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Meet the Staff

What sets us apart is our unwavering commitment to the activity of debate itself. Unlike other camps, our team is still deeply involved in the debate community and have a firsthand understanding of what it takes to excel.

Public Forum Instructors

Our instructors consists of former top PF competitors with a combined 50+ gold bids, 4 T10 Teams at NSDA Nationals, and 1 TOC top speaker.

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Ale Perri

UChicago '25 | Mathematics & Political Science

Ale debates in APDA for UChicago and is an assistant debate coach for the Blake High School.

In the 2022-2023 collegiate season, Ale was APDA's #1 ranked Team of the Year, championing the Yale, Princeton, Brown, and NYU tournaments, among others.

In high school, Ale placed 3rd at the 2021 NSDA Nationals and championed the Apple Valley and Milo Cup tournaments, while accumulating 7 career TOC gold bids.

 

He’s excited to coach this summer!

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Nicole Rodriguez

UChicago '26 | Economics

Over her four year debate career, Nicole accumulated 9 gold bids and qualified to NSDA Nationals three times.

 

Nicole’s most notable debate accomplishments include placing top 10 at the 2022 NSDA Nationals, reaching Semis at Durham, Nova Titan, and the Tradition, and Octos at Yale, Harvard, Blake, and Sunvite. Nicole also received T10 speaker awards at Harvard, Durham, and Holy Cross.

 

At UChicago, Nicole qualified for APDA Nationals as a freshman and won George Washington ProAms! Additionally, she has earned multiple Novice Team Awards and T10 Speaker Awards.

Nicole is incredibly excited to teach this summer!

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Sofia Perri

UChicago '27 | Biology

Sofia has debated Public Forum for 4 years at Blake High School. In her career, Sofia accumulated 8 gold bids!

 

Her most notable achievements include becoming the 2023 TOC Top Speaker and TOC finalist as well as winning NDCA Nationals, MN State, and the Blake Round Robin. She has also made it to finals at the National Season Opener, Apple Valley, and reached deep elims at many tournaments like Glenbrooks and Yale.

She’s super excited to coach at Chicago Debate Academy!

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Jonathan Chen

UChicago '27 | Political Science, Law Letters & Society

Jonathan was the President of Taipei American's Speech & Debate Team

 

As a top PF competitor, he accumulated 7 gold bids and was a TOC octafinalist. In addition to several top placements, Jonathan also championed the Stanford tournament. Most recently, he placed 3rd at the 2023 NSDA Nationals!

 

In his free time, Jonathan started a non-profit to teach debate, lectured at Fulbright for local Taiwanese debaters, and also plays the cello!

 

Jonathan is happy to join the CDA team!

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Roy Tiefer

UChicago '25 | Law Letters & Society, Global Studies

In high school, Roy was ranked the #1 PF debater in the country, amassing 12 gold bids in 14 tournaments — setting the record for most bids in a single year. Roy championed Glenbrooks, Blake, Durham, Emory, Harvard, Stanford, Strake RR, and King RR and also top spoke almost every round robin he attended. 

 

Roy also coached over a dozen teams in the circuit, helping them amass over 30 gold bids. Additionally, he’s worked at over five debate camps and workshops, teaching hundreds of students. 

 

In college, Roy became APDA's #1 Speaker of the Year, winning eight tournaments — including the 2023 National Championship.

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Julien Benchek

UChicago '27 | Global Studies & Economics

Julien debated at Hawken School in Cleveland, Ohio for four years, amassing 5 gold bids.

 

His most notable accomplishments include championing 2023 NCFL Nationals and reaching semifinals at 2022 NCFL Nationals. Julien also championed the 2023 Ohio state tournament and reached finals at the Barkley Forum.

 

Julien also reached late elimination rounds at many other tournaments such as Glenbrooks and Stanford.

He looks forward to teaching students his knowledge!

Public Speaking & Persuasion Instructors

Our instructor are from the UChicago debate team, which ranked the #1 college debate club in the US. They have achieved tremendous success in college, winning the #1 Team of the Year, #1 Debate Club of the year, #1 Speaker of the Year, and National Champions in 2022-2023.

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Aidan Shannon

UChicago '25 | Economics & Public Policy

In high school, Aidan competed in Public Forum, reaching octofinals at NCFL Grand Nationals. His competitive record includes Top-6 placements at regional and state tournaments. Additionally, as captain of James Madison's debate team, Aidan led his team to competitive success by coaching students individually and in small groups.

 

As a coach, Aidan helps debaters develop sound argumentation and round adaptation abilities, prioritizing confidence above all.

 

Aidan looks forward to share his debate and public speaking experience with students of all backgrounds!

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Sydney Cook

UChicago '26 | Law Letters & Society, Global Studies, Race Diaspora & Indigeneity Studies

As a collegiate debater, Sydney qualified for the 2023 APDA National Tournament in her freshman year! She won the Johns Hopkins BIPOC Tournament, winning #1 Novice Speaker and #4 Varsity Speaker.

In high school, Sydney competed in Public Forum, winning the 2019 Betty Gunn Invitational Tournament.

 

In addition to debate, Sydney is an academic tutor and pursing a triple major!

 

She is excited to train campers on debate while instilling confidence in their public speaking abilities.

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Helen Wu

UChicago '25 | Economics & Political Science

Helen was captain of her high school debate team, competing in Public Forum. She placed 5th at the PA State Tournament and championed the Southern PA Debate League (SPDL).

 

In college, Helen is the President of UChicago's debate team. She was ranked the 8th overall team in the US,  championing Brown, Columbia, and NYU — the two largest tournaments of the year. Helen also won 5th place at the 2023 APDA Nationals and represented UChicago at Worlds in Belgrade and Madrid.

As the founder of a successful summer camp, Helen loves  fostering connections with younger students!

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Jesenia Parthasarathy

UChicago '26 | Public Policy

In high school, Jesenia competed in Congressional Debate. She was also President of the National Honor Society and founder of her school's political magazine!

In college, Jesenia has made an exceptional name for herself, attending Nationals as only a freshman! She also competed in Novice Finals at Georgetown, while accumulating multiple speaker awards.

She is also a lead researcher at the Paul Douglas Institute, peer leader at the Environmental Research Group, and a member of an undergraduate consulting club.

Jesenia looks forward to making lifelong bonds with all her students!

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Ethan Ross

UChicago '24 | Political Science

Ethan Ross competed in Policy debate in high school, achieving great competitive success in local and Texas state circuit!

In college, Ethan was chosen to compete at the 2023 World Universities Debating Championship in Madrid, Spain. He has attended Nationals and earned top placements at multiple tournaments, such as Columbia, Penn, Swarthmore, and Pitt!

In addition to debate, Ethan enjoys knitting, exercising, and attending orchestra performances! He is excited to share his passion for debate and public speaking with all students.

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...and more!

Stay tuned for guest speakers and instructors to be announced soon

All of our instructors are talented members of the #1 debate team in the country at the University of Chicago.

Executive Team

Will eventually put all of the committee staff here but I don't feel like doing that as of now

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Helen Wu

Operations Director

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Ale Perri

Public Forum Curricula Director

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Anqi Qu

Finance Director

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Aidan Shannon

Public Speaking & Persuasion Curricula Director

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Sydney Cook

Marketing Strategist

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