Stanford Invitational Tournament

Thanks for joining us this summer!  Please return to our website later this fall to see the dates of our 2018 programs.

3-Week Core Policy Program

Our approach each summer involves thinking of interesting ways to use the topic as a vehicle for teaching students how to compete successfully during the year. Our 3 Week program is designed to improve students’ critical thinking and strategy: taking well-reasoned argument and tying it to evidence researched by the students on any given topic, and enhancing that argument in later rebuttals with strong analysis and expert vision. Moreover, students should walk out of the SNFI experience with a confidence that they can compete in every debate round, regardless of the arguments being made, which in contrast to other institutes, involves working on both policy arguments and critical theory.

Core components of the 3 week curriculum include:

In addition to these core components, students will also have access to these other great options:

Instructional Staff for the coming season are listed in the right-hand sidebar and below.


2018 3-Week Core Policy Program Staff Members Include:

Check back closer to the start of camp for details on our 2018 staff

We will continue to add additional staff members as enrollment and availability dictate. Details are posted on additional staff members as they are confirmed and as we have complete biographic information available. Staff listing may not be fully up to date or reflect all hires to date.


2017 3-Week Core Policy Program Staff Members Included:

Stanford National Forensic Institute - Elsa Givan (Policy Instructor)

Elsa Givan, Policy Instructor

Elsa is currently a debater at Georgetown University and a student in their School of Foreign Service.  Prior to Georgetown, Elsa debated for the College Preparatory School in Oakland, CA.  In 2013, she was the Top Speaker and Semi-finalist at the National Forensic League National Championship, Third Speaker and Octafinalist at the Tournament of Champions, and Champion of the Golden Desert Tournament.  In 2012, Elsa and her partner were finalists at the 2012 National Forensic League National Championship.  In addition, to these successes Elsa has cleared and/or received a top 10 speaker award at every major national tournament she's attended.  She is an alumnus of the Sophomore Scholars program at SNFI and this will be her second summer as an instructor.


Stanford National Forensic Institute - Brian Manuel (Division Director, Policy & LD Debate)

Brian Manuel, Division Director, Policy & LD Debate

Brian has been coaching debate for 17 years. He is widely recognized for unrivaled talent in creating and rebuilding programs from the bottom up. Brian is currently the Director of Policy Debate for the Stanford Debate Society at Stanford University, the Director of Debate for Edgemont Jr./Sr. High School in Scarsdale, NY, and a Tabroom.com support consultant for the National Speech and Debate Association.

While the Director of Policy Debate at Stanford, Brian has rebuilt the program and most recently coached teams to 3rd place at the Cross Examination Debate Association and elimination rounds at the National Debate Tournament.  At Edgemont, Brian coached the 9th ranked policy debate in the country, four NY state championships in Policy Debate and Public Forum,  established a middle school debate program, and introduced the school to the format of Lincoln Douglas Debate.  In addition, he has had students compete on Capitol Hill in front of the House Judiciary Committee on the topic of Domestic Surveillance.

Prior to Stanford, Brian coached for Harvard University, Lakeland High School, Chattahoochee High School, Cathedral Preparatory School, and Scranton High School. 

Brian’s teams have cleared at virtually every major natural tournament they’ve attended.   He has coached the champions of the 2003 Big Bronx Invitational and 2008 Barkley Forum.  Additionally, Brian has had multiple teams in the elimination rounds of the Tournament of Champions, NDCA, NCFL, and NSDA National Championships with finals finishes in 2007 and 2012.  He has also coached the Phyllis Flory Barton top speaker in Policy Debate at NSDA Nationals in 2013.  Along with his tremendous tournament successes, Brian’s students have attended every major national round robin in the United States.

During the summer Brian serves as the Policy Institute Director at the Stanford National Forensic Institute and has previously taught at the Kentucky National Debate Institute, with the Fellows program, Capitol Debate Summer Institutes, Millennial Institutes, and the Georgetown Debate Seminar.


Stanford National Forensic Institute - Ian Beier (Policy Instructor)

Ian Beier, Policy Instructor

Ian Beier is currently a PhD student and assistant coach at the University of Kansas and the College Preparatory School. In 2017, KU cleared three teams to the elimination rounds of the National Debate Tournament and had one team in the quarter finals of the tournament. In 2016, KU qualified three teams to the National Debate Tournament and made it to the finals of the tournament. From 2013-2015, he coached at Damien High School. During this time, the debate team remained competitively successful and cleared at several national tournaments. In 2015, Damien High School made it to finals of the National Forensics League tournament.  Prior to his time at Damien, Ian was the Assistant Director of Debate at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas from 2010 to 2013. During that time, UNLV qualified six teams to the National Debate Tournament, qualifying with the top seed in the district in both 2012 and 2013.


Stanford National Forensic Institute - Sydney Pasquinelli (Policy Instructor)

Sydney Pasquinelli, Policy Instructor

Sydney Pasquinelli is a Visiting Instructor at the University of Pittsburgh, where she is also a PhD Candidate in the Department of Communication. She has spent the past 7 years studying communication topics at an advanced level, but  came from a political science background at Wayne State University, where she also debated for four years and qualified to the National Debate Tournament twice. Sydney coached policy debate full-time at Wake Forest University from 2009-2011 and at University of Pittsburgh from 2011-2016, and has also coached part-time for Groves High School (MI), University of Oklahoma, and Edgemont High School (NY). She is excited to start coaching part-time for Stanford in the upcoming school year! Many of the teams Sydney has coached have achieved high levels of competitive success, both in regional and national circuits. She has instructed summer labs at the Spartan Debate Institute, the UMKC Summer Institute, and the Mean Green Workshops, but her favorite to work at is the Stanford National Forensic Institute!


Stanford National Forensic Institute - jon sharp (Policy Instructor)

jon sharp, Policy Instructor

jon sharp has been a debate coach for longer than you have been alive. He has coached for Emory, New Trier, West Georgia, the University of Southern California, and the University of Kentucky. He is currently the Director of Debate at the Georgetown Day School. As a college coach, jon has coached teams to the late elimination rounds of every major tournament in the country, including multiple CEDA National championships. As a newly minted high school coach, his teams have won Greenhill, the Greenhill Round Robin, and the Ohio Valley at the University of Kentucky. He has taught at more than 40 debate labs at the Bates, Berkeley, Emory, Kentucky, and Stanford debate institutes, including directing the Kentucky Fellows Program, the Berkeley Mentors, and the Stanford Swing Lab. His former lab students have won every national tournament on the schedule, including the TOC, and include multiple former TOC top speakers.




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