GMIF 2017 DIRECTORS
Peter Pober - GMIF Director
DR. PETER POBER is the only director in the history of the American Forensic Association to direct a top-ten team nationally for 28 consecutive years. Before moving to the college circuit, Peter coached more than 100 high school national finalists. While a Director of Forensics at both the University of Texas and George Mason, Peter's teams have garnered 24 AFA Individual Event National Championships, 5 AFA Individual Sweepstakes National Championships, 4 AFA Team Sweepstakes National Championships, and 11 consecutive AFA Overall National Program Championships in Speech and Debate. Peter is the only top-ten Director in the history of the American Forensic Association to win both the Distinguished Service Award for the NIET and the Lifetime Distinguished Service Award from AFA. Peter is thrilled to have been inducted into the National Speech and Debate Association’s Hall of Fame in 2015, the first college coach in 26 years to receive this honor. Peter’s participation and passion for forensics are unrivaled in the country and he is thrilled to bring students from across the country and around the world to study the forensic arts in the Washington Metropolitan Area.
Ian Hopkins- Assistant Director
IAN HOPKINS is a current coach at George Mason University where he is earning his PhD in Health Communication and teaches public speaking. In 2014, Ian was recognized as the American Forensics Association Outstanding New Coach of the Year. This is his third year as part of the George Mason family and his first year as the Assistant Director of GMIF. Ian has had the honor of coaching high school and college students to over 25 national outrounds in all three genres, including multiple finalists in Extemporaneous Speaking, Impromptu Speaking, Informative Speaking, and Communication Analysis. In the past six years, Ian has helped coach three different programs into top teams recognized on the college level. Ian is thrilled to return for his fifth yearof GMIF and excited to work with so many amazing students!
Rebekah CHATELLIER-Dorm Director
Rebekah is excited to return for her eleventh summer with GMIF, her seventh as the Dormitory Director. She is an alumna of the Mason Forensics Team and received her B.A. in Theatre from George Mason University in 2009. She hails from New Orleans and in the years hence college she has taught both middle and high school Speech and Theatre, worked professionally on the NOLA stages, and earns a living in the Tourism Industry. Though New Orleans has her heart, she is proud to come back every year to GMIF, her summer home.
Beth CLARKE- Co-Director of Extemp has been the head coach and a teacher of Theology and English at Brophy College Prep for 14 years. In that time, the Brophy Speech and Debate team has won a state championship, several speech and debate school of excellence awards, and 1 award of Outstanding Distinction from the NSDA. Beth’s event- of- choice is Extemporaneous Speaking. In college, she placed 3rd at AFA in 2001; and as a coach, she has coached 3 different students to national finals in DX, including the National Champion in 2012, and the runner- up in 2013.
Paige SETTLES- Co-Director of Extemp is excited to return for her 4th GMIF this summer! Paige is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Public Affairs at Indiana University. She graduated from Western Kentucky University in 2016, where she competed for four years and coached the Summer Forensics Institute for five years. As a college competitor, she advanced to final rounds in extemp, impromptu, persuasive speaking, and communication analysis. Paige is a four-time extemp national finalist, placing in the top half each time. She was the 2015 NFA national runner-up in extemp and the 2015 National Champion in impromptu. She has coached students to extemp outrounds at Harvard, Yale, Glenbrooks, Extemp TOC, and NSDA in addition to coaching an MBA Round Robin participant. She is thrilled to serve as Co-Curriculum Director of Extemp this summer alongside her dear friend Beth Clarke!
Andrew EILOLA- Director of Oratory is thrilled to be the Directer of Oratory again this year! 2017 marks the 13th year he’s been involved with forensics and his 7th coaching at GMIF. He received a forensics scholarship in 2008 to attend Concordia College in Minnesota where he was a 2011 national finalist in persuasive speaking and attained national-level success in a variety of other events. He was welcomed into the Mason family later that year and hasn’t looked back since. He got his master’s degree in communication from GMU in 2014 and will complete the health communication PhD program this fall. While at Mason, he’s coached a national champion and numerous finalists in persuasion. Most recently, Andrew was hired as the Assistant Director of Forensics for the GMU team and will be working alongside Dr. Peter Pober beginning fall 2017. He has also been on the coaching staff at Moorhead High School since 2012, where he has worked with state and NSDA finalists. Andrew attended speech camp when he was in high school and credits it as one of the reasons he continues to coach and teach years later. He hopes to provide a similar welcoming and educational experience to all his students!
Deion HAWKINS- Director of Interp
Deion Hawkins is a second year doctoral student at George Mason University. He has been involved in forensics since he was 13 and he is thrilled to be returning to GMIF this year. Deion completed his BA in English Education at The Ohio StateUniversity where he was in charge of their student run forensics team. After completing undergrad, he went on to earn his Masters at Marshall University, eventually moving up in the ranks to become Assistant Director Of Forensics. While at Marshall, he had the privilege of coaching a national finalist and propelled the team to top 15 in the country. Although he has ample experience in all genres, Deion is ecstatic to be coaching interp at GMIF!
Rebeeca MEYER-LARSON-Asst. Director of Interp has been an educator, speech coach, and theater director for the last 25 years in Moorhead, MN where she is the artistic director and founder of ACT UP Theatre.Rebecca’s productions have been recognized for excellence by USA Today, Young Arts, Theater Live!, the Spotlight Musical Theater Awards, and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. She is a two-time US Presidential Scholars Program award-winning teacher, a Ted-X speaker, and a 4 diamond coach with the National Speech and Debate Association. Her team at Moorhead High School has been the MN state speech champions the past two seasons. Rebecca has had more than a dozen NSDA semi-finalists and finalists including the 2014 national champions in duo. Moorhead's speech program has been awarded the NSDA Speech School of Excellence Award the last 7 years. Rebecca has been blessed by a myriad of artful opportunities, including GMIF this summer, but her favorite creations are her children Sadie, Izzy, and Finn.
DERREK CHUNG is a recent graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and is excited to be joining the GMIF staff for the first time! He has worked with several NSDA finalists, as well as many Illinois state finalists and champions. As part of Texas Speech, Derrek also advanced to outrounds in all public address and limited preparation events, including finals in both After Dinner Speaking and Extemporaneous Speaking, and a national championship in Informative Speaking. Derrek is excited to be in D.C. to attend Georgetown for graduate school in the fall, and can’t wait to interact more with the George Mason team starting this summer!
MOLLY HOKE is ecstatic to be working her 6 th year as a GMIF Interp educator after being a GMIF alum herself! On the high school circuit, Molly earned 4 state championship titles including HI, DI, Duo, and Broadcasting. After making her way to Mason where she received her degree in Communication/Journalism, Molly made it to numerous national out-rounds in events such as Persuasive Speaking, Informative Speaking, and Program Oral Interpretation, and was a 2016 national finalist in Duo Interpretation. Now entering her second year as a Graduate Assistant for the GMU forensics team where she is earning her degree in Women and Gender Studies, Molly has coached two national finalists in Dramatic Interpretation. Molly is beyond excited to be involved in such an amazing activity that not only continues to change her life and perspectives, but which draws the most talented students she has the privilege to work with at an institution that fosters and molds such creative and determined minds!
VICTORIA LEDFORD will be a first-year doctoral student at the University of Maryland this fall and is excited to kick off her stay in the DMV area as a GMIF staff member! Victoria has been involved with forensics for 9 years. She earned both her Bachelor’s and Master’s at Marshall University, where she competed and coached for the Marshall University Thundering Word. As a collegiate competitor, Victoria advanced to NFA elimination rounds in both Persuasion and Impromptu and was a 2015 NFA National Finalist in Impromptu. In her two years as an official collegiate coach, Victoria has coached students to NFA elimination rounds in Persuasion, After Dinner, Rhetorical Criticism, Prose, and Poetry Interpretation. Most recently, Victoria coached a student to the 2017 NFA National Persuasion Final. Victoria attributes much of her personal, academic, and life success to forensics. She is honored by the opportunity to work with amazing students as a part of this year’s Oratory staff!
JAMAQUE NEWBERRY is a graduate of Western Kentucky University and an alumni of Nova High School in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. During his time as a competitor on the high school circuit, he Championed the NSDA National Tournament in Dramatic Interpretation in 2011 and reached numerous final rounds at tournaments such as Yale, Emory, Sunvitational, Glennbrooks and The Harvard Invitational. As a competitor on the College Forensics Circuit, he had many achievements on the national level . Jamaque specializes in solidifying performance choices or coming up with fresh new ideas, script reworking and anything else students need help with
KARIN NORDIN recently received her Masters degree from the University of Alabama and is so excited to be joining the George Mason coaching staff for the 2017-2018 season as a PhD student. This past season, she coached students who reached national out rounds in program oral interpretation, prose, and persuasion. As a competitor, she performed in out-rounds of drama, prose, poetry, persuasion, and impromptu, including five national final rounds. She's excited to return for her second years as a GMIF lab leader. Karin plans to stay in the forensics world for the rest of her life, and she cannot wait to share her passion for speech at GMIF 2017!
BRIA WOODYARD is a Mason alum and received her master's this past fall from Arizona State University. Most recently she was a coach at ASU and Phoenix Country Day School. She has worked with dozens of state champions, NSDA qualifiers, and several NSDA, AFA, and NFA finalists and champions. During Bria's time as a collegiate competitor, she saw numerous outrounds in all three genres. A GMIF alum, she's very excited to come back home this summer.
Daniel ALTABET is a rising sophomore here at Mason and could not be more excited to work his second GMIF! During high school, he competed for Scarsdale High School in NY, where he was a 2-time NSDA qualifier and multiple state finalist, including the 2015 runner-up in Humorous Interp. Daniel also competed in OO, OI, DUO, and DI, reaching a myriad of final rounds and out-rounds at tournaments such as Wake Forest, Yale, Bronx, Villiger, Princeton, Patriot Games, Sunvite, Harvard, and NIETOC. When he’s not doing speech, Daniel loves to cook, eat, sleep, and watch football (or gossip girl, whatever feels right). He is constantly thankful for the community and support system provided by Forensics and is thrilled to share his passion for all things speech with the next generation of speechies this summer!
Mernine AMERIS is a rising sophomore on the George Mason team and is too ready to be a part of GMIF 2015. She is from the great home state of Queen Latifah and the Cake Boss (New Jersey) and competed on the Freehold Township High School Fighting Opi forensics team for 4 amazing years. In high school, Mernine reached outrounds at Harvard, Yale, and Princeton in both HI and DI. In college, she's made outrounds in things like DI, After Dinner Speaking, and Duo Interpretation. At AFA, she even competed in the Duo final which is pretty cool. She loves Chipotle steak quesadillas, old episodes of Spongebob, and Drake's latest Instagram post. And, of course GMIF. It's her 3rd year working here at GMIF, which is absolutely insane and can't wait for the summer to take pictures of all of the beautiful babies because every GMIFer is, in fact, her baby.
Brigitte CHAVEZ is transferring to Mason this upcoming year as a junior. She has completed her Business Administration Associates and is now working towards her Bachelors in Accounting. She was a member of Northern Virginia Community College’s forensics team for the past two years. Her favorite events are prose and communication analysis. She is very excited to attend and help with her first GMIF!
Jacob CORBIN is an upcoming freshmen at George Mason University majoring in Computer Science with a possible double major in Cybersecurity. During his 5 years of forensics he has competed in Duo, Prose, Poetry, and Di. He qualified for nationals for three of those 5 years. He is currently the state champion of Virginia in Di with success at many other tournaments including GMU's very own Patriot Games. He is super pumped for GMIF and will bring a ton of energy and positive vibes.
Regan COPPLE is a rising freshman on the Mason team hailing from Des Moines Roosevelt program. She is a two-time state finalist in Domestic Extemp, as well as being state runner-up her junior year. She has competed around the country and advanced to elimination rounds at tournaments like Wake Forest and Patriot Games in both Extemp and Impromptu, as well as being a two-time ETOC qualifier. In addition to Extemp, Regan has competed successfully in informative, reaching state finals, and DI (yes, extempers can act). She is excited for her third GMIF, her first as a coach.
Danny DRANE, after rising up from some corn field in Iowa, competed for Des Moines Roosevelt High School in Extemp, Public Forum, Congress, Oratory, Impromptu, and even performed Pinocchio as a Duo one time. In Extemp, his main event, Danny placed 6th at the MBA Round Robin, 2nd in the Patriot Games Round Robin, 4th at the overall GMU tournament, 6th at Glenbrooks, and won two state championships in International Extemp. Danny has also pulled off a state championship and a state runner-up title in Public Forum, combined with a 5th and 2nd place finish in Oratory and Impromptu at the 2016 Patriot Games tournament, respectively. He plans on continuing his good luck at Mason, competing for the GMU Forensics Team next year as a freshman while studying Government and International Politics. He looks forward to passing down his Extemp knowledge and awkward sense of humor to GMIF this upcoming summer.
Stephen DUROSAIYE is a rising sophomore at George Mason University, proud member of the Class of 2020. He is a Finance Major and an aspiring actor. He assisted with GMIF last year as a librarian and Interp floater. This summer, he will be an Interp Lab assistant and he is excited to learn more about the activity and share unforgettable experience with peers and students.
Danielle HAHAMI is a rising sophomore at George Mason University majoring in government and international politics. Throughout her high school and college career, Danielle has reached out rounds at numerous tournaments in poetry, prose, DI, and DUO including a 2016 poetry national championship her senior year of high school. Danielle is SO excited to be coaching GMIF for her first time, and can't wait to meet all the wonderful campers this year!
Sam HAMERSKI is an incoming freshman on the GMU Forensics Team. In high school, he was co-captain at Roseville Area High School in Minnesota. He is am a 3 time national finalist, Harvard champion, 2 time state medalist and runner up and 3 time section champion in the events of Duo, Original Oratory, Humor, Drama and Storytelling. Outside of speech, he is a simple man who enjoys baseball, photography and his dog.
John HENRY is rising junior on the Mason team and he couldn't be more excited! John spent 3 years competing for Holy Ghost Prep in Pennsylvania where he primarily did Original Oratory and Dramatic Interp, with experience in Duo and Humorous. While attending HGP, John was a two time NCFL Qualifier and the State Champion in Original Oratory. This past year, he broke to multiple national out-rounds including 3 finals at the International Forensics Association including a championship in Persuasive Speaking, as well as a Quarterfinal in Impromptu Speaking at the American Forensics Association tournament. John couldn't be excited for his 3rd GMIF, his second as a staff member!
Zach KAPNER is a rising freshman at Brown University, and he is super excited for his first ever GMIF after four years competing for Scarsdale High School in Scarsdale, New York. While Zach competed in OO, OI, Info, DI, and Duo throughout his high school career, extemp was always his passion. Over the course of his four years competing, Zach saw final rounds at tournaments including Wake, Bronx, Villiger, Princeton, Sunvite, Columbia, Emory, Harvard, and CFL Nationals, along with taking sixth at the 2017 MBA Round Robin. When he's not speaking, Zach likes cooking (and eating), listening to music, and watching Pixar movies. He's super excited to be coming down to Virginia this summer, and he can't wait for GMIF 2017!
Kendyl KOWALSKI is an incoming freshman here at Mason and will be double majoring in Psychology and Mass Communications. She has participated in Dramatic interp, POI and every IE event under the sun. She was 5th in DI at Harvard this past year and was 1st in the state of Tennessee overall. She's excited to be coming onto the team and being apart of her first GMIF!
Andrew LANGFORD recently finished a half decade career in Extemporaneous Speaking. For the past three years, he has been ranked among the top Extempers in the nation. Since 10th grade, Andrew has been in 20 final rounds in Extemp at state and national tournaments. This includes finals at tournaments like Yale, the New York Invitational, and Glenbrooks. Recently, he was runner-up in Extemp at Catholic Nationals. Andrew is also the current Florida state champion in International Extemp and has won Blue Key in International Extemp, the Barkley Forum at Emory, and the California Invitational at Berkeley. He participated in the MBA Round Robin for the past two years and in all of the past three years qualified for States, the Tournament of Champions, NSDA Nationals, and Catholic Nationals. On the local circuit, Andrew was recognized for his efforts to expand his school's Extemp program by being awarded District Student of the Year. Andrew seeks to bring some of his experience mentoring others to GMIF, where he hopes to help prepare the future of Extemporaneous Speaking.
Brian LEVY recently finished his 4th year of Competition in Extemporaneous speaking and was the captain of Extemporaneous speaking at Cypress Bay High School. Brian has finaled at many national and state tournaments both Junior and Senior year including, The Blue Key Invitational (2014, 2015), The Nova Titan Invitational (2016), The Sunvitational (2017). FFL Varsity State Tournament (2016, 2017), and has reached out rounds At Patriot Games, Glenbrooks, the New York Invitational, The Barkley Forum, California Invitational, the TOC and NSDA nationals, in Extemporaneous speaking, Dramatic Interpretation and multiple other events. Brian was the District Champion in Domestic and International Extemporaneous speaking and Selected as Student of the Year (2017). Brian is excited to bring whatever knowledge and experience possible to the GMIF staff
Haleigh MCGIRT is an incoming freshman on the George Mason team, and will be starting school there in the fall as a Psychology major, with a minor in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Haleigh is from Jupiter, Florida, where she competed on the Jupiter High and Jupiter Middle teams for a total of seven years. She has competed in all interpretation events, but finds that her true passion lies with the binder events. Haleigh has competed in out rounds of most major national tournaments, and some of her titles include Yale Champion in OI and POI, 2nd in Poetry and POI at the Patriot Games, and Harvard Champion in POI. She is excited to join the GMIF staff after spending two years as a camper. Haleigh is thrilled to be a part of this amazing community and is looking forward to working with the many talented students of GMIF!
Adia MCLAUGHLIN is a rising Sophomore on the George Mason University Forensics Team and she's more than excited to have joined a team that she has admired since the beginning of her high school forensics career. When she isn't competing, she enjoys eating anything in front of her and dancing off the calories later. She is beyond ready to leave her mark on the world and this team!
Killian MCNEELY is a rising junior on the George Mason University forensics team and he is ecstatic to return to GMIF! Killian was a member of the historic Wooster High School speech and debate team for four years competing in United States Extemporaneous Speaking and Congressional Debate. Since coming to Mason he has appeared in out rounds at the International Forensics Association, leading to an international championship in Impromptu Speaking. He is super stoked to attend his second GMIF, this time as dorm staff.
Erin METZGER is a sophomore studying Communications at GMU. Originally from Virginia Beach, she was the three time state champion in prose before joining the GMU team. Now, her success transfers into her new favorite events: DI and Duo. Erin was once a camper at GMIF, and now is ecstatic to explore scripts and characters with students as well as share her knowledge, experience, and passion this summer at GMIF.
Tom MURABITO is an incoming freshman at GMU, where he will be studying environmental science. He is so excited to start his first year with the team and GMIF! Tom competed in high school forensics for two years and focused the majority of his time on DI, HI, Duo, and POI. Throughout his two year career he has reached out rounds at major tournaments like Yale, Princeton, Harvard, and CFL Nats. He believes that the message of the piece is what drives a performance and hopes that this summer is full of fun experiences!
Lucas MURATORE hails from the small town of Chelmsford, MA. He first came to GMIF as a camper in the summer of 2013 -- and his life was never the same. Now, as a rising Senior on the Mason Team, Lucas has traveled the nation competing in all three genres. But, his favorite events are DI, DUO and Prose. When he isn't forensicating he's producing short films, playing guitar, and chillin with the bros. Shoutout to his bulls JPH and Jim Welty.
Abbie PERRY is a rising junior at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and is thrilled to join the 2017 GMIF staff! Abbie competed for four years at Millard West High School in Omaha, Nebraska and reached national out rounds in Oratory and Expository. As a college competitor, she has competed in public address and limited preparation events. Abbie is an 8x state finalist and the 2017 Nebraska state champion in informative speaking. She is 2x qualifier and has reached out rounds at the Interstate Oratorical Association’s national tournament. She has also reached out rounds at the Norton, HFO, and AFA. Abbie is excited to work with the amazing students and faculty at GMIF this summer!
Justin POLLARD will be an incoming freshman at George Mason studying philosophy. He competed at the Virginia state forensics tournament two years in a row and is ecstatic to be competing on Mason's team. Justin attended GMIF for two years and can't wait to be able to give back to a program that made him realize how important speech is to him.
Parker ROTH is a rising junior on the Mason Forensics Team and can't wait to join the 2017 GMIF staff! Parker first found his love for forensics during his three years on the Orono High School Team in Minnesota, where he competed in Prose, DI, OO, and Poetry. (He also did impromptu once but that doesn't count.) His senior year, Parker reached final rounds at Glenbrooks, Dowling, and Harvard and ended his year as the Minnesota State Champion in Prose. During his first year on the Mason Team, Parker reached out rounds at the Novice Norton, HFO, Internationals, and AFA Nationals, and he can't wait to continue his college forensics career with such a beautiful family. Parker loved his time as a camper, and he is thrilled to help other people find their love for the activity that has already given him so much.
Shreetika SINGH is so excited to be in the sophomore class at George Mason University where she will be double majoring in International Relations and Business. During her high school career, she has placed seventh in International Extemporaneous speaking at NSDA nationals, reached both semi-final and final rounds at several national-circuit tournaments (including Patriot Games!) and has received six bids to the TOC this year alone. She reached the final round of Congressional Debate at the TFA State Tournament this year and semi-finaled at the TOC. Aside from these accomplishments, Shreetika was also invited to the MBA Round Robin and the Capital City Round Robin after triple-qualifying to NSDA Nationals in Oratory, Extemp and Congress her junior year. When she’s not filing articles for extemp or procrastinating, Shreetika likes to (try) to learn new recipes, binge-watch Netflix and create videos for Break the Ceiling, an online platform that helps bridge the gender gap in the Speech and Debate community. She looks forward to working at GMIF this summer and can’t wait to share her love for extemp with others!
Alekhya TALLAPAKA is a rising senior at George Mason University. Studying for a B.A. in Global Affairs while concentrating in International Development, she is also working towards a minor in Gender and Women studies. Alekhya started her speech career as an 11 year old in middle school Declamation, and competed in both speech and debate for four years at Rosemount High School in Minnesota. Alekhya has participated in Extemp, Poetry, Prose, Impromptu, Drama, Duo, and Humorous interpretation throughout her high school speech career. Alekhya was named All-Conference in Prose, and has earned the Legacy Award from Rosemount High School. In her college career, Alekhya has participated in both public address and limited preparation events. She was state champion in Minnesota during her 1st year, and having just finished her 3rd year here at George Mason, she's been in multiple national outrounds as well. Alekhya has had the privilege of working with high schoolers at various speech camps across the United States, and has coached multiple national outrounders in extemp speaking at NSDA. In her free time, she enjoys reading, sleeping, getting angry about various injustices around the world, and tweeting sarcastic remarks at world leaders.
Jacob THOMPSON is an incoming freshman on the Mason Forensics team and can’t wait to work with everyone at his second GMIF. For the last 4 years Jacob has competed at Des Moines Roosevelt in Extemp, Oratory, Impromptu, and Informative speaking. He has final round experiences at National tournaments like Yale, Blue key, Glenbrooks, MBA, both the TOCs, and NSDA nationals. During his high school career found a love for forensics he is excited to carry into college and even more excited to share with campers at GMIF this year. Next year on the Mason team he plans to continue his passion for limited prep events while exploring the opportunities available in Public Address.
Ben ZHOU is super excited to join GMIF as a coach for the first time after spending two summers as a camper. For the past four years, he has competed for the Pingry School Speech and Debate Team in New Jersey. In Original Oratory, Ben was a two-time national qualifier for both the NSDA and NCFL national tournaments, was district champion in Original Oratory his junior year, and reached out rounds at several national tournaments, including the 2015 and 2016 Yale Invitationals, 2015 Patriot Games, and the 2015 NCFL Grand National Tournament. He also placed 4th overall in Original Oratory at the 2017 Harvard Tournament. Ben is looking forward to returning to where his speech career started and hopes to help make GMIF as special for the students as it was for him!