Stanford Invitational Tournament

It's not too late to join us for summer 2018!  We still can still generally accommodate last-minute enrollments in our high school sessions--if you're planning to attend, we strongly suggest that you sign up soon!

View our 2018 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:



2018 Beginners' Introduction to Debate Staff Members Include:

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

Cayman Giordano, Division Director, Public Forum

Cayman Giordano has been involved in competitive debate since the late 1990s; he has competed or coached successfully on a national level in Public Forum, Parliamentary, Policy, Lincoln Douglas, Worlds Schools, and Extemporaneous Speaking.  He has coached more than a dozen national champions across four debate events (the plurality in public forum).  He has worked with teams from Hatboro-Horsham high school in PA (NSDA), UMBC and UMCP in MD (APDA), Learning Leaders (WSDC) and is currently coaching for and traveling with several public middle and high schools throughout Howard County, MD (NCFL/NJFL).Cayman has previously taught at Capitol Debate workshops around Washington DC, the Capitol Classic summer institute at Loyola, and was an instructor at the James Logan Debate Academy. 2018 will be his ninth year teaching at SNFI and his third year as division director.


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

Brian Manuel, SNFI Curriculum Coordinator & 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 - Gia Karpouzis (Public Forum Instructor)

Gia Karpouzis, Public Forum Instructor

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 college Gia competed in WUDC debate, where as a freshman she semi-finaled at Nationals. In 2015 she was ranked 15th at the Worlds Universities Debating Championships in Malaysia, where she competed with fellow SNFI coach Jake Riggs. Gia was the first female in her University's 100-year debate history to be named Debater of the Year. She currently teaches debate at the Westridge School for Girls in Pasadena, and coaches debate at Flintridge Preparatory School in La Cañada Flintridge. This will be Gia's fifth year as a Public Forum instructor at SNFI.


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

Miranda Le, Public Forum Instructor

Miranda Le attended SNFI in 2012. Additionally, she has been an instructor for the past 3 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, and her debaters have advanced to late elimination rounds and final rounds, winning prestigious tournaments such as the Middle School National Champions in 2014, the CA Middle School State Tournament Co-Champions in 2016, the Tournament of Champions finalists in 2016, etc. Miranda has coached at Mission San Jose High School and the Holy Cross School in New Orleans. She will be the Public Forum Debate Coach at Presentation High School in the upcoming school year. 


Stanford National Forensic Institute - Natalie Polanco (Public Forum Instructor)

Natalie Polanco, Public Forum Instructor

Natalie is currently the Director of Forensics at the Packer Collegiate Institute in Brooklyn, NY. She has extensive experience in both speech and debate. As a competitor, she won numerous state and national titles, in addition to qualifying for the Tournament of Champions. This year, her students competed at Yale, Harvard, Columbia and Georgetown, as well as Grand Nationals in Washington, DC.


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!


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 Beginners' Introduction to Debate Staff Members Included:

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

Cayman Giordano, Division Director, Public Forum

Cayman Giordano has been involved in competitive debate since the late 1990s; he has competed or coached successfully on a national level in Public Forum, Parliamentary, Policy, Lincoln Douglas, Worlds Schools, and Extemporaneous Speaking.  He has coached more than a dozen national champions across four debate events (the plurality in public forum).  He has worked with teams from Hatboro-Horsham high school in PA (NSDA), UMBC and UMCP in MD (APDA), Learning Leaders (WSDC) and is currently coaching for and traveling with several public middle and high schools throughout Howard County, MD (NCFL/NJFL).Cayman has previously taught at Capitol Debate workshops around Washington DC, the Capitol Classic summer institute at Loyola, and was an instructor at the James Logan Debate Academy. 2018 will be his ninth year teaching at SNFI and his third year as division director.


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

Brian Manuel, SNFI Curriculum Coordinator & 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 - Chris Fielder (Public Forum Instructor)

Chris Fielder, Public Forum Instructor

Chris Fielder, a SNFI 2009 alumnus, has been involved in competitive high school and collegiate forensics for the past ten years. He presently coaches individual events at Cornell University, where he is pursuing a master's degree in Industrial and Labor Relations. During Chris' high school debate career in Kansas City, Missouri, he qualified twice for the NCFL national tournament and twice for NSDA Nationals in Public Forum. In college, he qualified a total of 17 entries to the National Individual Events Tournament for Seton Hall University. Chris much prefers coaching to competing. His students at Ridge, Palos Verdes Peninsula, and Delbarton have collectively achieved: 4 NCFL quarterfinals, 2 semifinals, and 2 finals; 8 NSDA National qualifiers, 8 NSDA Nationals elimination round appearances, and 2 Top 14 finishes; three Tournament of Champions elimination round teams, including a finalist; and, countless late elimination rounds at national circuit tournaments. Chris is also a rabid baseball fan and poker player. Students should talk to him about those things.


Stanford National Forensic Institute - Gia Karpouzis (Public Forum Instructor)

Gia Karpouzis, Public Forum Instructor

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 college Gia competed in WUDC debate, where as a freshman she semi-finaled at Nationals. In 2015 she was ranked 15th at the Worlds Universities Debating Championships in Malaysia, where she competed with fellow SNFI coach Jake Riggs. Gia was the first female in her University's 100-year debate history to be named Debater of the Year. She currently teaches debate at the Westridge School for Girls in Pasadena, and coaches debate at Flintridge Preparatory School in La Cañada Flintridge. This will be Gia's fifth year as a Public Forum instructor at SNFI.


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

Miranda Le, Public Forum Instructor

Miranda Le attended SNFI in 2012. Additionally, she has been an instructor for the past 3 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, and her debaters have advanced to late elimination rounds and final rounds, winning prestigious tournaments such as the Middle School National Champions in 2014, the CA Middle School State Tournament Co-Champions in 2016, the Tournament of Champions finalists in 2016, etc. Miranda has coached at Mission San Jose High School and the Holy Cross School in New Orleans. She will be the Public Forum Debate Coach at Presentation High School in the upcoming school year. 



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

2-Week Beginners' Parliamentary Program

The 2-Week Beginners' Parliamentary program

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