WUDL Announces Staff for Ornstein Summer Debate Institute

The WUDL has announced its staff for the 5th annual Matthew Ornstein Summer Debate Institute. This staff is the result of reviewing more than 60 applicants, numerous interviews, and dozens of recommendations. We had a veritable wealth of qualified and dedicated candidates, and appreciate those who took the time to apply and consider joining us this summer.

We are thrilled to host these folks this summer in D.C., each bringing extensive teaching and competitive debate experience to helping our students. The majority of our staff has worked at previous Ornstein Summer Debate Institutes, and many are alumni of other urban debate programs around the nation.

To register your student for camp, sign up here:


Novice: #1

Michelle Thomas and Kalyani Allums

Michelle is returning to our staff from last summer, and serves as the Head Coach of the Binghamton University Debate Program, with multiple NDT qualifiers this year. Kalyani is a former high school debater from Texas now attending and debating for Emory University, Class of 2022. While in Atlanta, she dedicates much of her time to working with students in the Atlanta Urban Debate League.

Novice: #2

Wayne Young and Gabi Figueroa

Wayne, an alumni and volunteer with the Baltimore Urban Debate League, is returning to our staff for his third summer. Wayne recently graduated from the McDaniels College, and will start his M.A. Social Work at the University of Maryland-Baltimore in the fall. Gabi Figueroa is a former highly successful high school debater for North Star Academy in New Jersey. She is now a student and debater at Rutgers University, Class of 2022, and coaches several local programs with the Newark Debate Academy.

Novice #3

Linda Ramseur and Olivia Berry

Linda, an alumna of the NYC UDL, returns to our staff for a second year. She debates for, and coaches at Simpson College, Class of 2020. Olivia Berry, an alumna of the St. Louis Urban Debate League, is a college student at Tulane University Class of 2022, where she judges and coaches in the local debate circuit, including for Isadore Newman.

Novice #4

Randall Martinez and Mary Beth Armstrong

Randall Martinez has an extensive coaching record at the high school and college level, including at the University of Miami. He is currently the Director of Debate, Columbus HS, (Miami). Mary Beth is a debater and student at George Mason University, Class of 2022. She has extensive experience coaching and working with middle school students in her hometown in Iowa.

Novice #5

Colton Gilbert and Maggie Ryan

Colton is a former debater now serving as the Director of Debate, Little Rock Central (AK), a national circuit powerhouse program. Maggie Ryan is a student at the University of Maryland, Class of 2022. She volunteers extensively with the WUDL and has served as the assistant coach at Northwestern University, playing a large role in the growth and competitive success of that program.

JV: #1

Alex Dresdner and Darcell Brown

Alex, an alumna of the Minnesota Urban Debate League, returns to our staff for a second year after spending last year studying abroad in Brazil. She is a student and debater for Emory University, Class of 2022. Darcell, an alumni of the Detroit Urban Debate League, is also returning to our staff for a second year. He was an accomplished debater, and currently serves as the Head Coach at University High School Academy (MI) in the Detroit Urban Debate League.


Dara Davis and Hiba Shiekh

Dara, an alumna of the Chicago Urban Debate League, returns to our staff for a second year. She currently serves as the Activities Director and Debate Coach at Ogden International School (Chicago). Hiba, also a Chicago Urban Debate Alumna, is currently serving as an Americorp volunteer with Reading Partners, a literacy building group in New York City.


Darrian Carroll and Frantz Deetjen

Darrian is a PHD Candidate at the University of Maryland. Previously, he led an underdog University of Las Vegas debate program deep into college nationals. Now, he volunteers as the assistant debate coach at Flowers HS, a WUDL program. Frantz Deetjen is the Chair of the Social Studies Department and the Debate Coach at Bowie HS (MD). His students have consistently places at WUDL tournaments since their debut. Both are returning to the summer institute for their second year (Darrian first worked our summer program in 2016).


Omar Price, Selah Lee-Bey, and Jon Alfuth

Omar is the Debate Coach and a Social Studies Teacher at DuVal High School.

He was named Coach of the Year last season by the WUDL, and also serves as the debate coordinator for PGCPS. Selah is a Reading Specialist and the Director of Debate, at Washington Latin PCS (DC), our hosts. She is returning to our staff for her fourth(!) year. Jon is a Policy Analyst on education issues at National Governor's Association. He is a former teacher and debate coach in the Memphis Urban Debate League, and has coached for several WUDL programs, most recently Capital City PCS.


Cydney Edwards and David Leo

Cydney is an alumna of the Chicago Urban Debate League, currently serving as the Program Director of the Miami UDL. She returns to our staff for a second year after leading our varsity lab last year. David is a student at George Washington University Class of 2023. He is the Assistant Debate Coach at Eastern HS (DC), a new WUDL Program this year, and one of our most engaged volunteers in 2018-19.

Varsity #2

Aubrey Semple and Jackie Poapst

Aubrey, an alumni of the New York Urban Debate League, is now the Program Director of the NYCUDL. He is the nation's most experienced Program Director, and has coached many high level programs in the New York area. Jackie Poapst is the Assistant Director of Debate at George Mason University, which qualified multiple teams to college nationals this season.

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