Dr. Ryan Galloway
Ryan Galloway is the Director of Debate at Samford University. One of the most well respected coaches and judges in the country, Galloway won the 2013 Ziegemueller coach of the year award at the National Debate Tournament. He has also judged the final round of the National Debate Tournament a record eight times and was named the third best judge of the 2000-2010 decade. He has coached several NDT qualifiers, and has coached teams to the deep elimination rounds of every major tournament in the country, including CEDA Nationals and the National Debate Tournament. As a debater, he received two first round bids to the NDT, and won numerous top speaker awards, including at the University of Kentucky and ADA Nationals. He is excited to be directing the institute and working with the policy lab.
Allison Harper is Assistant Director of Debate at Samford University and Assistant Coach at North Broward Preparatory School. She has over a decade of experience coaching at the high school and college levels. Her students have won several top speaker awards, including Greenhill, the Barkley Forum, and the Glenbrooks. They've also reached late elimination rounds at every national tournament they've attended, including winning the Wake Forest, Lexington, Ohio Valley, and Bronx Science tournaments. At the college level, she has coached a First-Round team, the Octafinalists of the National Debate tournament, winners of the Pittsburgh Round Robin, American Debate Association national champions, and multiple Junior Varsity and Novice National Champions. As a debater at George Mason University, Allison cleared at every major national tournament, including the NDT and CEDA Nationals. She would also be happy to tell you all sorts of things about her dissertation on mutual preference judging.
Policy Lab Leader
Aly Fiebrantz is the Director of Forensics and head policy coach at Cypress Bay high school. She has been involved in debate for more than half her life, with competitive and coaching successes in high school and college debate. At Cypress Bay, she has coached students to out-round success at tournaments including Berkeley, Glenbrooks and Wake. She coached the qualifies from a Florida public school in tournament history. She was also the coach of the 10th place policy team at NSDA Nationals in 2017. She has a master's degree in communication studies from Texas Tech University, and her thesis focuses on women’s identities in the collegiate debate community. She believes that debate is not just a fun and competitive activity, but a platform to learn research that directly impacts people.
Policy Lab Leader
Logan Gramzinksi is a Ph.D. candidate in rhetorical studies and a debate coach at the University of Georgia. He attended the Samford Debate Institute in high school, reached the octafinals of the National Debate Tournament as a Samford debater, and went on to coach multiple NDT first round at-large bid teams at Wake Forest University, where he earned a master's degree in communication. Logan specializes in developing the ethos of his students, helping them to attain consistently higher speaker points, win more speaker awards, and clear to the elimination rounds of more tournaments. His free time is currently occupied in its entirety by a new golden retriever puppy!
Policy Lab Leader
Nick Lepp has just finished his first year of graduate school at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where he coached the team of UNLV GH to receive a first round bid to the National Debate Tournament as the third ranked team in the country. During his five years at James Madison University, Nick was a four-time qualifier to the National Debate Tournament himself and an octofinalist at the Cross Examination Debate Association national debate tournament, as well as the winner of numerous regional tournaments. Nick is currently an assistant debate coach at Cypress Bay high school where he has coached them to qualify for the Tournament of Champions. He has also coached several previous schools to qualify to the Tournament of Champions.
Policy Lab Leader
Michelle Thomas began her debate career at George Mason University, where she saw success at both the regional and national levels over 5 years. She currently coaches at Binghamton University, which is ranked 5th in the nation in collegiate policy debate and has reached out rounds at national tournaments at the varsity level and has won multiple tournaments at the novice level. She has also worked at multiple summer camps, including the Georgetown Debate Seminar and the George Mason Debate Institute. She has also worked with public forum in both the middle school and high school levels, helping coach the 2016 NSDA middle school national champions.
Lincoln-Douglas Lab Leader
Jeff Roberts is returning to the Samford institute for his fifth year. He also has worked for several other summer institutes, including the Harvard Public Forum Institute in Boston, the Victory Briefs Institutes at Loyola Marymount and UCLA. He has judged the semi-final and/or final rounds of the NFL Championships in Public Forum, Policy Debate, and Lincoln-Douglas Debate events. His students have won tournaments at every national circuit, major and championship event, including wins at Emory, Glenbrooks, Big Bronx, Samford, Harvard, UC Berkley, and semi-finals or later appearances at TOC, NFL/NSDAs, and the Novice/JV National Championships. His teams won seven straight debate state championships.
Public Forum Lab Leader
Elizabeth (Liz) Wood-Weas coaches speech and debate at Mountain Brook High School and Mountain Brook Junior High School. She has had multiple students qualify to represent the state of Alabama in the National Speech and Debate tournament. Her middle school students won one of five coveted School of Excellence awards at the National Middle School Speech and Debate tournament when they advanced in all 3 debate events. She and her team travel extensively throughout the year to compete in the country’s top debate tournaments. She is a former policy debater herself, and she enjoys teaching and coaching policy, Lincoln-Douglas, and public forum events to students in grades 7-12. She serves as vice president of the Alabama Speech and Debate Association and as a member of the Deep South District committee.