Stanford Invitational Tournament

It's not too late to join us for summer 2019 - sessions begin July 28th, August 4th & August 11th!

View our 2019 programs schedule.  Not sure which program to choose?  Review our "How to pick the right program" guide.

Beginners' Introduction to Debate

This series of programs is designed to be the starting place for students who are just beginning their speech & debate career.  We offer a 1-Week Introduction to Argumentation & Debate which covers the fundamentals and basics of argumentation and debate so that students learn the bedrock skills necessary to enter into one of our debate format specific sessions (ex Lincoln-Douglas, Public Forum, Individual Events, Congressional Debate, etc) at a more advanced level.  This session will cover argument theory, basic debate research skills, "flowing" (note taking for debate), and other important topics.  In addition, there will be an introductory survey of the specific formats of competitive debate so that students can make an informed choice about which format to choose for their entry into forensics.

We realize that it is daunting to choose your debate format before you come to camp in the summer, so we offer several longer Beginners’/Intro Flex Packages which allow students to continue into the specific debate format of their choice immediately after completing the survey component of the 1-Week Introduction to Argumentation & Debate session:



2019 Beginners' Introduction to Debate Staff Members Include:

Stanford National Forensic Institute - Brian Manuel (Debate Programs Coordinator)

Brian Manuel, Debate Programs Coordinator

Brian is the Director of Debate at Edgemont Jr./Sr. High School in New York and Director of Policy Debate at Stanford University, in addition to serving as a consultant for the National Speech & Debate Association. Widely recognized for his unrivaled talent in revitalizing traditional programs, Brian was named the 2008 Michael Bacon Coach of the Year and 2016 Val A. Browning Director of the Year. He has been coaching for nearly 20 years and was recently elected to the Executive Board of the National Debate Coaches Association.

Under his leadership, Edgemont’s debate program has flourished, winning five state championships and countless speaker awards, as well as presenting to the House Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill. His students championed the 2015 Georgetown Day School Invitational and 2018 Mamaroneck Round Robin in Policy Debate; 2018 Harrison Round Robin and 2019 Newark Round Robin in Lincoln-Douglas Debate; and 2016 Lakeland Round Robin, 2016 Westchester Classic, 2018 University of Michigan High-School Tournament, and 2019 Lakeland Round Robin in Public Forum Debate. After past outround appearances in Policy and Lincoln-Douglas, Edgemont will be represented in all principal debate events at this year’s Tournament of Champions. Brian has enjoyed equal success at Stanford, where he coached its first team in two decades—and fourth team ever—to qualify for the National Debate Tournament, finishing in the top 30 in both 2013 and 2015.

Over the course of his professional career, Brian has coached for Harvard University, College Preparatory School, Cathedral Preparatory School, Chattahoochee High School, Lakeland High School, and Scranton High School. His students have advanced to elimination rounds at every major national tournament, including NSDA, NDCA, NCFL, and CEDA Nationals. He also coached the champions of the 2003 Big Bronx Invitational, 2008 Barkley Forum, and 2012 Golden Desert Tournament in Policy Debate, along with the 2007 NCFL finalists, 2012 NSDA finalists, and 2013 Phyllis Flory Barton top speaker.

During the summer, Brian serves as the Academic Director at the Stanford National Forensic Institute. He previously taught workshops at the University of Kentucky, University of Michigan, Georgetown University, and Millennial Speech & Debate. Brian is looking forward to his eleventh summer at SNFI!


Stanford National Forensic Institute - Caspar Arbeeny (Instructor)

Caspar Arbeeny, Instructor

Caspar Arbeeny is a rising senior at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, OH. He competed in public forum debate at Poly Prep in NY for all four years of high school, and hascoached public forum for Edgemont Jr/Sr. High Schools for the last three years. Over the course of his competitive career, Caspar amassed 12 bids to the tournament of champions, reached the quarterfinal round at the 2016 Tournament of Champions, reached the semifinal round at the 2015 Yale Invitational, and championed the 2016 Lexington Winter Invitational. As a coach, he has helped three different teams qualify to the Gold Tournament of Champions, as well as outrounds at numerous national tournamnets. Caspar is incredibly excited to be working at SNFI this summer.


Stanford National Forensic Institute - Hanh Do (Instructor)

Hanh Do, Instructor

Hanh Do has been involved in competitive debate for the past 24 years on the collegiate and the high school level as a coach, consultant, and adjudicator.  Her students have cleared and placed at Stanford, Harvard, Yale, Isidore Newman, Harvard-Westlake, The Glenbrooks, Holy Cross, Grapevine, Hockaday, and the UT Longhorn Classic.  In addition to teaching PF since its inception, she has instructed in LD, policy, parli, BP, and Worlds Schools Debate.  She has had the immense privilege of traveling internationally to adjudicate and her team in 2016 cleared and placed in the Pan American Debating Championships.  Currently she is the Assistant Director of Forensics at John Paul II in Plano, Texas and has served as the Big Questions Chair for the past two years at the National Speech and Debate Association's National Tournament.  


Stanford National Forensic Institute - Natalie Polanco (Instructor)

Natalie Polanco, Instructor

Natalie is the Director of Forensics at the Packer Collegiate Institute in Brooklyn, New York. With a wide range of experience in the activity, she has overseen the growth of Packer’s first-ever Speech & Debate Team to include 14 active competitors in only its second year of existence. Her students were co-champions in Varsity Public Forum, finalists and quarterfinalists in Junior Varsity Public Forum, and octafinalists in Novice Public Forum at the 2019 Westchester Classic, earning a total of five speaker awards. In addition to qualifying for this year’s Tournament of Champions and NCFL Grand Nationals, her students advanced to elimination rounds at Harvard, Stanford, Georgetown, and Bronx Science. Natalie represented student interests as a member of the NSDA’s Public Forum Ad Hoc Committee, which was tasked with evaluating a number of proposed changes to the event, and currently serves on the Public Forum Wording Committee. She looks forward to spending another summer at SNFI!


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.


2018 Beginners' Introduction to Debate Staff Members Included:

Stanford National Forensic Institute - Gia Karpouzis (At-Camp Administrator)

Gia Karpouzis, At-Camp Administrator

Gia has been a part of the NSDA community since her freshman year of high school, accruing over 100 titles at the local, state, and national level in both speech and debate. In high school, Gia received 2nd place at CHSSA State in Impromptu, placed top 10 in CHSSA Parli, and Semi-Finaled at NSDA in Impromptu Speaking. In colleet, Gia competed in WUDC debate, where as a freshman she semi-finaled at USUDC Nationals. In 2015 she was ranked 15th at the Worlds Universities Debating Championships in Malaysia, and was the first female in her University's 100-year debate history to be named Debater of the Year. She currently teaches Parliamentary and Public Forum debate at the Nueva School in San Mateo. 


Stanford National Forensic Institute - Brian Manuel (Debate Programs Coordinator)

Brian Manuel, Debate Programs Coordinator

Brian is the Director of Debate at Edgemont Jr./Sr. High School in New York and Director of Policy Debate at Stanford University, in addition to serving as a consultant for the National Speech & Debate Association. Widely recognized for his unrivaled talent in revitalizing traditional programs, Brian was named the 2008 Michael Bacon Coach of the Year and 2016 Val A. Browning Director of the Year. He has been coaching for nearly 20 years and was recently elected to the Executive Board of the National Debate Coaches Association.

Under his leadership, Edgemont’s debate program has flourished, winning five state championships and countless speaker awards, as well as presenting to the House Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill. His students championed the 2015 Georgetown Day School Invitational and 2018 Mamaroneck Round Robin in Policy Debate; 2018 Harrison Round Robin and 2019 Newark Round Robin in Lincoln-Douglas Debate; and 2016 Lakeland Round Robin, 2016 Westchester Classic, 2018 University of Michigan High-School Tournament, and 2019 Lakeland Round Robin in Public Forum Debate. After past outround appearances in Policy and Lincoln-Douglas, Edgemont will be represented in all principal debate events at this year’s Tournament of Champions. Brian has enjoyed equal success at Stanford, where he coached its first team in two decades—and fourth team ever—to qualify for the National Debate Tournament, finishing in the top 30 in both 2013 and 2015.

Over the course of his professional career, Brian has coached for Harvard University, College Preparatory School, Cathedral Preparatory School, Chattahoochee High School, Lakeland High School, and Scranton High School. His students have advanced to elimination rounds at every major national tournament, including NSDA, NDCA, NCFL, and CEDA Nationals. He also coached the champions of the 2003 Big Bronx Invitational, 2008 Barkley Forum, and 2012 Golden Desert Tournament in Policy Debate, along with the 2007 NCFL finalists, 2012 NSDA finalists, and 2013 Phyllis Flory Barton top speaker.

During the summer, Brian serves as the Academic Director at the Stanford National Forensic Institute. He previously taught workshops at the University of Kentucky, University of Michigan, Georgetown University, and Millennial Speech & Debate. Brian is looking forward to his eleventh summer at SNFI!


Stanford National Forensic Institute - Cayman Giordano (Division Director, Public Forum)

Cayman Giordano, Division Director, Public Forum

Cayman Giordano was a Public Forum lab leader at SNFI from 2009-2018 and the division director of Public Forum from 2016-2018.


Stanford National Forensic Institute - Miranda Le (Public Forum Instructor)

Miranda Le, Public Forum Instructor

Miranda Le attended SNFI as a student in 2012. She came back to teach Public Forum debate in 2014.She has been an instructor for the past 5 workshops as well as an instructor at the Harvard Debate Council's Summer Workshop in 2016. During her high school debate career, she was invited to and attended multiple round robins including the California Round Robin, the Holy Cross Round Robin, and the Millard North Round Robin. Miranda was the first female to win a championship for her high school. She has been coaching Middle School and High School Public Forum debate since her senior year. Her debaters have accrued numerous top speaker awards at state and national level tournaments while also advancing to late elimination and final rounds. Her students have secured champsionships at various tournaments including the Middle School National Champions in 2014, the CA Middle School State Tournament Co-Champions in 2016, the Tournament of Champions finalists in 2016, Tournament of Champions Double-Octofinalists in 2018, and more. Miranda has coached at Mission San Jose High School and the Holy Cross School in New Orleans. She is the Public Forum Debate Coach at Presentation High School in San Jose. 


Stanford National Forensic Institute - Natalie Polanco (Instructor)

Natalie Polanco, Instructor

Natalie is the Director of Forensics at the Packer Collegiate Institute in Brooklyn, New York. With a wide range of experience in the activity, she has overseen the growth of Packer’s first-ever Speech & Debate Team to include 14 active competitors in only its second year of existence. Her students were co-champions in Varsity Public Forum, finalists and quarterfinalists in Junior Varsity Public Forum, and octafinalists in Novice Public Forum at the 2019 Westchester Classic, earning a total of five speaker awards. In addition to qualifying for this year’s Tournament of Champions and NCFL Grand Nationals, her students advanced to elimination rounds at Harvard, Stanford, Georgetown, and Bronx Science. Natalie represented student interests as a member of the NSDA’s Public Forum Ad Hoc Committee, which was tasked with evaluating a number of proposed changes to the event, and currently serves on the Public Forum Wording Committee. She looks forward to spending another summer at SNFI!


Stanford National Forensic Institute - Eli Smith (Policy Instructor)

Eli Smith, Policy Instructor

Eli most recently coached the winners of the 2018 NDCA National Championship and the TOC in LD Debate. He has coached multiple students to the elimination rounds of the TOC and NDCA in LD. As a college debater, he "United the Crowns" as a member of the first team to win the CEDA and NDT national championships in the same year.  He has experience coacihng PF, LD, CX, and some international debate formats.  He is excited to get to work with you this summer!



Upcoming Camps

1-Week Introduction to Argumention & Debate

Speech & debate is a very powerful activity which teaches students many skills which are in high demand in the contemporary world: public speaking, research skills, writing and logical thinking!  Students in this session will learn the bedrock theories and methods necessary to enter the world of competitive speech & debate.  There will also be a brief introduction to the major standardized formats of competitive debate which are offered at high schools around the natio...

2-Week Beginners' Flex Package

The 2-Week Beginners' Flex Package

3-Week Beginners' Core Flex Package

The 3-Week Beginners' Core Flex Package

4-Week Beginners' Experience Flex Package

The  4-Week Beginners' Flex Package Experience