|One of the best parts about the Summer Debate
Institute is the excellent staff.
Our staff includes college debaters and young professionals from across
the country with extensive experience at both the high school and
collegiate levels. (Here
a listing of some past SDI staff)
|2011 Staff Biographies
|Diana Wolfson - SDI Director
a B.A. in English and Philosophy, Diana earned her M. Ed. in
Instructional Leadership. She was a former high school English
teacher who left the public school system to stay home with her
children. Diana home educated her two sons, Jonathan and
Benjamin, through high school.
of the founders and the Director of Chicago CHARGE Speech and
Debate Club, Diana has coached many nationally ranked debate and speech
competitors in a variety of leagues and competitions.
been involved in the high school speech and debatesince 1999.
On the NCFCA national level, Diana has served NCFCA as the
Illinois State Representative for 3 years and the NCFCA Region 6
Coordinator for more than 5 years. Diana is currently a member
of the Board of Directors for STOA speech and debate.
the 8th year Diana has directed the Summer Debate
is the Executive Director of the Association for Lifelong
Communicators, a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to “give
tomorrow’s leaders a voice.”
Experience/Awards: Kirby Gowen has been
involved in competitive speech and debate for 9 years. During junior
high and high school Kirby debated for five years and competed in
individual events for three. Kirby qualified for the NCFCA National
Championship four times in Team Policy, earning 10th place team (2005)
and 5th place team (2006) at the national level. Kirby was undefeated
in prelims and twice declined breaking to out rounds at two LD
qualifiers in the 2007 debate season. In the last two years Kirby has
joined the world of collegiate debate competing in the NPDA with the
Grove City College debate team.
experience: Kirby started coaching
during his varsity years of high school debate. Working with his home
club, Modesto Debate, he performed functions such as critiquing rounds
and tutoring novices. In 2006, 2007 and 2008 Kirby worked at Santa
Clara University’s summer debate camp as a team policy TA, LD lecturer,
and Ultimate Frisbee organizer. This will be Kirby’s fourth year
teaching at the Summer Debate Institute.
Quotation: Anarchy is better than
no government at all” –Bumper Sticker
Kirby: I love debate. I love
LD. Given an opportunity to spend five whole days working with students
on debate; I wouldn’t miss it. This should be a great camp and I’m
looking forward to meeting you all. Oh, and one last thing: for all
those people that say “LD” stands for “Loser’s Debate”. Well. We’ll
Experience/Awards: Renee competed in Policy debate for six
years, earning many California championships and a number of national
awards, including 5th Team Policy (2002), 4th Combined Sweepstakes
(2002), Impromptu Champion (2004), and Extemporaneous Champion (2004,
GSAACS). In college debate, she and her partner quarter-finaled at
NCCFI Nationals (2007), and placed 3rd at the Biola Invitational (2007).
Renee graduated Summa Cum Laude
from Biola University in December '09 with a B.A. in Philosophy and a
B.S. in Studio Art, and is currently enrolled in a Masters Degree in
Philosophy at Northern Illinois University.
Experience: Renee competed in college forensics for two
years, then started putting the skills to more practical uses: her
presentation skills won the Outstanding Thesis of the Year award from
the Biola Philosophy Department in '09; she worked for three years as
an LSAT instructor for Kaplan, and spent one year as an advertising
assistant (yes, just like in MadMen).
Experience: Renee has been teaching debate for a
depressingly long time: 8 years. She taught several introductory
classes in California, coached for CLASH, toured as an instructor for
Communicators for Christ in 2004, taught at several Masters Conferences
and fifteen Forensics camps for schools such as Santa Clara University,
Biola University, Heritage Christian School & Green Valley High
School. This will be her sixth
year as an instructor at SDI.
to cast down, much to build, much to restore; Let the work not delay,
time and arm not waste; Let the clay be dug from the pit, let the saw
cut the stone, Let the fire not be quenched in the forge." -Choruses
from the Rock, T.S. Eliot
Renee: C'mon- you know you look forward to SDI all year, so
be there or be square.
Experience: Jason competed in NCFCA debate for five years (TP
4, LD 1) and speech for four. He competed at the NCFCA National
Championship in debate four years, broke three of those years, and
received speaker awards two of those years. In 2008 Jason won
first place in both Apologetics and Original Oratory at the NCFCA
National Championship. And, he served as the Chicago CHARGE
debate team Captain for two years.
Jason is currently attending Texas Christian University majoring in
Mathematics with a concentration in Actuarial Science and with a minor
in Economics. Forensic experience garnered an easy A in basic speech
and just about made the teacher faint with back to back speeches
defending the awesomeness of salt and math.
"Michael Jordan plays ball. Charles Manson kills people. I talk.
Everyone has a talent." ~Thank You For Smoking
Jason: I've been to SDI seven times, four times as a student
and last three years as part of the staff and am excited to pass along
I've always thought Cyrillic script
looked really cool. Now I get to put all your outlines in it :D
Experience/Awards: Kristi competed in NCFCA for three years,
qualifying for the NCFCA National Championship each year in debate. She
also qualified in extemporaneous speaking twice and added original
oratory, humorous interpretation, and open interpretation when she was
a senior. At the 2005 National tournament, she ranked eleventh place
team and third place speaker. She was the 2004-2005 debate captain of
Graduated from Olivet Nazarene University with a bachelor's degree in
TV/Video Production and Communication Studies
Experience: While job hunting may not be forensic, it does
involve researching, persuasiveness, organization, note taking, and
logic--the only thing that's missing is official competition. And maybe
Experience: 5 years of club and SDI training.
"You are a mocha frappuccino. Hyper and driven, you'll take your
caffeine any way you can get it. Your pirate name is Captain Mistress
of Death" - www.blogthings.com
Kristi: "The staff has been working hard and the schedule is
looking amazing—this is going to be a great SDI. I can't imagine a
better way to kick start the debate year and I'm excited to see you
Experience/Awards: Jacob competed and coached extensively in
high school, beginning with several first place speaker awards in his
freshman year and continuing with equal success. He qualified for
nationals in both team policy and Lincoln-Douglas debate as well as
several speech events and coached many nationally ranking debaters as
4th year Political Science Major at UCLA
Experience: None in college, but the skills I learned have
been invaluable in helping me as one of the directors of the Special
Olympics at UCLA Program, as well as one of the leaders of the UCLA
Experience: Competed three years in team debate and speech and one
year in Lincoln Douglas. Coaching began during my Lincoln Douglas year,
and continued all through high school, so four years total of coaching.
John Wooden "The most important key to achieving great success is to
decide upon your goal and launch, get started, take action, move."
Jacob: Excited to come to SDI. Hopefully we'll have a lot of
learning, and perhaps a bit of fun too.
In high school Heather competed in NCFCA for five years. For the past
two years, she has attended the college of DuPage and has competed for
their forensics team. She and her debate partner received silver medals
at both the 2008 and 2009 Phi Rho Pi National Championships. Heather
recently graduated from North Central College with a degree in
Coaching Experience: This will be
Heather's fourth year teaching at SDI. She also has coached the Chicago
CHARGE team for the past four years.
Quotation: “It's quite simple,
(public speaking) Say what you have to say and when you come to a
sentence with a grammatical ending, sit down” ~Winston Churchill
Note from Heather: "I absolutely
love teaching debate! It’s just great seeing all of you guys become
more confident communicators as a result of this camp. I had awesome
fun at SDI when I was in high school and I know you all will have an
amazing time too. So come prepared to meet awesome people, have crazy
good times, and learn a whole lot about environmental policy! Can't
wait to see you all there! =)