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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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Adam Brown

Kenyon College'20

Adam debated for Episcopal High School in Houston, Texas. As a debater, Adam qualified to TFA State twice, NSDA Nationals, and the TOC. Adam is currently a first-year student and prospective English and Sociology double major at Kenyon College. He coaches students from Montgomery, Klein Oak, and Earl Warren High School who, collectively, have been in late elims at every national tournament attended. Within debate, Adam enjoys researching and discussing continental philosophy, the role of the ballot/judge, methodology K’s, and theory and topicality. Outside of debate, Adam plays Ultimate Frisbee is a huge music nerd. 

Cameron McConway

UT Austin'20

Cameron McConway debated for three years at Cy-Fair HS in Houston, TX, qualifying to the TOC, TFA State, and NSDA nationals. She was a semifinalist and a top speaker at TFA, and was in the top 15 at NSDA nationals as a senior after being in outrounds as a junior. She was invited to numerous round robins and appeared in outrounds of many bid tournaments, recieving bids at Isidore Newman and Harvard Westlake. She actively judges at tournaments and coaches for Access Debate. Cameron now attends the University of Texas at Austin where she studies international relations and lobbies at the Capitol with University Democrats. Cameron is an active member of the UT Equestrian Team and enjoys spending time with her horse and competition partner of four years, Sebastian.


Alex Yoakum

Emory University '19

Alex Yoakum graduated from Grapevine High School in 2015. In his senior year he qualified to the TOC, receiving his bids from Greenhill and Minneapple, as well as reaching several bid rounds throughout his debate career. He 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 his academics, he has presented papers on Queer Theory in undergraduate literature and philosophy conferences. This will be Alex's third year teaching at NSD, and he is looking forward to another great summer in Minneapolis and San Antonio. 

Debate interests: Critical Race Theory, Queer Theory, Moral philosophy, postmodernism

First Year Out Staff

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Richard Cook 

Richard debated for four years at Strake Jesuit, qualifying for both the TOC and TFA three times. During his senior year, he won St. Marks and UT. He won the top speaker award at both St. Marks and Grapevine, while also winning speaker awards at Greenhill, Glenbrooks, and Apple Valley. Throughout his debate career, he has earned bids at Apple Valley, St. Marks, Greenhill, Emory, Valley, UT, and Grapevine. Outside of debate, he enjoys playing tennis and chess. 

Debate Interests: Kant, Theory/Topicality, Agamben