there, she won numerous awards, including a quarterfinals finish and a third place speaker award at the 1995 CEDA National Tournament. After finishing at Lewis & Clark, Leah went on to attend law school at the University of Texas School of Law, and graduated with honors in 1999. While there, Leah coached the debate team at Southwest Texas State University. Leah is now a full time litigator. She has been practicing in the San Francisco Bay area since 1999, and is a partner at Burke, Williams & Sorensen. In addition to her work with the WDI, Leah is on the Board of Directors of the Bay Area Urban Debate Commission and coaches the Jessup Moot Court team at Boalt Hall (UC-Berkeley).
Kassandra (Kassie/Kass) Colón
Resident Assistant
Kassandra (Kassie/Kass) is a former debater from Fort Lauderdale High School, and currently debates for West Virginia University. This year, they were recognized as a finalist for Emory University's Melissa Maxcy Wade Social Justice Award for their contributions to communities in and out of the debate. Kassie is a facilitator for WDI@CAL, and will work at Cal and the Spartan Debate Institute this summer. They will be joining the WDI as a Board Member, Public Relations Intern, and Resident Assistant.
Laurel Eddins
Laurel is a first year at Wake Forest University. She graduated from Oak Hill School in Eugene, Oregon where she helped start the school's debate program in her sophomore year, and competed in Policy Debate, Lincoln Douglas debate, and Extemporaneous Speaking. She is the state champion in Extemporaneous Speaking and had qualified for NSDA nationals all three years she's done debate.
Sarah Evans
Camp Administrator
Sarah debated for 3 years for Baylor University, where she qualified for the NDT twice and cleared at multiple collegiate national debate tournaments reading both policy and (later) critical arguments. She also debated for Blue Valley North High School in Kansas, where she placed 2nd at the NCFL national tournament.
Sarah Glaser
WDI Finance Director
Sarah Glaser is on the WDI Board of Directors and is the Director of Finance. She has been a part of the WDI since 2005. Sarah is also a fisheries ecologist who works as a research scientist at an NGO near Denver called One Earth Future. There, she works on fisheries sustainability and management in East African fisheries. She is also a research scientist at the University of Denver's Korbel School of International Studies. Sarah earned a PhD from Scripps Institution of Oceanography and she misses the ocean!
LaToya Green
Faculty
LaToya is the Director of Debate at California State University-Fullerton. Green lectures yearly at debate institutes around the country including the University of Texas National Institute in Forensics , the Summer Debate Institute (University of Missouri-Kansas City), and the Eddie Conway Liberation Institute (Morgan State University). LaToya enjoys coaching debate primarily because it gives her the chance to offer students what was given to her; a unique platform to express and explore revolutionary thought.
Jyleesa Hampton
Faculty
Jyleesa Hampton will join the University of Kansas coaching staff and communications department as a graduate student in the fall of 2016. During the 2014-2015 debate season Jyleesa participated in more than 12 debate tournaments earning speaker awards and appearingin elimination debates at tournaments such as USC (finals), Fullerton (Quarters), Wake Forest (Octos), GSU (Doubles) and Pitt Round Robin (finals). In the post season Jyleesa finished 2nd place and 2nd speaker at CEDA nationals and earned a first round bid at large to the NDT where she was a double octofinalist. In addition to coaching at the University of Kansas Jyleesa will continue to coach competitive high school debaters at Blue Valley North and Juan Diego Catholic High School.
Never Huber
Instructional Assistant
Never will be a student at Concordia College, Moorhead in the fall of 2016. They graduated from Washburn High School in Minneapolis, MN where they debated for four years. Debate provided an indispensable space to transform their politics. They hope to continue to foster that transformation with other students through their involvement in middle school debate and with the Minnesota Debate & Advocacy Workshop (MDAW)
Shelby Long-Hammond
Faculty
Professor Long-Hammond joined the faculty at Rocky Mountain College in 2006 after finishing her degree in Communication Studies at the University of Montana. Professor Long-Hammond worked as the parliamentary debate coach at Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon, for three years before returning to Montana to continue her education. Debate has always been a significant part of her education. She was on the forensics team at Carroll College through their national championship year in 1999 and also participated in debate societies at Trinity College in Dublin. She worked at Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon, and University of Montana as a debate coach before settling into the Director of Forensics position at Rocky Mountain College in 2006.
Devin Majkut
Social Worker in Residence
Devin has been involved with the WDI for over ten years and primarily focuses on community building and issues of student safety and support. She deeply cares about empowering, educating, and supporting the community of young people in debate and is committed to young people being active, powerful leaders in the activity, and their communities. Devin debated policy for four years in high school, and has stayed involved with the debate community since as a coach and judge. Devin holds a Masters degree in Social Work from the University of Washington, and is a chemical dependency and substance abuse professional. She currently works for LEAD program in Seattle, WA an innovative harm reduction treatment program targeting racial disparity in arrest.
Megan Mapes
Resident Assistant
Megan Mapes debated for 4 years at Topeka West High School in Kansas. She went on to debate at the University of Kansas where she regularly placed in district tournaments including, winning the Wichita State tournament in 2015. She debated at and participated in elimination rounds at CEDA nationals. She has spent the last 3 years coaching at Shawnee Mission East High School where she has coached teams to the outrounds of tournaments like Iowa City West, The Glenbrooks, Colleyville, St. Marks, Washburn Rural, KCKCC and many more, including a team that qualified to the TOC and NDCA. She had coached CFL and NSDA qualifiers, including the winners of CFL Nationals in 2015 as well as coaching teams that have placed 2nd, 4th, and 8th respectively at these tournaments and many other who made it to elimination rounds. She is currently the assistant coach at the University of Northern Iowa.
Beth Mendenhall
Faculty
Beth Mendenhall Co-director of Admissions. Beth won the Kansas High School State Championship in both LD and policy debate in high school (2006), and went on to debate for 5 years at Kansas State. There she qualified to the NDT 4 times, and won the Brian Johnston Debater of the Year award and the CEDA National Championship in 2011. Beth is currently attending Johns Hopkins for a PhD in International Relations, but she also teaches and coaches debate part-time. Her dissertation is about the intersection of oceanography and ocean management institutions.
Squid Monteith
Community Development Assistant
Squid started his career in 2013 at Silver Lake High School. He has debated in Policy Debate (4 years) and LD (2 years) on the NSDA circuit.In the fall of 2016, he plans to attend Emporia State University and major in Music Ed with a minor in Communications so he can coach speech and debate. He is also heavily involved in marching band and is signed to play for ESU. Since 2013, he has been attending WDI. In his years at the camp, he has experienced many changes, both in campers interaction and staff. He works with staff and on the board to make it the best environment possible and will continue to for years to come.
Ashley Moore
Faculty
Ashley is a M.A student in human communication studies at California State University Fullerton. She began her career as a college novice, eventually debating for CSUF for four years. In that time she managed to qualify for the NDT where she competed as part of one of the first openly transgender partnerships. She made it to the double octo-finals of CEDA and received an all-star debater award. She has continued to stay involved in debate as a graduate assistant for the CSUF debate team as a coach and judge.
Nicole Nave
Head Resident Assistant
Is a debater for the University of Rutgers Newark and is also an assistant coach for University High School in Newark New Jersey. Nicole has been a part of the activity of debate for almost a decade now. She is the University of Missouri Kansas city Baby Jo Memorial tournament 2015 champion. She is also a National Forensics League (NFL) Lincoln Douglas national champion. Nicole is well versed and read in quare theory and black womanism.
Ariel Olson
Community Development Assistant
I am entering my freshman year at the University of Central Florida where I plan to study Philosophy and Gender Studies. In high school I did Lincoln Douglas on the national circuit and plan to continue with policy for UCF.
Cate Palczewski
Faculty
Catherine (Cate) H. Palczewski, PhD Board member. Cate is a Professor of Communication Studies and Affiliate Faculty in Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Northern Iowa, where she also served as the Director of Debate from 1994-2009. She received her Ph.D. from Northwestern University, where she was an assistant coach for the debate team. She competed in policy debate at Northwestern University and at Robert E. Lee High School in San Antonio, TX. In 1987, she was a member of the US team, and in 1999 she served as coach of the team that participated in the Committee on International Discussion and Debate tour of Japan. She presently serves as editor for the American Forensic Association Journal Argumentation and Advocacy and has authored numerous articles about gender and public advocacy. She co-authored Communicating Gender Diversity, which was shortlisted for the International Gender and Language Book Prize in 2008.
Sarah T. Partlow Lefevre
Faculty
Sarah has a Ph.D. in Communication Studies from the University of Kansas. Her areas of study include rhetoric, argumentation and debate, gender, and Kenneth Burke. Sarah is a Professor and the Director of Debate at Idaho State University, where she started in August of 2001. During her tenure, the James M. & Sharon E. Rupp Debate Society has won hundreds of awards including 1st place in BP at Pi Kappa Delta, 3rd place at the Cross Examination Debate Association National Championship, 2nd Speaker at the National Debate Tournament Championship, and 2nd Speaker at the Cross Examination Debate Association National Championship. Sarah has won multiple coaching awards including the Galentine Award, the Ziegelmueller Award, and the Val A. Browning Coach of the Year Award. She is currently the Director of the National Debate Tournament. Born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah, Sarah attended the University of Utah before pursuing both her M.A. and Ph.D. degrees at the University of Kansas.
Caylie Ratzlaff
Instructional Assistant
Hi! I'm Caylie Ratzlaff from Emporia, Kansas. I've been involved in Policy Debate for 4 years at Emporia High School, and I just graduated from there in May. In policy, I competed in the top Kansas tournaments (DCI and State) while qualifying for NSDA my senior year. I do not plan to debate at Emporia State; however, I am coaching my team as an assistant coach. I'm a very typical policy debater, and I love a good case debate on both the aff and the neg.
Christine Rogers
Resident Assistant
I'm a junior at the University of Michigan studying African and Afro- American studies and Law, Justice, and Social Change. I debated in high school for 3 years and just recently started back debating in college.
Rae Lynn Schwartz-DuPre
Faculty
Rae Lynn Schwartz-DuPre has been involved in the WDI for over a decade. She is an Associate Professor of Communication Studies at Western Washington University. Her research emerges within the interdisciplinary scholarship of rhetoric, postcolonial, visual, feminisms, and critical/cultural studies. Her scholarship is committed to understanding the ways in which (re)presentations rhetorically constitute knowledge and to what effect. Rae Lynn competed in policy debate at the University of Vermont. She coached multiple first-round NDT teams while getting her Masters at Wake Forest University and her PhD in Communication Studies at the University of Iowa. At Iowa, Rae Lynn coached NDT elimination round competitors and got involved with the Women’s Debate Institute.
Lucia Scott
Faculty
Lucia is an undergraduate at Kansas State University, where she studies Secondary Education. At K-State, she has been in numerous elimination rounds at University of Missouri at Kansas City, Weber State, University of Texas at Dallas, North Texas, Las Vegas, Berkeley, and CEDA. She is also a two-time NDT qualifier.
Hannah Shoell
Faculty
Hannah is the Director of Forensics at Bingham High School. She debated for Olympus High School and Weber State University where she earned many elimination round appearances and speaker awards. She has three years experience as an instructor at the Weber State Debate Institute, and as Assistant Director of Forensics at Copper Hills High School.
Christi Siver
Community Development Coordinator
Christi Siver, PhD Managing Director. Christi is Professor of Political Science at the College of St. Benedict/St. John’s University in St. Joseph, MN. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Washington, where she coached the parliamentary debate team for nine years. She competed in policy debate at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, OR and at Sunset High School in Beaverton, OR.
Angie Tinker
Faculty
Angie is a recent graduate from Pacific Lutheran University, where she will return as the assistant debate coach after a year term as the team captain. She debated for six years, competing in policy in high school, enjoying regional and national success, as well as debating NPDA and British Parliamentary in college, to similar success. She has taught debate at Climb the Mountain, as well as locally in the Puget Sound region.
Ava Vargason
Resident Assistant
Ava is a junior at the University of Kentucky studying Chemical Engineering and Gender and Women’s Studies. She is particularly interested in the intersection between feminism and hormone-based drug development. Ava is originally from Iowa City, where she debated for City High School for three years. For the past two years, she debated for Kentucky, qualifying to the NDT both years and reaching octafinals her sophomore year. She is a member of the WDI Student Safety Committee.
Mya Whitaker
Resident Assistant
My name is Mya Whitaker. I am the Program Director for the Bay Area Urban Debate League. I recently graduated from SFSU and I am excited to come to my first camp.
Brittany Williams
Faculty
Brittany has been a debater for almost ten years. She began debating at one of the first Minnesota UDL schools, Minneapolis North Community High School. She will be coaching at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, WA during the 2015-16 season as a 2015 graduate of the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, where she studied English and worked on numerous inclusivity projects as the Education and Training Assistant for the Office of Equity and Diversity. As a member of the Minnesota debate team, she qualified for the NDT and won various speaker awards throughout her career. Brittany has over four years of debate camp experience working with the Minnesota Debate & Advocacy Workshop (MDAW) and the University of Michigan 7 Week.
Rhian Williams
Community Development Assistant
Rhian Williams is a trans guy dedicated to making debate a safe and accessible activity for all of its members. Rhian has been an active member of the debate community as both a debater and an assistant coach for the Mona Shores High School Debate Team. He is currently working towards a sociology major at Muskegon Community College but will be transferring to Wayne State University next fall, where he plans on debating at the collegiate level. Rhian is also serving as the Director of Public Relations at the first-ever LGBT center in his hometown of Muskegon, Michigan. He is the intern for the Progressive Democratic Women’s Caucus, whose mission is to attract and insert progressive female candidates into local politics. He has shown his passion for politics by acting as the campaign manager for a local candidate running for City Commission. Rhian Williams is committed to promoting ethical and inclusive politics in and out of the debate space.

Previous Faculty 
Catherine (Cate) Palczewski,
Ph.D
Shunta Jordan
Bekah Boyer
Cat Duffy
Carly Watson
Vanova Robles
Robyn Sellman
Chyenne Thibodo
Megan Gaffney
Danielle Wiese Leek
PhD
Dana Randall
Laura Johnson
Linda Collier
Chandra Carlisle
Christine Malumphy
JD
Nikquania Gamble
Ryan Beiermeister
Verónica Nelly Vélez
PhD, Faculty
Marlene Anderson
Community Development
Taylor Johnson
Resident Assistant
Abbie Shew
Resident Assistant
Teressa Shaw
Instructional Assistant
Christine Smet
Instructional Assistant
Liz Kim
JD, Faculty
Mary Lynn (ML) Veden
PhD, Faculty