Student Life



Debate affords interested students an opportunity to learn the rudiments of persuasive speech while acquiring an in-depth knowledge of national affairs. ND debaters participate in tournaments on weekends, competing against schools from throughout the United States. Debaters combine after-school practices on speaking and argumentative strategy with individual research, all of which bolster a sense of personal achievement and team camaraderie.

Students can get involved in many different levels of debate. All students start as novices and move to varsity in their second year of debate. 

To start on the debate team, one should enroll in the Introduction to Debate course. This course teaches students the basics of policy and public debate. Students get hands-on opportunities to practice their public speaking and critical thinking skills. This practice is then put to the test at competitions. For more information, see the course catalog here.

For more information, read the FAQ on this page and/or email Mrs. Christina Tallungan Phillips, Head Debate Coach, at

ND Wins Western JV Championships!

After a long weekend of competition in March 2021, ND Debate won the Western JV Championships and earned top speaker! Rosalind Goldman and Molly Urfalian won last night. Goldman also won top speaker and Urfalian won 4th speaker overall. Both of them earned partial scholarships for summer debate camp and worked hard to represent ND. 
In the Western Novice Championships, ND finished with two teams in the top 16, Emma Grisham/Mishelle Kamyshnikov and Aaron Kinsley/Tiella Loeser. Brianna Baker and Ryan Manoukian finished in the Elite Eight this weekend.  Manoukian also won 8th speaker overall in the novice division. 
Along with Asst. Coach Josh Michael and alumni Mason Peeples and Malone Urfalian, several 3rd and 4th year debaters came to mentor the younger squad and support them as they prepped for their debates: Luka Anagnos, Sarah Davidson, Olivia Deantoni, Riley Kehoe, Django Sbarge, and Brian Snitman. 

2020-21 News


List of 2 items.

Latest Headlines

Current Team Officers

  • 2021-22 Senior Team Leaders - Olivia Deantoni, Brianna Lenett, Madeleine Pira, London Torrez
  • 2021-22 Assistants - Noah Barry, Molly Urfalian 
  • 2021-22 Team Historians - Emma Grisham, Robert Safar
  • 2021-22 Student Tournament Directors - Noah Barry, Nathan Wilson

Past Team Officers

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  • Team Captains/Senior Leaders

    • 2020-2021 - Sarah Davidson, Osose Egbase
    • 2019-2020 - Jack Daggenhurst, Nicholas DiFilippo
    • 2018-2019 - Evie Chokler, Patricia Suico
    • 2017-2018 - Lawrence Kim, Elliot McMillan, Mason Peeples
    • 2016-2017 - Jax Rounds, Mikaela Appleby, Greg Santos
    • 2015-2016 - Jack Carty, June Choe, Ella Fisher, Dorothy Kim, Ryan Powell, Jack Schooley, Simone Schwartz- Lombard
    • 2014-2015 - Harry Aaronson, Mikayla Rae Garvin, Rachel Kovinsky, Vivienne Pismarov
    • 2013-2014 - Aron Berger, Max Lubell, Connor Smith, Rory Smith
    • 2012-2013 - Monique Candiff, Ken DeJohn, Roman Kezios
    • 2011-2012 - Cristina Cambianica/Wes Shoup
    • 2010-2011 - Morgan Titcher
    • 2009-2010 - Morgan Titcher 
  • IPPF Team Captains

    • 2020-2021 - Osose Egbase
    • 2018-2019 - Jack Daggenhurst
    • 2017-2018 - Lawrence Kim
    • 2016-2017 - Greg Santos
    • 2015-2016 - Jack Schooley
    • 2014-2015 - Rachel Kovinsky
    • 2013-2014 - Rory Smith/Connor Smith
    • 2012-2013 - Monique Candiff
    • 2011-2012 - Cristina Cambianica
    • 2010-2011 - Cristina Cambianica/Brendan Leonard
    • 2009-2010 - Andrea Boutros 
  • Assistants

    • 2020-2021 - Hunter Rice, Maddie Pira
    • 2019-2020 -  Osose Egbase, Claire Park
    • 2018-2019 - Jack Daggenhurst, Ye Jun Kwon
    • 2017-2018 - Martina Povolo
    • 2016-2017Elliot McMillan
    • 2015-2016 - Mikaela Appleby 
    • 2014-2015 - Ella Fisher
    • 2013-2014 - Vivienne Pismarov
    • 2012-2013 - Aron Berger
    • 2011-2012 - Roman Kezios
    • 2010-2011 - Andrew McLoon
    • 2009-2010 - Andrew McLoon
  • Historians

    • 2020-2021 - Lillie Bush, Molly Urfalian
    • 2019-2020 - Alex Brotman, Olivia Deantoni
    • 2018-2019 - Nicholas DiFilippo, Nikhil Navare
    • 2017-2018 - Patricia Suico, Nick DiFillipo
    • 2016-2017 - Martina Povolo, Patricia Suico
    • 2015-2016 - Mason Peeples, Priya Joshi 
    • 2014-2015 - June Choe, Jax Rounds
    • 2013-2014 - June Choe, Ella Fisher
    • 2012-2013 - Mikayla Rae Garvin, Max Lubell
    • 2011-2012 - Monique Candiff
    • 2010-2011 - Cristina Cambianica
    • 2009-2010 - Chris Ceron
  • Student Tournament Directors

    • 2020-2021 - Ariana Fotovat, Nathan Wilson 
    • 2019-2020 - Simon Callaghan, Lila McNiff
    • 2018-2019 - Simon Callaghan, Michelle Mar
    • 2017-2018 - Mason Peeples
    • 2016-2017 - Mikaela Appleby
    • 2015-2016 - Nicolle Pismarov
    • 2014-2015 - Mikayla Rae Garvin
    • 2013-2014 - Mikayla Rae Garvin, Alexa Gris 
    • 2012-2013 - Maggie Barran, Daniella Mikhael-Fard
    • 2011-2012 - Richard Barran/Ryan Nelson
    • 2010-2011 - Cameron Rankin/Emily Fuller

Alumni Updates

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  • Class of 2020

    • Simon Callaghan - USC
    • Jack Daggenhurst - Boston University
    • Nicholas DiFilippo - NYU
    • YeJun Kwon - UC, Berkeley
  • Class of 2021

    • Lukas Anagnos - USC 
    • Sarah Davidson - Rice 
    • Osose Egbase - Princeton
    • Ariana Fotovat - UC, Berkeley
    • Alex Gerson - Loyola Marymount
    • Jay Gragnani - University of Kansas
    • Vahan Haytayan - Cal State University, Northridge
    • Riley Kehoe - Loyola New Orleans, LA 
    • Seamus Kim - UC, Los Angeles 
    • Nicholas Monsour - Loyola Marymount 
    • Nikhil Navare - NYU
    • Claire Park - Georgetown University 
    • Hunter Rice - Indiana University 
    • Natalia Rosenfeld - University of Miami 
    • Jayden Sengul - Chapman
    • Brian Snitman - USC 
    • Andrew Yepremian - Boston College
  • Class of 2019

    • Evie Chokler - Loyola Marymount University
    • Michelle Mar - UC Berkeley 
    • Anulika Nwude-Jacobs - UCLA 
    • Nathan Paguio - Santa Monica Community College 
    • Patricia Suico - CSU Long Beach 
  • Class of 2018

    • Morgan Bourke - Colorado State University
    • Chris Dickens - Working on U.S. Congressional campaign for Omar Qudrat
    • Noah Healy - University of Colorado, Boulder
    • Lawrence Kim - California Polytechnic State University, Pomona
    • Elliot McMillan - American University
    • Mason Peeples - American University
    • Malone Urfalian - Loyola University Chicago
  • Class of 2017

    • Mikaela Appleby - George Washington University 
    • Eric Kalajyan - Iowa State University
    • Jax Rounds - Western Washington University
    • Greg Santos - UC Merced 
  • Class of 2016

    • June Choe (Northwestern University, Evanston, IL)
    • John Dimitri (Indiana University, Bloomington, IN)
    • Ella Fisher (Reed College, Portland, OR)
    • Nicolle Pismarov (Sonoma, Sonoma, CA)
    • Ryan Powell (Cal Poly San Luis Obsipo, San Luis Obispo, CA)
    • Jack Schooley (University of Montana, Missoula, MT)
    • Simone Schwartz-Lombard (University of Washington, Seattle, WA)
  • Class of 2015

    • Harry Aaronson (Indiana University, Bloomington, IN)
    • Mikayla Rae Garvin (University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT)
    • Rachel Kovinsky (UC, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA)
    • Vivienne Pismarov (University of San Francisco, San Francisco, CA)
    • Nate Sarabia (Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, CA)
  • Class of 2014

    • Aron Berger (USC, Los Angeles, CA) 
    • Alexa Gris (University of Portland, Portland, OR)
    • Daniella Mikhael-Fard (UC, Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA)
    • Max Lubell (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI)
    • Noella Park (UC, Riverside, Riverside, CA)
    • Jaclyn Sandoval (UC, Merced, Merced, CA)
    • Connor Smith (UC, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA)
    • Rory Smith (UC, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA)
  • Class of 2013

    • Monique Candiff (Stanford Law School, Stanford, CA)
    • Ken DeJohn (Pace University, New York, NY)
    • Roman Kezios (Baylor University Graduate School, Waco, TX)
    • Sebastian Wells (Brandeis University, Waltham, MA)
  • Class of 2012

    • Cristina Cambianica (Reed College, Portland, OR)
    • Richard Cardenas (UC, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA)
    • Joseph Dalla Betta (Tufts University, Medford, MA)
    • Emma Muir (Wooster College, Wooster, OH)
    • Ryan Nelson (UC, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA)
    • Dara Parsi (Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN) 
    • Christopher Wes Shoup (UC, San Diego, San Diego, CA)
  • Class of 2011

    • Jacob DeFilippis (UC, Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA)
    • Marian Nathan Grau (Masters programs at Columbia University and the London School of Economics, Graduate Student at Harvard University)
    • Brendan Leonard (University of Chicago, Chicago, IL)
    • Andrew McLoon (UC, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA)
    • Jacob Nasser (Pepperdine University, Malibu, CA)
    • Tony Peterson (Santa Clara University, Santa Clara, CA)
    • Cameron Rankin (UC, Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA)
    • Summer Wall (Stanford Law School, Stanford, CA)
    • Russell Whitman (University of San Diego, San Diego, CA)
  • Class of 2010

    • Andrea Boutros (UC, Los Angeles, Westwood, CA)
    • Christopher Ceron (UC, Riverside, Riverside, CA)
    • Christopher Older (UC, Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA)
    • George Paguio (Pomona, Pomona, CA)
  • Class of 2008

    • Cecilia Bonaduce (UC, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA)
    • Dayne Crist (CSUN, Northridge, CA)
  • Class of 1995

    • Christina Tallungan (University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA/CSUN, Northridge, CA) 
  • Class of 1983

    • David P. Damus, Esq. (University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA/Vanderbilt, Nashville, TN)

Debate FAQs

List of 5 items.

  • Can I take Introduction to Debate and do a sport?

    Yes – there is often a misconception that as soon as you join the debate team you have to give up all other activities. It does require good time management skills, but there are several students that balance debate and 1 sport, sometimes 2. 
  • How much time a week will I have to devote to debate if I take the class?

    You are required to attend 2 tournaments a semester, which means approximately 2 weekends a semester. You are also required to help at any Notre Dame Debate Tournaments held at the Notre Dame campus. These dates change from year to year. 
  • Do I have to pay for the debate tournaments?

    The school does help fund travel and transportation for the team; however, there is usually a fee for tournaments that can range from $25-$500 depending on the travel required for the tournament. Additionally, students do have to cover their own food expenses at any debate tournament. There are some fundraising events throughout the year that can help you defray the costs of paying for the tournaments. 
  • Does debate interfere with rigorous academic schedules?

    Not necessarily - the answer to this question depends on the individual student. There are many students at Notre Dame that balance very rigorous academic schedules, including AP courses, with debate. It is easy to balance your schedule with the Introduction to Debate course, but it requires learning to balance and discipline yourself. 

    Additionally, ALL students who have been in debate even for one year have said the course greatly improved their confidence and skill level in public speaking, critical thinking, and research. They felt that after taking Introduction to Debate and going to a couple tournaments they were more prepared than many of their peers to complete research papers and make presentations in class. 
  • Will I get to travel as a novice?

    There are a couple travel opportunities during one’s novice year. It depends on your work efforts and skill level. Before each tournament, the Director of Debate makes these determinations.