Policy Debate

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2 week Program  

Sophomore Select 


For more information about specific programs – click the links above!

We are still accepting new enrollments, on the basis of space available!

If you are not offered a spot in the program of your choice, the $250 deposit is refundable.

Testimonials from former UTNIF campers


Attending UTNIF before my senior year was such a rewarding experience. The smaller lab sizes gave me more one on one time with the amazing lab leaders who in turn gave me more personalized advice and help. The discussions we had not only made me a better debater but also made me a better person from instructors that were genuine and honest in helping me improve. Even if camp had been online, being able to feel a continual sense of progress and having structure to my approach towards the season were the most integral to my motivation and success. Having a guiding hand that could keep me on track made me feel confident in my improvement. – Daniel Shi, UTNIF camper 2019

I greatly enjoyed attending the UTNIF’s 6-week Survivors program this past summer as well as the Skills program two years ago. The faculty are incredibly accomplished, innovative, and most importantly, dedicated to providing debaters with one-on-one attention and thoughtful feedback. The Survivors session especially allowed me to hone my skills through numerous hours of research/file production, lectures, and practice debates. I’m truly grateful for having had the opportunity to attend the UTNIF and highly recommend it to anyone looking to improve at debate! – Sakshi Garg, UTNIF camper 2019

Confirmed 2020 Staff members!

Brendon Bankey, Director of Debate

Brendon is the Director of Debate and co-Director of the UTNIF. He currently teaches Argumentation & Advocacy at the University of Texas at Austin as an Assistant Professor of Instruction in Communication Studies. Brendon is excited to bring his experience to his second summer at the UTNIF. He co-coached the #1 ranked team in the nation and champions of the 2018 National Debate Tournament as a graduate assistant debate coach at the University of Kansas. Brendon received his Master’s Degree and served as a graduate assistant debate coach at Wake Forest University. Throughout his career, Brendon has been actively involved in high school debate. He was an assistant coach at Pace Academy for five years. Some of Pace’s accomplishments during that span include winning the 2015 National Debate Coaches Association Tournament; winning the Glenbrooks, Michigan, and MBA; and receiving the top speaker award at St. Marks. Prior to working for Pace, Brendon spent four seasons working with Whitney Young, which culminated in an elimination debate appearance at the Tournament of Champions. Several of Brendon’s former summer debate workshops have gone on to debate in college at competitive programs throughout the United States. These students have attended schools such as the University of Kansas, Baylor University, Indiana University, Liberty University, and the University of Southern California.

Eric Lanning, Program Coordinator

Eric Lanning is currently the Program Coordinator for the University of Texas National Institute in Forensics, where he also helps to coach the speech and debate teams. Prior to joining the University of Texas, Eric lived and worked in China for 3 years as the Academic Director of speech and debate for the National Speech and Debate Association of China. Before moving to China, Eric spent 15+ years at the top levels of competitive policy debate. As a competitor in college, Eric’s accomplishments include winning the National Debate Tournament (2010), winning the Kentucky Tournament (2010) and the prestigious Kentucky Round Robin (2011) as well as being the Top Speaker at both. In 3 appearances at the NDT, 2 of them as a First Round at Large Bid (Top 16) Eric advanced to the elimination rounds as the 2nd seed twice (2010, 2015), advancing to the Octofinals (2009) and Quarterfinals (2015) as well as being the 2nd ranked speaker (2010). In addition to his own competitive success, Eric has worked with some of the most successful high school debaters and programs of the last decade as a coach. These accolades include winning the prestigious Baker Award for season long excellence, Back to Back National Championships at the Tournament of Champions, as well as the Winner and Top Speaker at nearly every major National Tournament, including Greenhill, St. Marks, the Glenbrooks, the Barkley Forum, the Montgomery Bell Academy, and Harvard. Eric is originally from Houston, Texas and attended both Michigan State University and the University of Houston, where he graduated with a degree in political science.

Dr. Allie Chase, Senior Faculty, Sophomore Select Supersession

Dr. Allie Chase is currently the Associate Director of the William Pitt Debating Union at the University of Pittsburgh. She has almost a decade of debate coaching experience, including five years at the University of Kansas where she coached teams to elimination rounds at every national tournament as well as countless regional tournaments. She has coached the Rex Copeland Award recipients, NDT champions, and an NDT top speaker. Allie also has extensive high school coaching experience including coaching NSDA National Tournament and CFL National Tournament champions and TOC finalists. She has directed and instructed at summer debate institutes for the past six years. In addition to the competitive aspects of debate, Allie believes deeply in the transformative potential of argument for personal growth, education, and socio-political change.

Ian Beier, Senior Faculty, Sophomore Select Supersession  

Ian is the Director of Debate at College Preparatory School in Oakland and a PhD student in the Department of Communication Studies at the University of Kansas. In 2017, CPS qualified four teams to the TOC and the squad has cleared at the tournament multiple times during his time working with the program. He has been an assistant coach at the University of Kansas for five years. He was formerly Assistant Coach at Damien High School. In 2015, his squad was in finals of the NSDA tournament. Prior to his time at Damien, he was the Assistant Director of Debate at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Leah Schultz, Senior Faculty, 2 week Policy

Leah Schultz is currently a commercial litigation associate at an International Law firm based out of Atlanta, Georgia. She received her J.D. from Emory University, where she graduated with Honors and was the Executive notes and comments editor for the Emory Law Review. Prior to pursuing her J.D. she received a M.A. in Communication from Wake Forest University. Leah is among the most successful college debate coaches in recent memory. She has worked with Wake Forest, Gonzaga, Harvard and Kentucky as an assistant debate coach. Her teams have won every major award in college debate, including Copeland award winners, Top Speaker at the NDT, Top Seed at the NDT and NDT Champions. As a competitor in college, Leah reached the semifinals of the NDT, was the 5th overall speaker and was the 4th ranked at large bid. In high school, she debated with UTNIF Program Coordinator, Eric Lanning – reaching the semifinals of the TOC and receiving 8 TOC bids. This will be Leah’s first summer back at debate camp since starting her legal career and she is excited to share her unique perspective on criminal and civil law as students explore the policy debate topic (criminal justice reform) this summer. Her recent areas of focus professionally include taking a leading role in her firms COVID-19 response as well as pro bono work for inmates on death row in Georgia.  

Kenny Delph, Guest Lecturer, 2 week Policy

Kenny is a recent graduate from the University of Kansas, finishing the 2020 season as one of the top ranked teams in the nation. Next year they will be pursuing their masters in communication at Wake Forest University as well as coaching their successful debate team. Kenny was recently recognized as the 2020 CEDA ‘Baby Jo’ Debater of the Year, one of the highest honors in the collegiate debate community. This award recognizes an outstanding debater with a record of competitive success and a commitment to represent the highest values of the debate community. Their competitive accomplishments include recieving First Round at Large bids to the NDT twice, advancing to the elimination rounds twice, 2nd place at the CEDA championship tournament and winning the prestigious Harvard Invitational, California Coast Swings and Pittsburgh Round Robin. They are a former UTNIF camper – having debated for Little Rock Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas. 

Het Desai, Junior Faculty, Survivors

Het Desai is a recent graduate from Coppell High School and will be attending the University of Texas at Austin this fall. From being ranked 2nd on the Coach’s Poll with 12 career bids, crowned the winner of the Glenbrooks and the California Round Robin, competing in late out round of national tournaments such as Emory and Cal, and earning speaker awards that range from 3rd at the Greenhill tournament to 2nd at the California Round Robin, he has just finished a successful high school career with victories and accomplishments across the nation. Het is excited to work at the UTNIF this summer and start debating for UT this fall! This will be Het’s first time working at the UTNIF.

Dr. Ricky Garner, Senior Faculty, 2 Week Program

Dr. Richard Garner is currently the Director of Debate at the University of Houston. Since first teaching atthe UTNIF in 2003, he’s taught labs at every skill level, helped design institute curriculum, and worked with students on everything from anarchy, to space elevators, to psychoanalysis. Before coming toHouston, he coached at Harvard for a decade, after stints at NYU, Columbia, and Emory. In the past, he’s had the privilege of coaching debaters that have won CEDA Nationals, the TOC, and top speaker at the NDT. In college, he won the CEDA National Championship at New York University, and in high school he debated in the late elims of both the UIL and TFA State Tournaments.

David Kilpatrick, Instructor, 2 week program

David Kilpatrick recently gradated from University of Texas after debating for 5 years and has been actively involved with debate for over a decade. He currently coaches at Westwood High School and UT. During the 2018-19 season he’s coached teams to qualifications to the Tournament of Champions and the National Debate Tournament, including the Championship of the Longhorn Classic. This is his 7th UTNIF and he’s thrilled to be leading survivors this year. He absolutely loves debate and hopes to help students meet and exceed their goals for the next season.

Nico Juarez, Instructor, 2 week program

Nico Juarez has been involved in debate for 8 years now. Seeing teaching and learning as a site for liberation and enlightenment, Nico combines his experience doing competitive debate, his role as an active scholar in the humanities, and pedagogies of care to support students in achieving their personal and educational goals. Nico was a two-time first-round debater at the University of Oklahoma and succeeded in reaching elimination rounds at the National Debate Tournament multiple times. As a coach, Nico has experience working with a variety of traditional policy debate and critical debate students from both small and large schools. Outside of debate and academia, Nico enjoys visiting museums and wandering through book stories with coffee in hand. If asked about psychoanalysis, he tends to talk a lot.

Zachary Watts, Instructor, 2 week program

Zachary Watts is a rising third-year debater for the University of Texas at Austin. Currently, he debates as a 2N/1A, but also has previous experience in the 2A/1N position. This will be his second year working with the UTNIF. He looks forward to both deepening his knowledge and literature base for anti-blackness studies and providing assistance for the high school debaters attending the camp. Outside of debate, Zachary is a rising third-year chemical engineering student at the University of Texas at Austin.

Will Coltzer, Instructor, 2 week program

William Coltzer is a rising third year at the Unuversity of Texas at Austin. Will studies government and has competed for UT the past two years. As a college debater, he has qualified to the National Debate Tournament (NDT) twice and was invited to the Pitt Round Robin. In highshool, he competed for Winston Churchill (Tx) in both LD and Policy. His senior year he was in the quarters of Greenhill, Emory, Grapevine, and the TFA state tournament. He attended the UTNIF as a high schooler and worked the camp last year as an RA/lab assistant.

Mason Marriott-Voss, Instructor, 2 week program

Mason Marriott-Voss is a student at the University of Texas at Austin. Mason studies biochemistry and has competed for UT for a season and a half. During his first full year of debate in college he qualified for the National Debate Tournament (NDT) and was invited to the Pitt Round Robin. In high school he competed for the Liberal Arts and Science Academy (LASA) in Austin. His senior year he was elimination rounds of the Tournament of Champions (TOC), and won both the Harvard Invitational and the Texas TFA State Championship. He was invited to the Greenhill Round Robin, and was in late elims of Greenhill, St Marks, Texas, and Grapevine. He attend the UTNIF before his senior season, and worked at the camp the past three summers as a lab leader/assistant.