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Debate Cherubs Alumni Updates – Dec. 2017


From the Division Director –

The NHSI’s 2017 Debate Institute was a resounding success, hosting 135 students across four programs and six weeks. Debate Cherubs split their time between learning about the upcoming education policy topic, honing their argumentative skills, and competing in full debates. Their hard work has already paid off, with several NHSI alumni already qualified (or well on their way) to the Tournament of Champions. Chris Eckert, an alum of the 6-week program, has already won five bids to the TOC, tied for the second-most bids of any team nationwide. Fellow 6-week alums Dheven Unni and Timothy Wegener are fully qualified to the TOC with three bids each. Looking to secure their second qualifying bid are alums Daniel Ardity, Manav Daftari, Chris Rascoe, Robbie Levin, and Liam Lorenz, all of whom have received one.

The Northwestern Debate Society has carried its tradition of excellence into the new season. Seniors Chris Callahan and Pauline Esman have reached the quarterfinals or better at three of the four major tournaments this fall, including a run to the finals at the Kentucky Henry Clay Invitational. They’ve just received an invitation to the elite Dartmouth Round Robin, an honor bestowed on the top seven teams nationwide.

As we look ahead to NHSI’s 2018 debate institute, I’m excited to announce that both Callahan and Esman will be joining our faculty. We’ve also added Lincoln Garrett, the highly successful coach of Kentucky and Montgomery Bell. Returning core faculty from last summer include myself, Dave Weston, Kristen Lowe, Gabe Jankovsky, and Joe Weideman. The 2018 NHSI will continue to offer Northwestern’s unparalleled program for those looking to improve at debate and learn from the best instructors anywhere. I sincerely hope you’ll join us.



Jeff Buntin

NHSI Debate Division Director



Meet Our New Faculty –


Dr. Randall Bush

(Ph.D., Communication Studies, Northwestern, 2012) is Interim Director of the Northwestern Debate Society. A specialist in rhetoric and theories of argumentation, Randall has worked with some of the most successful college and high school debaters in the nation at Northwestern. He is particularly focused on helping students to delve into and articulate the critical, cultural, and democratic facets of political arguments.

The Northwestern Debate Society, the oldest and most historically successful collegiate debate program in the country, is continuing its tradition of competitive and academic excellence in 2017. Our teams are competing at the very highest levels of the activity, reaching deep into the elimination rounds of every major national tournament so far this season. Led by senior debaters and an unparalleled coaching staff, we are aiming at further success in the second half of the season leading up to the National Debate Tournament held in March 2018.

Our competitive successes only serve to underscore the critical educational purpose that debate uniquely provides to students. Debate Society students are leaders both in the classroom (with majors ranging from Communication Studies to Biology) and in their campus community.  As ever, the Northwestern Debate Society is dedicated to fostering not only the competitive but also the academic excellence of debate students–a dedication of which the students of the NHSI Summer Institute are a critical part. Thank you for being part of the tradition of Northwestern Debate.”


Lincoln Garrett

Lincoln is the head coach at the University of Kentucky and an assistant coach at the Montgomery Bell Academy. Lincoln’s high school teams have won Wake Forest, the Barkley Forum at Emory University, and the Glenbrooks. Montgomery Bell is the first high school in history to clear four teams at the Tournament of Champions. Kentucky has had three NDT first round bids, cleared five different partnerships to NDT elimination rounds, and have made deep runs at each major college national tournament in the four years since Lincoln has been a coach.


Pauline Esman

Pauline Esman is a senior at Northwestern University studying political science and psychology. She has done policy debate for eight years. She and her partner, Christopher Callahan, were first-round recipients to the National Debate Tournament during the 2016-2017 season. At the start of the 2017-2018 season, Pauline and Chris were semifinalists of the Georgia State Tournament and finalists at the Kentucky Tournament. Pauline previously worked at the Northwestern Debate Institute as a lab leader in 2014 and 2015. Outside of debate, Pauline does political science research and has spent the past year as Vice President of the Chi Omega Fraternity.


NDI Alumni – Where Are They Now?

We asked our 2015 and 2016 alumni what they are up to now. Our alumni are attending some of the top universities including:

Johns Hopkins University

University of Georgia

Northwestern University

University of Kentucky

University of California – Berkeley

University of Michigan

University of Chicago

University of Pennsylvania


I attended the 2016 NHSI for policy debate, and I am now a freshman at Kenyon College studying mathematics. My last experience with debate was in the policy division in the 2017 National Speech and Debate Tournament in Birmingham, Alabama.”

– Andrew Herbelin (2016, 6-week alumnus)



Have an update you would like shared in the next NHSI Newsletter? Please email us at with the subject line: Cherubs Newsletter