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Jenn Melin, Director of NSD Texas

University of North Texas, BA

Jenn Melin has been active in the national and Texas debate communities for fifteen years.  As a coach her students have been in out rounds of virtually every major national tournament. She has coached champions of the Grapevine and University of Texas TOC Bid Tournaments. Jenn has qualified thirteen different students to the TOC, with a significant number of those qualifications coming from small Texas programs with travel restrictions. She has qualified almost every student she’s ever coached to TFA State; culminating in a record setting fourteen LD qualifications in a single year. She coached the 2016 Grapevine runner-up.  Her students have participated in out rounds of both TOC and TFA. Jenn has also coached a UIL 5A State Champion.This will be her second year directing NSD Texas. 

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Chris Castillo, Director of NSD Texas

University of Houston, BA

Chris has been the Head LD Coach at Strake Jesuit in Houston, TX for 9 years. He has coached champions at Grapevine, UT Austin, Greenhill, Victory Briefs (now Harvard-Westlake), Bronx Science, and Berkeley. He has coached students to finals at every TOC bid tournament in Texas along with at least semifinalists at 8 different TOC Octafinal bids. Chris has worked for 16 years as a coach, judge, tournament director, and institute director. A staple of the community and a common sight at nearly every one of the major tournaments, Chris was awarded the Bronx Achievement Award for his contributions to the debate community, and this year alone has coached the champions of St. Mark's in Dallas, TX, and the UT Austin Tournament. 


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John Sims

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Alex Yoakum

Grapevine High School, TX, '15

Emory University, GA, '19

Alex Yoakum graduated from Grapevine High School in 2015. They qualified to the TOC their senior year, receiving their bids from Greenhill and Minneapple, as well as reaching several bid rounds throughout their debate career. They also participated in the Greenhill and Bronx Round Robins. Currently, Alex is a philosophy and comparative literature double major at Emory University. In addition to their academics, they have presented papers on Queer Theory in undergraduate literature and philosophy conferences. They also are now the Editor-in-Chief of a new journal on literary criticism and philosophy at Emory. Their main debate interests include postmodernism, traditional ethical philosophy, Queer theory and Critical Race Theory.

Chakra Jonnalagadda

Cypress Woods High School, TX, '18

Chakra debated for Cypress Woods HS for 4 years on the local and national circuit. He qualified to the Tournament of Champions senior year, attaining a total of 9 career bids. Some notable achievements of his include championing the UT and UH tournaments, finals at the TFA State Championship and the strake jesuit invitational. Areas of Expertise: Philosophy, T/Theory, and Kritiks.



Michael Kurian

Dulles High School, TX, '18

University of Texas San Antonio, TX, '22

Michael Kurian did Lincoln-Douglas debate at Dulles High School in Houston, TX for two years. So far in his senior year he has earned five career bids, reaching elimination rounds at Harvard, St. Marks and Winston Churchill and getting to late outrounds at Holy Cross, Strake Jesuit, Colleyville, the University of Houston, the University of Texas, and Valley. He qualified to the TOC twice, getting to the bubble round as a junior. His debate interests are framework and critical theory with a focus on Nietzsche, Psychoanalysis, and Orthodox Marxism. He looks forward to teaching at NSD and sees debate as an educational platform for activism and political praxis. Next semester he will be studying Philosophy, Literature, and Anthropology under the UT Capstone Program for Liberal Arts at the University of Texas, San Antonio.