Kevin Whitley, Policy K Lab Leader
Kevin Whitley is a former debater for Towson University and currently coaching at Wake Forest University while pursuing his M.A. in Communication. As a debater, Kevin cleared at multiple national tournaments, often receiving top speaker awards. He also is a champion of the Cross Examination Debate Association Nationals Tournament, qualified to the NDT multiple times and was a 2015 NDT octafinalist! This will be Kevin's first year at the GMDI, and we are very excited for him to be leading our first year of the critical focused policy lab. Kevin was well known for being adept at various nuances of critical literature, and we are happy to see what he has in store for our K campers!

Beth Zhao, Middle School Debate Lab Assistant
Beth just finished her first year on the Mason Debate Team, after debating for Woodson High School. Despite her short time on the team, Beth has logged some impressive accomplishments, including winning three tournaments and getting to finals at one other tournament. She has also been a top speaker at over half of the tournaments that she attended. Beth is a former camper at the GMDI, and is excited to work at her alma mater this summer!

Luke Melton, Middle School Debate Lab Leader
Luke is a senior studying Government and International Politics at Mason. Luke’s notable successes include being top speaker and two time finalist at the American Debate Association National Tournament. Luke also reached the sweet 16 at the 2016 Cross Examination Debate Association Nationals tournament and qualified to the National Debate Tournament in 2017. This will be Luke's fifth year working at the camp.

Isaac Brown, Policy K Lab Assistant
Isaac Brown is a 2017 graduate of the Mason Debate Team. While debating at Mason, he qualified for the National Debate Tournament twice, won the District 7 Qualifiers tournament, and was also top speaker at the D7 tournament. Isaac is a two time elimination round participant at the Cross Examination Debate Association Nationals tournament, and cleared at multiple national tournaments his senior year. This will be Isaac's fourth year working at the camp!

Matt Struth, Policy Scholars Lab Leader
Matt Struth is an Assistant Debate Coach at the University of Minnesota. He has has been honored with the ADA Judge of the Year Award. Competitively, his college teams have been ranked top-5 in the country multiple times, won the ADA National Championship, and reached the semis of the NDT. His high school teams have repeatedly reached the deep elimination rounds of the TOC. As a debater, he was in the quarters of the NDT and won the ADA National Championship. 

Rich Kaye, Public Forum Junior Varsity Lab Leader
Rich just finished his senior year with the Mason Debate Team, and will be graduating this May with a degree in Government and International Politics. His greatest successes include being a Champion in both divisions in the JV/Novice nationals tournament in consecutive years, Qualifying to the National Debate Tournament, and taking first speaker at multiple tournaments in his first two years. This will be Rich's fourth year at the camp. 

Peter Kim, Residential Adviser
Ben Biggs, Residential Adviser
Habiba Ahmed, Residential Adviser
Emily Beck, Residential Adviser​
Logan Ludwig, Resident Adviser
Tyler Wiseman, Resident Adviser


Session Two:

​Aba Morrison, Activities Coordinator


Sean Colligan, Resident Adviser
Ben Troxel, Resident Adviser
Josh Velez, Resident Adviser
Nick Kazangian, Resident Adviser

Ian Lowery, PF Scholars Lab Assistant
Ian is a junior at Mason, majoring in Economics. Ian just completed his third year debating for us, and is currently the Mason Debate Team's Secretary. During his time on the team, Ian has won the JV/Novice Nationals tournament, received top speaker at the Rutgers tournament, won countless other regional tournaments, and was nominated as the American Debate Association top debater in the Junior Varsity division. This will be Ian's second year working at the camp.

Gerrit Hansen, Lincoln Douglas Scholars Debate Lab Assistant
Gerrit is currently a junior at George Mason, and one of our varsity debaters. He is currently pursuing a double major in Philosophy and Communication. Gerrit has won several different debate tournaments while at GMU, including the James Madison University tournament and the United States Military Academy tournament. He also qualified to the National Debate Tournament this season. Gerrit debated for Briar Woods HS before coming to Mason, and hopes to help more Virginia middle school and high school debaters become successful in debate. 

GMDI 2017 Summer Staff

Hannah Call, Assistant Director and Public Forum Scholars Lab Leader
Hannah is a former debater for Liberty, and most recently, Mason. She has obtained her B.A. in Developmental Psychology, and will be attending Mason for her M.A. Some of her most notable debate successes include winning the American Debate Association (ADA) tournament twice, JV/Novice Nationals in both divisions, and receiving multiple top five speaker awards in all three levels of debate. She has coached many Public Forum debaters at national tournaments. This will be her fourth year working at the camp.​


Besides our awesome lab staff, the institute will also be bringing in some amazing dorm staff this year:

Session One:

Aaron Clarke, Activities Coordinator













Deion Hawkins, Lincoln Douglas Scholars Lab Leader
Deion is a George Mason doctoral student studying health communication, and is an assistant coach for the Mason Speech team. He completed his BA at The Ohio State University in 2012, where he was the Vice President and Debate Captain of Ohio State's student run forensics team. Additionally, he completed his MA at Marshall University. Deion has coaches numerous champion Lincoln Douglas debaters, and looks forward to his second year working with the GMDI.

Maddie Denison, Policy Novice Lab Assistant
Maddie has just finished her senior year of varsity collegiate debate at the University of Pittsburgh. During her collegiate debate career, Maddie qualified for the National Debate Tournament twice, was an elimination round participant at the Cross Examination Debate Association national debate tournament as well as multiple national tournaments. Maddie was also a two time Pitt Round Robin participant. This will be Maddie's first year working at GMDI, and she is very excited to meet you all!

Dan Stanfield, Novice Policy Lab Leader
Dan Stanfield started as a college novice and had a successful debate career clearing to elimination rounds at most major national tournaments, as well as being a pioneer in the development of disability arguments and improvement in access within debate.  In 2013 he was a member of the coaching staff of the winners of the Tournament of Champions (TOC). He has also coached several teams to qualify for the TOC since then.  In college he has coached several teams to qualify for the National Debate Tournament (NDT), including one to a First Round at large bid. Dan is currently a coach for the University of West Georgia, and this is his second year working with the camp.

Shannon Howley, PF Novice Lab Leader
Shannon Howley is a rising sophomore at Mason, and was a member of one of our top varsity teams this year. She is a graduate and former debater at Perry High School in Ohio. During her first year on the Mason Debate Team, Shannon reached the finals round of the James Madison tournament, received speaker awards at multiple tournaments, and qualified for the National Debate Tournament. Shannon is also an alum of the GMDI, and is excited to come back as a teacher!

Austin Oliver, Novice Lincoln Douglas Lab Leader
Austin Oliver is a junior studying Communication at Mason. Some of Austin’s most notable successes since joining the team include winning the novice division of the JV/Novice Nationals tournament, clearing to elimination rounds at the University of Missouri Kansas City tournament, and earning first place speaker at the American Debate Association National Championship. This will be Austin's fourth year working at the institute.

Christopher Kozak, Policy JV Lab Leader
​Christopher Kozak is the Director of Debate at Rutgers University-Newark. He helped found the program as a master’s student studying non-profit management at the School of Public Affairs and Administration. In a few short years he lead the small program to multiple tournament championships and late outbound appearances at the CEDA National Championship and the National Debate Tournament (NDT). In 2017, his students won CEDA, the NDT as well as top speaker awards at both tournaments. ​

Anthony Guzman, PF Novice Lab Assistant
​Anthony is a rising sophomore at Mason, majoring in Government and Politics. As a freshman on the Mason Debate Team, Anthony cleared to elimination rounds at most tournaments that he attended, and was considered one of the most valuable members of his freshman debate class. He is amped to be working with the PF novice lab, as he was a Virginia PF debater in high school!

Colin Dailey, Policy Scholars Lab Assistant
Colin is a coach for George Mason. He was in Texas high school debate for 3 years between Smithville High School and Kingwood High School. Colin has seen a variety of successes during his college debate career, including being a JV finalist at ADA Nationals his freshman year, a National Debate Tournament qualifier his junior year, and a Cross Examination Debate Association National Championship octafinalist as a senior. This will be Colin’s fifth year working the camp.

Jackie Poapst, Camp Director & Congressional Debate Lab Leader
Jackie Poapst is the Assistant Director of Debate at George Mason, and is entering her sixth year on the coaching staff at Mason Debate. She is currently working on her doctoral dissertation, which she will be defending in December to receive her PhD in Communication. She debated for Liberty University, where she graduated with Bachelor of Sciences in Criminal Justice and Psychology. Jackie has been teaching at the George Mason Debate Institute for six years, and became Director in 2015. During her first year as Director, the institute became the largest debate institute in Virginia.