GMIF 2016 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 27 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 22 AFA Individual Event National Championships, 4 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 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!
GMIF HEAD FACULTY
Beth Clarke- Co-Director of Extemp
BETH CLARKE 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.
Joseph Dineen- Co-Director of Extemp
JOE DINEEN received his Master's degree in Political Science from GMU back in 2014. He is still figuring out what to do with it, but in the interim, he is back doing what he loves--imparting knowledge and teaching educators. As a student at Saint Joseph's University (class of 2011), Joe reached national outrounds in both limited prep events and all four public address events; he finalled in Impromptu at AFA as a junior, and was the NFA National runner-up in Extemp his sophomore year. As a coach, his students have competed in countless national elimination rounds on both the high school (TOC, CFL, NFL/NSDA) and college (IFA, AFA, NFA) levels. This activity means the world to Joe, and he is confident that his sixth GMIF will be absolutely incredible.
Andrew Eilola - Director of Oratory
ANDREW EILOLA is thrilled to be serving as the director of oratory this year alongside the wonderful Sarah Weinflash! 2016 marks the 12th year he’s been involved with forensics and his 6th 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 enter his final year of the health communication PhD program in the fall. While at Mason, he’s coached a national champion and several finalists. Last year at the AFA national tournament, three of his students advanced to the final round of persuasive speaking. 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!
Nathan Leys- Assistant Director of Extemp
NATHAN LEYS is a rising senior on the GMU Forensics team. During his college career, Nathan has competed in the Informative and Extemporaneous final rounds at AFA-NIET, and has multiple finals in Extemp at HFO and Norton. Before coming to Mason, Nathan competed for Des Moines Roosevelt High School, where he won the 2013 NSDA International Extemp national championship. Nathan interns for the National Speech & Debate Association, and has helped to run the last two national tournaments. Nathan also coaches at Trinity Preparatory in Winter Park, FL, where he coached inter alia the 2014 IX National Champion and the 2015 Harvard Champion. He is excited to return for his seventh GMIF.
Sarah Weinflash- Assistant Director of Interp
Sarah Weinflash is ecstatic to be back at GMIF for her fifth year! She is excited to work alongside the talented oratory coaches whom she has long admired. In high school, Sarah was a 3-time GMIF student, GMIF lab assistant, NJ State Champion, and National Quarterfinalist. She has a BA in Theatre from Muhlenberg College and is thrilled to surround herself once again with the enthusiasm, hard work, and passion of the forensics community.
Colin Malinak - Assistant Director of Interp
COLIN MALINAK is the Upper School Debate Teacher at Saint Mary’s Hall in San Antonio, Texas. He has had the honor of coaching this year’s TFA State Champion (2015, 2016) as well as 3rd place in Domestic Extemp (with 6 other students advancing in both domestic and foreign extemp). He has also coached students to NSDA finals and ETOC outrounds in Extemporaneous Speaking. As a former middle school coach, he is honored to have coached back-to-back teams to Schools of Excellence in Speech at the National Speech and Debate Association National Tournament (2014, 2015), including national champions in Humorous, Dramatic, and Poetry Interpretation, with multiple finals in virtually every competitive individual event. As a college competitor for the University of Texas at Austin, he advanced to outrounds in both interpretation and public speaking events and still actively coaches Program of Oral Interpretation (with nearly a dozen outrounds at the AFA National Tournament) as an alumni of that program.
Rebekah Chatellier-Overall 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.
Daniel ALTABET is an incoming freshman here at Mason and could not be more excited! During high school, he completed 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. While Daniel spent much of his senior year focusing on Oratory, he says that his true passion lies with Interp. He has several years of success in Humorous and Oral Interp, as well as experience in both Dramatic and Duo Interp. Daniel has competed in a myriad of final rounds and out-rounds at tournaments such as Wake Forest, Yale, Bronx, Villiger, Princeton, Patriot Games, Sunvite, Harvard, and most recently NIETOC. When he’s not doing speech, Daniel loves to cook, eat, sleep, and watch football. He is constantly thankful for the community and support system provided by Forensics and he is thrilled to be joining the GMIF team 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 was the novice Duo Champion and the novice DI runner-up at the Norton, 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 2nd year in the library here at GMIF and can't wait for the summer!!
Landry AYRES is a second year Master's student at George Mason University, and a coach of the GMU Forensics Team. As a high school competitor, Landry was successful in both interpretation and public address events, reaching outrounds at Harvard, The Gelnbrooks, and NSDA Nationals, as well as being named a two-time Texas Forensics Association State Champion in HI and Duo. He was also as an Individiual Sweepstakes Champion at the St Mark's Heart of Texas Invitational, GMU Patriot Games, and was the first ever recipient of the NIETOC Individual Sweepstakes Perfect Performance Award. As a college competitor, he participated in all three genres of competition, reaching multiple final rounds at the L. E. Norton Invitational at Bradley University, the Hell Froze Over Swing, and the International Forensics Association. He ended his competitive speech career as the eighth overall Individual Sweepstakes speaker at th American Forensics Association National Individual Events Tournament, thanks to outrounds in Dramatic Interpretation, Program Oral Interpretation, Duo Interpretation, and After Dinner Speaking. Landry also is an intern and blogger with the nonprofit 1in6 Inc, and believes we should all wash our hands, work hard, and be nice to people. He LOVES forensics (more than he probably should) and cannot wait for his sixth GMIF!
Emma BLEKER is a rising senior at GMU and is thrilled to be working her third GMIF! During her four years in high school speech, Emma competed in out-rounds at tournaments such as Harvard, GMU, St. Marks, and NFL Nationals. Since coming to GMU, Emma has reached out-rounds at Internationals and AFA Nationals in duo interpretation, dramatic interpretation, poetry interpretation, and persuasive speaking. Emma attended GMIF as a camper for both the 2011 and 2012 sessions, and has found a family at GMU that she will treasure forever. She cannot wait to help contribute to the growth of campers in an environment she loves!!
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.
Justin GRAHAM is a rising first-year at the University of Oxford. During his high-school career, he has placed second at both the NSDA National Championship and the NCFL National Championship in extemporaneous speaking. Additionally, Justin has won championships at Harvard, the Florida Blue Key, the Sunvitational, the Tournament of Champions, and at Wake Forest, among others. Moreover, he is the reigning champion of the Extemp Tournament of Champions in impromptu speaking, and has finaled in oratory at several national tournaments. Justin is currently ranked number one in the country in extemp, and is excited to return to GMIF for the fourth time and spend his first summer as an instructor.
John HENRY is rising sophomore 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!
Avi JAGGI received his BA in Government and International Politics with a minor in Global Affairs from George Mason University in 2015. Avi has had a prolific competitive public speaking career. As a high school student, he advanced to the final round of original oratory at NCFL and NSDA nationals. As a college competitor, he enjoyed success in persuasive speaking, communication analysis and a variety of other events. In 2015 he was ranked the 20 best overall speaker in the country. Avi continues to coach students across the United States the power of public speaking. He could not be more excited to work with and amongst some of the brightest minds in this activity at GMIF. GMU, YOU KNOW!
Katie LAI is a California native and rising senior who joined the Mason family last year. Since then, she has been in informative outrounds at the Norton, HFO, and AFA. This will be her first time working at GMIF, and she is excited to meet new faces and share her love of very nerdy (but very cool) informative topics! While not doing speech, Katie is probably binge watching Scandal, looking up youtube videos of David Tennant, or baking something delicious. She can’t wait for all the fun this summer!
Clayton LENIG is a rising sophomore on the Mason team. As a former GMIF student, Clayton is ecstatic to be returning to assist others in one of his favorite activities!
Haley LAWRIE is a rising senior on the JMU forensics team, where she studies International Affairs and Spanish. She is very excited to be joining GMIF this year! Although she only competed in high school forensics for one year at her high school in Lynchburg, Virginia, she has found her passion on JMU's team and will begin her third year on the team and will serve as a team captain. She performs in limited preparation events and public address, but appreciates all forms of speech. When not doing forensics, she can be found hanging out with the JMU quad cats or making cheesy political jokes. She can't wait to help students to have their best GMIF experience this summer!
Killian MCNEELY will be a rising sophomore on the George Mason University forensics team and is extremely excited to join the 2016 GMIF staff! Hailing from the great(ish) state of Ohio, Killian can not wait to join the GMIF family and work with this year’s extemp campers!
Karin NORDIN is currently pursuing a Masters degree at the University of Alabama while working as graduate student coach of their nationally ranked speech team. This past season, she coached students who reached national out rounds in poetry, prose, and persuasion. As a competitor, she performed in out-rounds of drama, prose, poetry, persuasion, and impromptu, including five national final rounds. Although this will be her first year at GMIF, she's spent the past four summers working at various speech camps, and absolutely LOVES seeing how students transform and change through literature. 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 2016!
Erin PHILLIPS is a rising sophomore on the Mason Forensics team. She has been competing for five years across nearly every genre of forensics. She is originally from Massachusetts but now considers Virginia and Mason her second home. She is an avid supporter of all the amazing benefits students can gain from forensics and how they can be applied not only to competitive endeavors, but to real life as well. Outside of forensics, Erin is a proud sister of Gamma Phi Beta, a member of her sorority's philanthropy committee, a writer for George Mason's chapter of the international food blog Spoon University, and an avid yogi. She had a blast last year teaching the students in her lab and was really proud of their success throughout the year. She can't wait to make more memories this summer!
Pablo RAMIREZ URIBE really had no clue how much his life would change when he joined the Forensics community as a scrawny, little high school freshman. While he is now a scrawny, little college senior, he partook in high school events such as HI, DI and Duo and made amazing friends through GMIF and through national tournaments, and now, in college, has competed in Impromptu, POI, ADS, Info and Extemp; in the past three years, he’s been a finalist in Impromptu at HFO in 2014 and semifinalist both days in 2016, 1st place at the International Forensics Association tournament in 2015 and runner-up in 2016, a National Quarterfinalist in Program Oral Interpretation in 2015, and National Semifinalist in Impromptu in 2016. All he wants now is to be a helpful resource for all the campers who will now also discover how truly brilliant the world of forensics and the GMIF family is!
Michael RIZZO is a rising junior on the WKU Forensics team. During his high school career, he has competed in final rounds at the TOC, Berkeley, and out-rounds of NSDA. He won districts in Original Oratory, transforming as a speaker after his time as a student here at GMIF. In college, Rizzo has advanced to national quarter and semi-final rounds of informative and persuasive speaking. This is his fourth year at GMIF - third year coaching - and is thrilled to be a part of the GMIF family!
Parker ROTH is a rising sophomore on the Mason Forensics Team and can't wait to join the 2016 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.
Paige SETTLES is a former student of GMIF, and is excited to return for her second year as a staff member! Paige just graduated from Western Kentucky University, where she competed for four years and has coached the Summer Forensics Institute for five years. Prior to competing on the college circuit, she competed at the high school level in Indiana, and attended NSDA nationals (then NFL, which make her feel old) three times, advancing to elimination rounds in extemp and impromptu. As a college competitor, she advanced to final rounds in extemp, impromptu, Persuasive Speaking, and Communication Analysis as well as the semifinal round of Informative Speaking. In addition, she reached elimination rounds in extemp at both the AFA-NIET and NFA national tournament each year of her college career. Paige is a four-time extemp national finalist, was the 2015 NFA National Runner-up in Extemp, and was also the 2015 NFA National Champion in impromptu. This fall, Paige will start herMasters Degree in Public Affairs at Indiana University. She looks forward to spending another summerwith the GMIF family!
Shreetika SINGH is so excited to be joining the freshman 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 3rd year undergraduate student 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 speaking, Poetry, Prose, Impromptu, Drama, Duo, and Humorous interpretation throughout her high school speech career. Alekhya was named All-Conference in Prose Interpretation, 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 2nd 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.
Abigail TOYE like long walks to rounds, colorful suits, and cutting interp pieces. She is excited to be joining the interp team for her first GMIF this summer. As a rising junior on the Arizona State University team she competes mainly in interp and occasionally dabbles in the platform events. Having competed three years at Shadow Mountain High School in Arizona, she is entering her sixth year competing in forensics. Abigail coaches at Brophy College Prep and helps out various students around the AZ high school circuit. During her time coaching, she has had the privilege to coach multiple AZ state champions and NSDA qualifiers. Abigail can also be found watching the weirdest movies she can find, drinking copious amounts of coffee, eating Takis, and drawing graphs for her Economics homework.
Josh WARTEL is a rising sophomore at Brown University. He finished first at the MBA Round Robin twice, won Extemp TOCs, Patriot Games and the Patriot Games Round Robin his senior year of high school. He was a three time finalist at NSDA and won the 2015 USX final round. He is also a two-time Villager champion and three-time Virginia state champion. Josh is excited to return to GMIF for his sixth summer!
Noah WEINFLASH is a rising sophomore at Tufts and is excited to be coming back for his fourth year at GMIF, and second on staff! In high school, Noah competed in a little bit of everything, but always had a love for oratory. Throughout his career, he reached out rounds in extemp at tournaments including the University of Kentucky TOC and the Princeton Invitational. In Oratory, Noah was the state champion his junior and senior year, and placed fifth at NSDA Nationals his senior year. In his free time, Noah enjoys short to medium walks on the beach and questioning whether the Tooth Fairy exists. Also he watches way too many Yankees games and worships Nate Silver. He's ready to help a new class of GMIFers write some amazing, passionate speeches