Participating in speech and debate made a significant impact on my life. It opened avenues to travel around the country and to work with the brightest individuals at top institutions.
Debate trains students in critical thinking, oral and written communication, and the ability to synthesize large swaths of research to form cogent and sound positions on a broad range of topics. These skills are not only transferable to the classroom but also equip students with a method of solving complex problems in real-world settings. Perhaps the most important value of debate, however, is that it teaches students to rigorously challenge and dislodge themselves from preconceived notions in order to form new, diverse understandings of the world around them, creating a more informed and capable citizenry.
Due to enforced time constraints, debaters often speak at rapid speeds in order to advance as many arguments as possible and explore an issue in depth from a multitude of perspectives. While the delivery rate may sound very strange to the untrained ear, it forces debaters to be acute, quick, and nimble. Below are some short snippets from my debates at USC.
You can view some of my debate accomplishments here.
Coaching. I remain involved in the community as a coach at both the high school and intercollegiate level.
After graduating, I became an assistant coach for Cal-Berkeley. I helped two teams earn First Round At-Large Bids, awarded to the top 16 teams in the country over the course of the year. In 2017, I returned as an assistant coach for USC. I helped qualify two teams to the National Debate Tournament, extending USC's streak for most consecutive years of qualification in the nation.
Coaching has helped build time management and organizational skills through designing curriculum, developing diagnostic tests, and engaging in individual feedback sessions with students.