Meet Our Staff

Triumph debate camp instructors

Alec baker

Alec Baker has been involved in debate since 2002. In high school he competed primarily in LD and Public Forum. During college he competed in NPDA parliamentary debate for Western Washington University where he earned a first round bid to the NPTE and was an octofinalist at the national championship. He has coached for Lewis and Clark College, MPoly Language Institute, and Classical Academy. He has a BA in philosophy from Western Washington University and an MA in rhetoric from San Diego State University where he teaches as a lecturer.

Andrea Chow

Andrea has been coaching summer debate camps for the past two years. In high school, she was a 4x California state qualifier, West LA Student of the Year, and district champion. She also quarterfinaled at the TOC as a sophomore and finished in the top 30 at NSDA Nationals as a senior. She is currently studying ethnicity, race, and migration at Yale University where she will continue to debate and coach middle and high school teams. She also volunteers with Speech and Debate Stories to make debate more equitable and accessible for people of all backgrounds. Her favorite part of coaching is having fun with debaters. Outside of debate, she loves hiking, painting, and cooking.

BRYCE EDISON

Bryce competed in debate for three seasons before graduating from Boardman High School in 2019. In both his freshman and sophomore year, he competed in Public Forum debate before switching to Lincoln-Douglas his senior year. In his senior year, Bryce broke at the OSDA state tournament and qualified in LD for the NSDA national tournament. Currently, Bryce studies philosophy at Case Western Reserve University and also coaches LD and PF at Brecksville-Broadview Heights High School.

Emily Jackson

Emily Jackson has been involved in debate since she first joined her middle school's PF team and has been involved ever since, joining her school's LD program as the only member as a junior. She qualified to TFA state both years doing LD in high school, and attended NSDA in world schools twice, moving on to compete in a host of debate events for the University of North Texas debate team, including policy debate, NPDA, IPDA, and NFA-LD, and serving as a three-time NFA-LD champion at TIFA state. Since graduating high school, she has also coached at Marcus High School, and studies Ecology at UNT.

Ian mikkelsen

Ian Mikkelsen is pursuing his doctorate in Public Policy at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He competed in high school and collegiate speech and debate for 7 years at the National level. In high school, Ian won the 2011 Kansas State Championship in Lincoln Douglas debate and concluded his high-school career as the National LD Runner-up at the NCFL 2011 championship. In college, Ian competed in Parliamentary Debate winning multiple National Invitationals and took 2nd and 3rd place in the 2014 and 2015 National Parliamentary Debate Association Tournament. Ian also coached several top high-school competitors, helping his alma mater win its second LD State Championship, and break to late out rounds in Public Forum at Nationals. Recently, he coached students out rounds at NSDA Nationals, qualifying bids to the TOC Lincoln Douglas Tournament, as well as the 4th place speaker and 2020 National Champion in LD for NSDA. In collegiate debate, his students have 2016 IPDA National Championship, as well as several late out round placements in Team IPDA Nationals. He currently works at DFWSD as a coach as well as a hired judge and coach for several collegiate programs when he has the time.

Matt Slencsak

Matthew Slencsak graduated from Howland HS in 2013, after competing in Lincoln Douglas debate for 4 years. After High School, Matt obtained a degree in IT. Since, Matt has been coaching Speech and Debate for 7 years. Matt has coached students to making stage at both the Ohio Speech and Debate Tournament as well as the NSDA Tournament. After observing problems in the Speech and Debate community, Matt co-founded Triumph Debate with the goal of creating a more welcoming and equitable space for all.

Nethmin Liyanage

Nethmin Liyanage attended the Hill School in Pottstown, Pennsylvania where she debated in Lincoln-Douglas and served as the captain of the debate team. Her last two years of high school involved teaching many young debaters and she’s excited to share that experience with students at Triumph Debate’s winter intensive! During her career, she was the first LD debater at her school to reach the bid round of a national circuit tournament and the first LD debater to receive a round robin invitation. She reached the bid round at Meadows, Blue Key, ASU, Emory, and Millard North and cleared at the majority of the tournaments she attended. The highlight of her career was championing the Durham Round Robin with some of her closest friends, all of whom have curly hair. Nethmin is a student at (currently virtual) Pitzer College where her hobbies include trying out fun zoom backgrounds and drinking cold brew. When not debating, she can be found talking about intersectional feminism or buying copious amounts of Pilot G2 pens.

TIA SPEECE

Tia Speece competed in Lincoln Douglas debate for three years at Kenston High School. During her first year, she semi-finaled at the state competition. In her senior year, she made it to finals at States, qualified to the NSDA National competition, and became the first female public-schooled student to compete in and win the City Club debate. She also competed in World Schools debate for three years. Tia now privately coaches students and competes in British Parliamentary at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, where she is studying philosophy.

Tony Liu

Tony competed in LD debate for 4 years at William Mason High School. In this time, he qualified to both the OSDA State Tournament and NSDA National Tournament 3 times, respectively. In his junior year of competition, Tony championed numerous tournaments--including the 59th Annual Perry Varsity Tournament and the Sharen B. Althoff Rotary Invitational. In his final year of debate, he championed the OSDA State Tournament in LD. During this time, Tony also lead the Mason High School team as its Vice-President from 2019-2020 and President from 2020-2021. Tony plans on continuing his education at the University of Chicago in the Fall of 2021, pursuing a double-major in Political Science and Economics.

Alec Baker

Alec Baker has been involved in debate since 2002. In high school he competed primarily in LD and Public Forum. During college he competed in NPDA parliamentary debate for Western Washington University where he earned a first round bid to the NPTE and was an octofinalist at the national championship. He has coached for Lewis and Clark College, MPoly Language Institute, and Classical Academy. He has a BA in philosophy from Western Washington University and an MA in rhetoric from San Diego State University where he teaches as a lecturer.

Bryce Edison

Bryce competed in debate for three seasons before graduating from Boardman High School in 2019. In both his freshman and sophomore year, he competed in Public Forum debate before switching to Lincoln-Douglas his senior year. In his senior year, Bryce broke at the OSDA state tournament and qualified in LD for the NSDA national tournament. Currently, Bryce studies philosophy at Case Western Reserve University and also coaches LD and PF at Brecksville-Broadview Heights High School.  

Matt Slencsak

Matthew Slencsak has been coaching Speech and Debate for 6 years. He graduated from Howland HS in 2013, after competing in Lincoln Douglas debate for 4 years. After High School, Matt obtained a degree in IT and is currently pursuing a bachelors in Integrated Social Studies, hoping to one day coach at the school he teaches for. Matt has coached students to making stage at both the Ohio Speech and Debate Tournament as well as the NSDA Tournament. After observing problems in the Speech and Debate community, Matt co-founded Triumph Debate with the goal of creating a more welcoming and equitable space for all.

Tia Speece

Tia Speece competed in Lincoln Douglas debate for three years at Kenston High School. During her first year, she semi-finaled at the state competition. In her senior year, she made it to finals at States, qualified to the NSDA National competition, and became the first female public-schooled student to compete in and win the City Club debate. She also competed in World Schools debate for three years. Tia now privately coaches students and competes in British Parliamentary at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, where she is studying philosophy.

Tony Liu

Tony competed in LD debate for 4 years at William Mason High School. In this time, he qualified to both the OSDA State Tournament and NSDA National Tournament 3 times, respectively. In his junior year of competition, Tony championed numerous tournaments--including the 59th Annual Perry Varsity Tournament and the Sharen B. Althoff Rotary Invitational. In his final year of debate, he championed the OSDA State Tournament in LD. During this time, Tony also lead the Mason High School team as its Vice-President from 2019-2020 and President from 2020-2021. Tony plans on continuing his education at the University of Chicago in the Fall of 2021, pursuing a double-major in Political Science and Economics.

Andrea Chow

Andrea has been coaching summer debate camps for the past two years. In high school, she was a 4x California state qualifier, West LA Student of the Year, and district champion. She also quarterfinaled at the TOC as a sophomore and finished in the top 30 at NSDA Nationals as a senior. She is currently studying ethnicity, race, and migration at Yale University where she will continue to debate and coach middle and high school teams. She also volunteers with Speech and Debate Stories to make debate more equitable and accessible for people of all backgrounds. Her favorite part of coaching is having fun with debaters. Outside of debate, she loves hiking, painting, and cooking.

Ian Mikkelsen

Ian Mikkelsen is pursuing his doctorate in Public Policy at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He competed in high school and collegiate speech and debate for 7 years at the National level. In high school, Ian won the 2011 Kansas State Championship in Lincoln Douglas debate and concluded his high-school career as the National LD Runner-up at the NCFL 2011 championship. In college, Ian competed in Parliamentary Debate winning multiple National Invitationals and took 2nd and 3rd place in the 2014 and 2015 National Parliamentary Debate Association Tournament. Ian also coached several top high-school competitors, helping his alma mater win its second LD State Championship, and break to late out rounds in Public Forum at Nationals. Recently, he coached students out rounds at NSDA Nationals, qualifying bids to the TOC Lincoln Douglas Tournament, as well as the 4th place speaker and 2020 National Champion in LD for NSDA. In collegiate debate, his students have 2016 IPDA National Championship, as well as several late out round placements in Team IPDA Nationals. He currently works at DFWSD as a coach as well as a hired judge and coach for several collegiate programs when he has the time.

Nethmin Liyanage

Nethmin Liyanage attended the Hill School in Pottstown, Pennsylvania where she debated in Lincoln-Douglas and served as the captain of the debate team. Her last two years of high school involved teaching many young debaters and she’s excited to share that experience with students at Triumph Debate’s winter intensive! During her career, she was the first LD debater at her school to reach the bid round of a national circuit tournament and the first LD debater to receive a round robin invitation. She reached the bid round at Meadows, Blue Key, ASU, Emory, and Millard North and cleared at the majority of the tournaments she attended. The highlight of her career was championing the Durham Round Robin with some of her closest friends, all of whom have curly hair. Nethmin is a student at (currently virtual) Pitzer College where her hobbies include trying out fun zoom backgrounds and drinking cold brew. When not debating, she can be found talking about intersectional feminism or buying copious amounts of Pilot G2 pens.