Camp Leadership

Jackie Poapst, Camp Director, Resident Director, Middle School Lab Leader

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Jackie Poapst is the Assistant Director of Debate at George Mason, and is entering her seventh year on the coaching staff at Mason Debate. She is currently working on her doctoral dissertation, which she will be defending in March 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 seven years, and became Director in 2015. During her first year as Director, the institute became the largest debate institute in Virginia. Jackie has also taught elementary and middle school debate and public speaking at Ivy Christian College.

Hannah Call, Assistant Director, Varsity Public Forum Lab Leader

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Hannah is an Assistant Policy Debate Coach at George Mason University, entering her fourth year on the coaching staff. This is her third year as the Assistant Director of the George Mason Debate Institute. This will be her sixth year working the camp and her fifth year leading the Varsity Public Forum lab. As a debater, she competed at both Liberty University and George Mason, graduating from Mason with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology in 2017. She is currently pursuing a Master of Science in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from GMU, and will graduate in Fall of 2019. 

Policy Teaching Faculty

Charles Athanasopoulos, Kritik Lab Co-Leader

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 Charles Athanasopoulos is a first-year graduate student at the University of Pittsburgh, where he is pursuing a MA/PhD in Communication. He has been in the activity since 2008, starting off his career at a joint Middle-to-High-School debate program at the Bronx School for Law, Government, and Justice. After ranking as one of the top HS teams in the country, Charles attended Wake Forest University, where he debated on the national circuit for four years. Over the course of his career, Charles was on the Copeland Panel three years in a row, 3rd speaker in the nation two years in a row, and finished in the Quarterfinals and Semifinals respectively at the NDT. His research studies include Afropessimism, Black Rhetorical Studies, Deleuze Studies, and Ritual Theory. He is excited to help cultivate the ability of students to combine technical debate skills with the passion of a scholar who is interested in the critical theoretical conversations surrounding anti-blackness and other systems of power. 

Corinne Sugino, Kritik Lab Co-Leader

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 Corinne Sugino is currently a second-year graduate student at the University of Pittsburgh, where she is pursuing a PhD in Communication. She reached the quarterfinals of CEDA and qualified to the NDT twice, making it to the quarterfinals and semifinals her Junior and Senior years. She was on the Copeland Panel two years in a row, and has taught at debate camps for four consecutive summers (this will be her fifth). Her research interests include literature based in Critical Race Theory, Asian-American studies, Afro-pessimism, Coloniality, Deleuzian thought, negative theology, and Affect studies. She is excited to work with the next generation of debaters on new strategies in debate! 

Shannon Howley, Varsity Policy Lab Leader

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Shannon is a rising Senior at George Mason University, pursuing a degree in Government. This will be her second year working at the GMDI and her first year leading the Varsity Policy Lab. A GMDI alum, Shannon competed in policy debate for four years in high school. She is entering her fourth year of debate as a Varsity member of the GMU debate team, and has qualified to the National Debate Tournament twice thus far. Shannon is excited to return to the camp in a new capacity and looks forward to teaching students upper-level argumentation in policy debate.

Colin Dailey, Junior Varsity Policy Lab Leader

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Colin is entering his 5th year of coaching policy debate at George Mason University. He competed in policy debate for three years in high school in Texas, and debated in college for four years at George Mason, qualifying to the NDT and finishing in Octafinals at CEDA Nationals. This will be Colin's 6th year teaching at the GMDI, and his 2nd year leading the Junior Varsity Policy Lab.

Tyler Wiseman, Novice Policy Lab Leader

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Tyler is an Assistant Debate Coach with the George Mason Debate Team. This is his 3rd year working at the GMDI, having previously instructed the Middle School Novice Public Forum lab. Prior to coaching, Tyler competed for 3 years with George Mason Debate, with a focus on policy-style argumentation. Tyler also currently coaches the debate team at Hayfield Secondary School, and has previously coached at John Champe High School. He is thrilled to be leading the Novice Policy Lab this summer.

Kyler Buckner, Policy Lab Assistant

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Kyler is an undergraduate student at George Mason. This is his 2nd year working at the GMDI, and his first year as a policy lab assistant. He attended the GMDI's 4 week policy lab the summer before his senior year. Kyler competed in policy for four years in high school where he qualified to the Tournament of Champions and the National Speech and Debate tournament twice each. He is currently a Varsity debater for Mason, having qualified to the NDT this year deploying a mixture of debate styles and arguments. He is pursuing a B.A. in Sociology and has interests in political philosophy and post-structuralism.

Noah Graham, Policy Lab Assistant

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Noah is a policy debater entering his Sophomore year on the George Mason Debate Team and is an alum of the GMDI. He competed in policy debate for 4 years in high school. This will be his second year on staff at the GMDI. Noah is majoring in Public Administration and is interested in security studies. He is excited to meet and work with debaters this summer. 

Lincoln Douglas Teaching Faculty

Austin Oliver, Varsity Lincoln Douglas Lab Leader

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Austin is a Graduate Teaching Assistant with the George Mason Debate Team. This is his 6th year working at the GMDI and his 4th year as leader of the Varsity Lincoln-Douglas lab. Austin primarily competed as an LD debater while participating in debate in high school. In college, Austin competed on the George Mason Debate Team for 5 years, qualifying to the National Debate Tournament twice across a multitude of debate styles and selections of arguments. Austin graduated from Mason last year with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Communication. He has a strong interest in Modernist Philosophy and Political Theory and is excited to be instructing in LD again. 

Sarah Blanton, Novice Lincoln Douglas Lab Leader

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Sarah is a junior at George Mason University entering her sixth year of debate. This will be her second year working with GMDI. Sarah competed in Public Forum and Lincoln Douglas in high school. During her junior and senior year in high school, she also served as captain and LD coach for her debate team. She is a Varsity debater on Mason’s team. Sarah is studying global affairs and can’t wait to lead the Novice LD lab this year. 

Shana Pedersen, Lincoln Douglas Lab Assistant

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Shana is a rising Junior at George Mason Debate University, pursuing a major in Government and International Relations and a minor in Russian. This will be her second year working at the GMDI and her first year as a Lincoln Douglas Lab Assistant. Shana joined the GMU debate team as a Novice in 2017, and has since achieved a vast amount of debate success. Shana loves public speaking and critical thinking and is planning to pursue a law degree after graduation. She is excited to return to the camp this year in a new capacity and teach younger students Lincoln Douglas debate.

Public Forum Teaching Faculty

Hannah Call, Varsity Public Forum Lab Leader

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 Hannah is an Assistant Policy Debate Coach at George Mason University, entering her fourth year on the coaching staff. This will be her sixth year working the camp, and her fifth year leading the Varsity Public Forum lab. As a debater, she competed at both Liberty University and George Mason, graduating from Mason with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology in 2017. She is currently pursuing a Master of Science in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from GMU, and will graduate in Fall of 2019. She has coached Public Forum at The Potomac School and George Mason High School, and currently teaches Public Forum students with Global Academic Commons.

Mack Turpen, Varsity Public Forum Lab Assistant

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Mack is entering his Junior year at George Mason pursing a degree in Conflict Analysis and Resolution with a concentration in Global Engagement. In high school he competed for 4 years in Public Forum and served as the captain of his debate team for 2 years. Mack has participated in college Policy Debate for 2 years and is an NDT qualifier this year. As an alum of the GMDI Varsity PF lab, this is his second year working in the lab and he is excited to be back.

Pavan Gunna Reddy, Novice Public Forum Co-Leader

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Pavan is a rising Senior, majoring in Neuroscience and minoring in International Security. This will be his second year teaching at the GMDI, having previously worked as the third and fourth grade lab leader for the Elementary School camp, and as a Novice Policy Lab Assistant. He is a member of the Varsity squad at Mason Debate, having joined three years ago as a novice, and has broken at several tournaments since.

Mary Beth Armstrong, Novice Public Forum Co-Leader

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Mary Beth is a varsity debater on the George Mason Debate Team. As a GMDI Varsity Policy Lab alum, this is her first year working at the GMDI. She competed primarily in Policy debate for 4 years in high school, with some experience in Public Forum. She worked at her high school's novice summer camp for the past three years. Mary Beth is completing her degree in Environmental and Sustainability Studies at Mason. She thinks debate is an incredible skill to have and is excited to be co-instructing in PF.  

Brianna Thomas, 7th & 8th Grade Public Forum Lab Leader

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Brianna is a recent graduate from Liberty University, receiving her degree in Music Education with a concentration in Choral Studies. She competed in Public Forum for three years in high school and has been a competitive policy debater throughout her four years at Liberty. She has consistently placed within the Top 10 speakers at national tournaments, appeared in over 9 Final elimination rounds across her career, and has qualified twice to the NDT, receiving a first round at large bid in 2019. As a debater, she has experience in multiple formats of debate and various literature bases. Her interests include performance debate, critical race theory, black feminist studies, and affect studies. She is excited to mentor young debaters about the structure of debate and teach them how to develop new strategies!

Ian Morris, 7th & 8th Grade Public Forum Lab Assistant

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  Ian is currently a first-year Policy debater at George Mason, having achieved great success during his first year. He is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Physics and was recently accepted into the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. This will be Ian’s first year working the GMDI and looks forward to teaching new debaters.

Adit Singh, 7th & 8th Grade Public Forum Lab Assistant

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Adit is a novice debater on the George Mason Debate Team. This is his first year participating in collegiate policy debate. Adit has primarily deployed policy arguments, and is growing his knowledge in critical debate. Adit is a member of the Business Living Learning Community at GMU and is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Finance. He is looking forward to work with new debaters and helping them grow at the GMDI.

Residential Advisors

Habiba Ahmed

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Habiba is a rising Senior at George Mason, majoring in Government and minoring in Intelligence Analysis. She is entering her fourth year as a member of Mason's Varsity Policy debate team. This will be her third year working at the camp and her second year as an RA.

Ben Biggs

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Ben is currently a varsity debater on the George Mason Debate Team, having joined the team three years ago. This will be his 3rd year working at the GMDI and his second as a Resident Advisor. He is pursuing a degree Government and International with a minor in Economics and is thrilled to be working the GMDI again.

Nick Kazangian

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Nick is a returning staff member at the GMDI with three years of previous camp experience, teaching at both George Mason and Georgetown University. He is a previous lab assistant and a current Varsity policy debater for Mason. Academically, he is a rising senior, obtaining a degree in Government and International Security, and is currently involved in research for the US Department of Defense.

Logan Ludwig

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Logan is a returning staff member at GMDI, having worked at the camp for the past three years. He's a Varsity Policy debater for the George Mason Debate Team, having started his freshman year as a novice. He loves debate, and is looking forward to meeting the new faces of the camp. Logan is excited to return again to the GMDI. He is happy to help any camper with extra debate work after labs, or send campers to the shadow realm in wiffleball with his wicked curveball.

Elementary/Middle School Camp Teaching Faculty

Jackie Poapst, 8th Grade Lab Leader

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 Jackie Poapst is the Assistant Director of Debate at George Mason, and is entering her seventh year on the coaching staff at Mason Debate. She is currently working on her doctoral dissertation, which she will be defending in March 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 seven years, and became Director in 2015. During her first year as Director, the institute became the largest debate institute in Virginia. Jackie has also taught elementary and middle school debate and public speaking at Ivy Christian College. 

Ian "Bishop" Lowery, 6th & 7th Grade Lab Leader

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Ian is a Senior at George Mason University. This will be his 4th year working the GMDI and his 2nd year working the Elementary/Middle School session. Ian is also the Director of Speech and Debate at Centreville High School, and is an assistant coach for GMU's debate team. Ian began debating in college and competed on the George Mason Debate Team for just under 4 years, finishing his career by qualifying to the NDT. Ian is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Sciences in Economics. 

Colin Dailey, 4th & 5th Grade Lab Leader

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 Colin is entering his 5th year of coaching policy debate at George Mason University. He competed in policy debate for three years in high school in Texas, then debated in college for four years at George Mason, qualifying to the NDT and finishing in Octafinals at CEDA Nationals. This will be Colin's 6th year teaching at the GMDI, and his 2nd year leading a lab for the Elementary/Middle School camp.

Jack Daou, Elementary/Middle School Lab Assistant

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Jack is an undergraduate at George Mason University majoring in Government and International Politics with a concentration in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics. Jack primarily competed in Congressional debate in high school, qualifying to the National Catholic Forensic League tournament twice, making it to the semi-finals once. It is his first year in collegiate Policy debate with Mason and he is excited to teach other students debate.

Reagan Sullivan, Elementary/Middle School Lab Assistant