About Us

Eric Palmer

Director / Pomona College BA, University of Pittsburgh Ph.D Candidate

Eric debated for two and a half years at Howland High School in Ohio. He was top speaker at the Tournament of Champions and won or participated in final rounds at Berkeley, Emory, Blake, Omaha Westside, the Southwest Round Robin, and the Chesapeake Bay Round Robin. Eric cleared to elimination rounds two years in a row at the TOC, reaching octafinals his junior year and quarterfinals his senior year.

As a coach, his students have won Greenhill, the Greenhill Round Robin, Berkeley (twice), Bronx, the Montgomery Bell Academy Round Robin, the Victory Briefs Tournament (twice), Stanford (twice), Valley (three times), Iowa Caucus, Dowling, Harker (three times), the Harker Round Robin, and College Prep School (twice). His students have also had final round finishes at Saint Mark’s and Emory (twice) and finished in the top six at NFL Nationals. Eric’s students have cleared at the Tournament of Champions eleven times. In 2006, he coached the TOC champion, and his students were one ballot from closing out the tournament, with the other student finishing in semifinals. He coached a finalist at the tournament in 2009. In 2008 and 2010 he coached top speakers at the TOC, and coached semifinalists in 2008 and 2011.

Eric is currently a doctoral student in philosophy at the University of Pittsburgh. His research interests include philosophy of mind, ethics, and Kant.

Ari Parker

Editor-in-Chief / University of Illinois BA

Ari directs the Walt Whitman Speech & Debate Team, one of the largest programs in the country. This year, his students championed Blake, Big Bronx, Greenhill, MBA and co-championed the Valley Mid-America Cup. In addition, his students took second at Emory and Apple Valley. He previously coached and debated, aeons ago, at Glenbrook North.

Ari graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. When he’s not coaching debate, he helps run a major D.C.-area test prep company.

Steven Adler

Editor-in-Chief / Brown University ScB ’15

Steven debated for four years at Mercer Island High School. As a junior, Steven won Auburn and reached the quarterfinals of Berkeley, en route to a winning record at the TOC. As a senior, Steven set a season record for TOC bids (13), including championships at Berkeley, Stanford, the Harvard-Westlake School, Federal Way, and Whitman College. Steven also competed at both the MBA and the Voices Round Robins, where he won the Voices Educational Forum. Steven was Top Speaker at VBT, 2nd Speaker at both UC-Berkeley and Bronx Science, and 3rd Speaker at the TOC. He is now an Assistant Coach at Lexington and a private coach for various individual debaters.

Dave McGinnis

LD Editor / 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.

Alex Kramer

LD Writer / Drake University ’14

Larry Liu

LD Writer / Auburn BEng ’15

Larry Liu debated for four years at Oak Mountain High School and the Indian Springs School in Birmingham, AL. Larry was the co-founder and captain of the Indian Springs debate team. Over his career, Larry won Woodward Novice Nationals and St. Mark’s, reached the final round of the Glenbrooks, placed third at the Greenhill Round Robin, and was a quarterfinalist at Emory. Larry has been a top ten speaker at the Glenbrooks (7th), Greenhill (5th), Emory (5th), and the Tournament of Champions (5th). He was twice invited to the Montgomery Bell Academy Round Robin and cleared to octafinals at the TOC as a junior.

Jeff Liu

LD Writer / Auburn BEng ’15

Jeff Liu debated for four years at Oak Mountain High School and the Indian Springs School in Birmingham, AL. Over his career, he earned nine bids to the Tournament of Champions—winning Emory, reaching semis of Greenhill and twice reaching quarterfinals at the Glenbrooks. Jeff placed among the top ten speakers at Emory (1st), the TOC (2nd, 9th), Greenhill (3rd), St. Mark’s (4th), and the Glenbrooks (5th), and was also invited to both the Greenhill Round Robin and the Montgomery Bell Academy Round Robin, where he placed 5th. As a junior, he finished as a quarterfinalist at the TOC; as a senior, Jeff concluded his career by closing out the inaugural Walt Whitman Beltway Invitational and the Tournament of Champions with his twin brother Larry. In addition to his individual success, Jeff was also the co-founder and captain of the Indian Springs debate team.

Rebar Niemi

LD Writer

Rebar Niemi is the head coach at Bainbridge High School in Bainbridge Island, WA. As a competitor he was champion of the Federal Way tournament, Washington State Forensic Association tournament, and Meadows School tournament. He reached semifinals of the Victory Briefs Tournament and competed in the round of 16 at the Tournament of Champions. A first year coach, his students have cleared to elimination rounds at the Valley Mid-America Cup, St. Mark’s Heart of Texas, Whitman College, the University of Puget Sound, and the Cal Invitational, as well as the final round of the Washington State Forensic Association tournament. He graduated from Mt. Vernon high school in 2008 and is currently Director of Communications for TARL, a Seattle-based curatorial collective.

John Scoggin

LD Writer / UCSD BA ’12

John debated for two years for the Blake School in Minneapolis, Minnesota. As a competitor John earned 5 TOC bids, won the Dowling round robin, was the top seed at the UC Berkeley tournament, and advanced to the trophy round at NFL nationals. As a coach at Loyola High School in Los Angeles California, John’s students have reached late elimination rounds at tournaments like Berkeley, the Glenbrooks, and Meadows.

Maddy Stein

LD Writer / Claremont McKenna BA ’15

Maddy debated for four years at Randolph High School in New Jersey. She qualified to the TOC her senior year and qualified to NFL nationals her junior and sophomore years. She was the co-champion of the Hendrick Hudson Tournament, a semi-finalist at the Columbia and Harvard Tournaments, a quarterfinalist at Stanford, and an octafinalist at Valley, Lexington, and Harvard. She also attended the Harvard, Vassar, and Walt Whitman round robins.