Tom Evnen, Executive Director

Swarthmore College, BA

University of Chicago, MA

Tom debated for four years for Lincoln Southeast High School in Nebraska. Tom twice cleared to elimination rounds at the Tournament of Champions. His senior year, he was a state champion and finalist at the TOC. Tom has coached debate at the Hockaday School (TX), University School (FL), Oxbridge Academy (FL), and La Jolla (CA). Tom’s students have cleared to elimination rounds at the Tournament of Champions thirteen times, including four quarterfinalists and two semifinalists. Tom has also coached two students to championships and one to finals at NFL/NSDA Nationals. In addition, Tom’s students have reached finals or won championships at Apple Valley, Blake, Bronx, the Bronx round robin, Emory, Greenhill, the Greenhill round robin, Harvard, Stanford, Valley, and Yale.

Benjamin Koh, LD Editor

New York University, BA

Columbia University, MA’19

Ben Koh debated for 4 years at Loyola High School in Los Angeles where he was the team captain his senior year. His junior year he qualified to Nationals in policy debate and to the TOC in LD his senior year. He was the Head LD Coach at Byram Hills High School for three years and coaches privately. He has coached finalists at Scarsdale, Yale, the Penn Round Robin, and TOC as well as champions at Walt Whitman, the Ohio State Tournament, and NCFL Nationals. In three years of coaching, he’s coached 5 TOC outround appearances, 12 TOC qualifications, and TOC outround participants every year. He is also on the planning committee for the Texas Debate collective and is the director for NSD Philadelphia. Ben is a MA Candidate at Columbia University in American Studies where he plans to pursue thereafter a Ph.D. concentrating in Asian-American Disability.

Dave McGinnis, 

Macalester College BA

St. Cloud State University MS


Dave graduated from Apple Valley High School in 1993, where he was a state champion in speech and a national qualifier in Lincoln-Douglas debate. He co-founded the Macalester College Mock Trial team, winning JV Nationals and placing third at the American Mock Trial Association Grand Nationals in 1996. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a degree in English literature, and holds a Master’s Degree in Education Curriculum and Instruction.

Also in 1996, Dave founded the Highland Park (MN) speech and debate team, which he coached for nine years. In 2005, Dave moved to California and coached the Lynbrook High School debate team. Currently, Dave is the head debate coach at Valley High School in West Des Moines, Iowa.

Dave’s students have reached the highest levels of debate success. Dave has qualified students to the TOC every year since 2000. He has coached students to the Top 10 at NFL nationals three times in eight years. His students have reached late elimination rounds at every major national tournament, including final round appearances at: Berkeley, Yale, Valley, Emory, and the Minnesota and California state debate tournaments, and tournament championships at: Apple Valley, Stanford, Cedar Rapids Washington, Omaha Westside, the Iowa state debate tournament, St. Mark’s, and the 2007 TOC. Dave also coached a finalist at the 2010 TOC.

Grant Brown, LD Editor, NSD Update Staff Writer

Swarthmore College ’21

Grant Brown debated for Millard North in Omaha, Nebraska. As a debater he accumulated twelve career bids, reaching elimination rounds at Dowling, Iowa Caucus, Valley, Harvard, Glenbrooks, Apple Valley, and Blake. He qualified thrice to the Tournament of Champions, clearing twice, reaching semifinals his senior year, he likewise cleared to elimination rounds twice at the NSDA National Tournament. Grant is currently an Assistant Coach at Lake Highland Preparatory School in Orlando, Florida, his students have closed out Valley, championed Bronx, and reached late elimination rounds of Yale and the Valley RR, acquiring a total of 10 bids so far this year. He is currently pursuing degrees in Religion and Philosophy at Swarthmore College.

Dino De La O, NSD Update Staff Writer

UT Austin’20

Dino De La O debated for four years at Law Magnet in Dallas and graduated in 2016. As a competitor, he qualified to the TOC his junior and senior years. During his senior year, he received 7 bids to the TOC, championed the University of Houston tournament, was the top speaker and semifinalist at the Grapevine and Strake Jesuit tournaments, and advanced to the elimination rounds of every octos bid tournament he attended. As a coach last year, four of his students qualified to the TOC, one of them championed the Sunvitational, and another finished in octofinals of the TOC. This current season, his students have so far accumulated 10 bids to the TOC, championed Yale, championed the Valley RR, and finaled Bronx.

Katherine Fennell, NSD Update Staff Writer

UC Berkeley’21 Katherine debated for Stuyvesant High School from 2013-2017, and served as the team’s novice director and captain during her junior and senior year. She advanced to elimination rounds at virtually every tournament she attended her junior and senior year, including reaching quarters of Harvard, semis of Glenbrooks, finals at the New York State Championships and championing the Byram Hills Round Robin. Katherine taught at NSD and TDC this past summer, and now works as a coach for Debate Drills.

JP Stuckert, NSD Update Staff Writer

University of Notre Dame’ 18

JP is a Liberal Studies and Economics major at the University of Notre Dame where he has been a leader in the philosophy club and in a local middle school Great Books program. JP debated as President of the debate team at Strake Jesuit. He has worked as a private coach for a small group of students since graduation, with his two main debaters receiving a total of 8 bids to TOC. Since graduation he has led 8 labs at NSD’s Flagship Session, TDC, and Strake Jesuit’s middle school camp. Outside of debate JP enjoys swimming and reading classic works of fiction and intellectual history. His debate interests Aristotelian philosophy, competing accounts of practical reason, and criticisms of contemporary social science research.

Becca Traber, NSD Update Staff Writer

Reed College, BA

Yale University Ph.D. Candidate

Becca is a coach for Lake Highland Prep as well for several independent students. As a debater for the Kinkaid School, she earned eleven career TOC bids, won Berkeley and was a finalist at TFA state tournament and the TOC. As a coach, she has coached 14 students to the TOC and 4 students to TOC outrounds. Her students have also excelled at local and regional competitions, winning two Florida State Championships and qualifying every year to both CFL Nationals and NSDA Nationals. She has taught a total of 10 top labs at TDC, NDF, and NSD.  She has served as a board member and Director of Faculty Development at the Texas Debate Collective, a nonprofit debate institute committed to rectifying inequities in access to debate. Outside of debate, Becca is a PhD candidate at Yale University in political science, specializing in political theory. This will be her second summer with NSD.