PEOPLE

Meet our Debate Camp family of leaders, instructors, program developers and real support people!

Debate Camp brings together teams of accomplished debate educators, led by career teachers and school leaders.  We are a highly-experienced group who very much love what we do!  NOW in 2021, available for a direct-to you, 1:4 and 1:6 teaching ratio ONLINE program.  Meet the team:

DEBATE CAMP LEADERSHIP 

FOUNDING DIRECTOR - NICK SZYMANIS, Hon BA, B Ed, MA, OCT

Nick Szymanis is the founder and lead director of Debate Camp since 2002. He has been a career educator for 18 years, inclusive of academic leadership positions at Havergal College in Toronto (2005 - 2010), Crofton House School in Vancouver (2000 - 2005) and most recently as Director of Academics at the Sterling Hall School in Toronto (2010 - 2015). He has coached debating and hosted annual tournaments for the past 18 years and is the current Vice President of the International Independent Schools Public Speaking League. Nick has trained students towards worlds-level debate in 2003, 2004, 2007, 2011 and 2017 and nationals level consistently since 2015. Nick, his wife Oona, and 2 sons, Noah and Aaron, live in Halifax, Nova Scotia where he currently coaches debating at Armbrae Academy and King's Edgehill School.

 

 

 

CAMP DIRECTOR - OONA CRAIG, BA, MA, OCT

Oona Craig has been a career educator for over 15 years; inclusive of Latin teaching positions with Collingwood School in Vancouver and Branksome Hall School in Toronto. Oona holds an MA in Classics from Dalhousie University, BA from McGill and is an Ontario Certified Teacher, with her B Ed from The University of Toronto. Oona is highly experienced in camp life and has been in the company of Debate Camp since our founding in 2002.  Our son Noah has attended camp since 2012.  In 2019, Oona directed our King City and Nova Scotia Overnight Debate Camps. 

DEBATE CAMP PROGRAM DEVELOPMENT 

PROGRAM COORDINATOR - SARAH ZAITLIN

Sarah Zaitlin is in her second year at Carleton University in Ottawa, where she studies Criminology and Criminal Justice with a concentration in Law. Sarah is an avid member of her university debate club, serving this year as Vice-President Internal and a member of the Tournament Selection Committee. As a debater, Sarah is active in the university circuit, having broken to elimination rounds at several tournaments in both the novice and open categories. This is Sarah’s third year working with Debate Camp, having taught in four Western Canadian cities in 2019. She is excited to meet new campers and to see our debate program continue to develop in the new digital landscape.   In 2021, Sarah will coordinate our in-person program at our locations across the Northeastern United States.

PROGRAM COORDINATOR - JARREN FEFER

Jarren Fefer is in his third year at McGill University, where he majors in Psychology. A former Provincial Champion, Jarren has debated in competitions across the country and the world, and was ranked Top Speaker at the Heart of Europe Debate Championship. Jarren served as the Vice-President of his College’s debate club, before being invited to join the McGill Mock Trial team in University. For four years, he has consistently coached his high school debaters to Nationals. Jarren has worked at Debate Camp for three years, and is currently overseeing the launch of our new online program. He loves helping our more shy campers discover that they too can have strong voices. In 2021, Jarren will coordinate our in-person program at our locations across Eastern Canada.

 

ONLINE COORDINATOR - IRINA ZNAMIROWSKI

Irina Znamirowski is going into her second year at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts, where she studies English and Philosophy. Having competed in debate and public speaking for the past eight years, Irina is a former national champion in interpretive reading and a provincial champion in both persuasive speaking and debating. In addition, Irina has attended the International Independent Schools Public Speaking Competition numerous times and frequently judges at local junior tournaments. This is Irina’s third summer working with Debate Camp after spending many years as an eager camper. Irina is excited to translate the same engaging and thought-provoking environment that she loved as a camper to the online format. In 2021, Irina will coordinate our Online Debate, Speech, and Model United Nations Camps.

DEBATE CAMP TEACHER DEVELOPMENT 

PROGRAM DEVELOPER - KEVIN JAGER, BSc, B Ed

Kevin Jager has been an educator for over 15 years with teaching experience in Ontario, India and Nova Scotia. He is currently teaching at Armbrae Academy in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Kevin holds a Masters in Development Economics from Dalhousie University, a BSc in Mathematics from the University of Toronto, and is an Ontario Certified Teacher with his B Ed from the University of Toronto. In 2019 Kevin directed our Boston Debate Camps. In 2020 and 2021 Kevin leads us in the development of staff training modules for all online and in-person camps.

 

PROGRAM DEVELOPER - ALTHEA BENLOSS, BA, MA

Althea Benloss graduated from Teachers College, Columbia University in 2017, where she earned her Master’s Degree in Elementary Inclusive Education & Teaching Children with Disabilities. She is currently a 4th grade Teacher in New York City. Althea brought her debate skills, gained during High School and College, to her Elementary School where she was appointed the Debate Coach for the school’s first-ever Debate Team. She worked with Debate Camp as an online instructor in the Summer of 2020 and is now assisting with Teacher Development.

DEBATE CAMP INTERNATIONAL 

DIRECTOR UNITED STATES - KELSEY SCHOTT, BA

Kelsey Schott is a graduate student at Ball State University where she is completing her MA in Communication Studies. At BSU, Kelsey coaches parliamentary and NEDA debate and teaches public speaking. Prior to starting her master’s program, Kelsey was the Debate in Residence at Eastbourne College in the UK where she coached debate, taught public speaking, and ran the MUN program. Kelsey completed her undergraduate education at Simpson College with degrees in Political Science and Religious Studies. Simpson College was the 2016 and 2018 Pi Kappa Delta national champion debate team while Kelsey was a parliamentary debater. She is very excited for her first summer with Debate Camp! 

 

DIRECTOR UNITED KINGDOM - HEATHER ROBINSON, B Sc

Heather Robinson has completed her Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from King's College London, in England. Heather was previously a debate mentor with Debatemate for two years, where she taught debate skills in local areas which had high rates of child poverty. During this time, Heather developed and conducted workshops for groups of up to 25 children. Heather has been debating competitively for over seven years, and has reached over 10 different semi-finals or finals, including the final of the 2019 World Open Championships and the finals of the Oxford Women's Open in 2017 and 2018. 

 

 

DIRECTOR INTERNATIONAL - THOMAS TANG, MBA

Thomas Tang has been a youth leadership and resilience coach for over 15 years. He obtained his MBA from Ivey Business School (Western University) in London, Ontario. Thomas also studies, practices, and teaches the eastern philosophies of Tai Chi (he is a gold medalist from the Chin Woo Tournament, 2011) with its correlation to modern sports psychology, neuroscience, and with a high performance mindset. Thomas presents keynotes speeches and workshops in Asia and North America. He works with corporate executives, entrepreneurs, student leaders and sports coaches. Thomas joined Debate Camp in June 2020 as International Director.  He is currently living in Oakville with his wife and two sons who are passionately learning debating, figure skating and wrestling.

DEBATE CAMP CANADA 

SITE DIRECTOR - GRIFFEN DAOUST, BAH, MA, OCT

Griffen Daoust is an Ontario Certified Teacher who has been teaching in The York Junior School in Toronto, Ontario for the past 3 years. Prior to, he received his BAH in Sociology at Queen's University, then went onto receive his MA in Child Study and Education at The University of Toronto (OISE). Griffen has had 10+ years of camp experience in both overnight and day camp settings. He has directed Debate Camps in Toronto, Ottawa and Vancouver. In 2021, Griffen will again lead our teams in Montreal and Ottawa.

 

SITE DIRECTOR - PAIGE DAOUST, BA, MA, OCT

Paige Daoust is an Ontario Certified teacher, who holds a Master of Science in Education degree from Niagara University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology and Social Anthropology from Dalhousie University. For the past 6 years, she has been teaching Grades 5 and 6 at Rotherglen School, Pickering College, and abroad in London, England. Paige has had over 14 years of camp experience, with serval years in program coordinator and camp directing roles.  In 2018 and 2019 Paige directed camps throughout the Toronto region, and will once again lead our teams in Toronto for 2021. 

SITE DIRECTOR - NICK MORROW

Nick Morrow currently studies law at Queen's Faculty of Law with an interest in commercial litigation. Nick has taught at, and coordinated over 30 debate camps across North America, and has coached a school team to a Provincial championship and a National semi finals. He himself has competed at the World Championships, and has been in National final rounds several times. Nick will be the director at both our Vancouver and Victoria in person camps for summer 2021.

DEBATE CAMP COMPLIANCE 

COMPLIANCE OFFICER - CHRIS ABRAHAM, B Sc

Chris Abraham has nine years of experience debating, coaching debate and working for Debate Camp. He started debating in high school and was a competitive debater for six years. While attending Dalhousie University he won the 2018 Atlantic Canadian Debate Championships, where he was also the top speaker. He graduated from Dal in 2018, earning a BSc with majors in Chemistry and Philosophy. Chris has worked with Debate Camp since 2017. He has worked at camps as a Program Staff member and Intern Coordinator. Since 2018 he has worked at our office as a Compliance Officer, focusing most recently on meeting the accreditation requirements of the Canadian and American Camping Associations. 

DEBATE CAMP PROGRAM STAFF 2021 

OUR TEAM OF DEBATE CAMP INSTRUCTORS 

Ready to Inspire! These highly qualified young people, many of whom have worked with us in several summers and / or graduated from our programs in the not-so-distant past are now joining us online for 2021.  All have been privy to the development of some outstanding teaching resources and program tools and are trained and eager for work with you in our educational setting - direct to you!  For individual bios - scroll over each to learn more:

SAFE GUARDING:  All Debate Camp Staff are bound by and annually trained according to Debate Camp Best Practices for Work with Youth Guidelines (informed from American and Canadian Camping Association criterion for staff training and youth protection). 

CATHERINE WANG

Debate Camp - C_edited.jpg
  • Studies International Development at McGill University

  • 8 years of public speech & debate experience

  • Two-time Vancouver Debate Champion

  • current Program Instructor for our debut of speech.camp online programming

  • current Program Staff with our 2021 Online Debate Camps

KIRAN BASRA

  • Has debated for 7 years and coached for 4 years

  • Is pursuing a Joint Honours in Philosophy and Political Science at McGill University

  • Was the Top Novice Speaker at the North American Debate Championships

  • Will be representing McGill at the World Universities Debating Championship this summer

  • current Program Staff with our 2021 Online Debate Camps and Speech.Camp

ALLISON WANG

  • former Debate Camp camper and Intern Program graduate

  • Started out as a camper with Debate Camp for over 5 years and completed 2 years as an intern at Debate Camp

  • An incoming student at Western University, studying Health Science with an Advanced Entry Opportunity into the Ivey Business School

  • current Program Staff with our 2021 Online Debate Camps

JONATHAN MA

  • former Debate Camp camper and Intern Program graduate

  • Studying anatomy and cell biology and McGill University

  • Four years of competitive debate experience

  • Has been coaching local youth debate for three years

  • current Program Staff with our 2021 Online Debate Camps

SHANNON CHU

  • Currently studying for a JD at the Allard School of Law at University of British Columbia

  • 6+ years of debating experience (competing, adjudicating and coaching)

  • Grand Final Champion at the Hong Kong Secondary Schools Debating Competition

  • Have coached both public and private schools’ debate teams

  • current Program Staff at our Vancouver in-person Debate Camp

LACHLAN HOLBROOK

  • Has been doing debate for 4 years

  • Currently studying at UWC Pearson College

  • Attended C.S.D.F National Debating Seminar

  • Qualified for bilingual regional tournament

  • current Program Staff at our Vancouver in-person Debate Camp

ANWYN DIAKUW

unnamed (1).jpg
  • Member of Team Canada 2018, debated at Worlds in Croatia

  • Loves debating IR, Social Justice, and Media motions

  • 5th year coaching debate 

  • current Program Developer of our educational resources for online Debate Camps [instructional videos} and our teacher.camp staff training portal.

GRACE GALLANT

  • former Debate Camp camper and Intern Program graduate

  • Studying economics at University of Western Ontario

  • has competed in Debate and Public Speaking at provincial, national and international level competitions

  • lead mentor with the King's Edgehill School Debate Team

  • current Coordinator for our Online Intern Program

  • current Program Staff at our Halifax in-person Debate Camp

MAJA GRANDINETTI

Screen Shot 2021-02-25 at 7.54.27 AM.png
  • Second year student at University of British Columbia studying political science

  • 6 years of international debate experience 

  • Enjoys hearing kids stories and watching them make strides in public speaking 

  • current Program Coordinator for our Vancouver and Victoria in-person Debate Camps

PETER KOUZOVNIKOV

  • First year Economics student at Carleton University 

  • Experience competing in provincial, national, and international tournaments in CP, BP, and Worlds-style   

  • Former Captain of Halifax West High School's Debate Team

  • current Program Staff at our Halifax in-person Debate Camp

OLIVIA ANDERSON

  • attends McGill University in Montreal

  • Has debated on the university circuit this year with the same partner she went to her first high school tournament with

  • current Program Staff at our Montreal and Providence in-person Debate Camps

  • Program Developer for Debate Camp Francais program

KAITLIN MAY WONG

  • Debate Camp Intern Program graduate

  • Currently studying in a Double DEC (Science and Music) at Vanier College

  • Was Assistant Crisis Director for Vanier's 2021 Model UN conference

  • Former assistant coach for the Junior Debate club at West Island College

  • current Program Staff at our Montreal in-person Debate Camp

ESHAN CHEEMA

  • Has been coaching with debate camp both in person and online for the last 2 years

  • Currently studying Biochemistry and Philosophy at the University of British Columbia

  • Won the Lord Dorchester Cup in 2019

  • VP Finance for the UBC Debate Society

  • An avid barbecuer and loves reading in his spare time.

  • current Program Staff with our 2021 Online Debate Camps

OLIVA INTEGLIA

  • studying Political Science with a major in Journalism at Concordia University

  • Top 3 at the Championnat National de Débat Français in 2019 and broke to finals at Quebec Round Robin (university circuit)

  • Debate coach for the English Montreal School Board

  • Program Developer for Debate Camp Francais program

  • current Program Staff at our Montreal in-person Debate Camp

CATHERINE MA

  • former Debate Camp camper and Intern Program graduate

  • Currently planning to study psychology at the University of Toronto

  • Finalist at French Nationals

  • Coaches middle schoolers as part of the Kanata Youth Debate Club

  • current Program Staff with our 2021 Online Debate Camps

MIHAI COVASER

  • former Debate Camp camper

  • attends UBC Okanagan for Philosophy, Politics and Economics 

  • Winner of the inaugural Worlds Schools Online Debate Championships with Kelowna Senior Secondary team, 2020

  • Representative for the Southern Interior at the Law Foundation Cup, 2021

  • current Program Staff at our Vancouver in-person Debate Camps

ALEX MINTZ

  • former Debate Camp camper and Intern Program graduate

  • Studying Commerce at the University of British Columbia

  • Was junior finalist at UOttawa and Carleton

  • Was co-president of the Colonel By Debate Club

  • current Program Staff with our 2021 Online Debate Camps

KYLE CHEN

  • former Debate Camp camper and Intern Program graduate

  • Has been interning at debate camp for 2 years, counselor for 1 year

  • Studying economics at University of Western Ontario

  • Was the president of school club (Bayview Debate)

  • current Program Staff at our Toronto North and Toronto South in-person Debate Camps

CAROL GUO

IMG_5136.jpg
  • Studying International Economics at Western University

  • 4 years of competitive debate experience

  • Placed in the Top 10 speakers at Nationals this year

  • current Program Instructor for our debut of speech.camp online programming

LAUREN KIM

  • Studying Architecture at McGill University

  • Former Vice President of Finance of the Marianopolis Debate Society 

  • 7 years competitive debate experience 

  • Novice Champion at the 2019 British Parliamentary Championships

  • current Program Staff at our Montreal and Providence in-person Debate Camps

PATRICK COWLEY

  • Fourth year with Debate Camp

  • Served as the 176th President of the Queen's Debating Union, the oldest debate society in Canada

  • Has attended the World Universities Debating Championship twice, once in South Africa and again in Thailand

  • Is currently completing a Masters of Arts at Queen's University

  • current Program Developer for Philosophy.Camp and Politics.Camp

  • current Logistics Field Manager for Canadian in-person Debate Camps

CHANTAL ELIAS

  • Second year student at Dartmouth College studying International relations, Climate Science

  • Leads the Dartmouth Model UN team 

  • Third year working at Debate Camp Canada

  • current Program Staff with our 2021 Online Debate Camps

  • current Program Staff Interview Lead for US staff and intern candidates

EAMON ROACH

  • Started debating at 12 years old

  • attends The University of Toronto

  • Has been a finalist at provincial, national and international level debate tournaments, including CSDF Nationals and Oxford Cup

  • current Program Staff at our Halifax in-person Debate Camp

NATHAN FELTMATE

  • former Debate Camp camper and Intern Program graduate

  • Student at University of Toronto studying International Relations and Classical Civilizations

  • Has competed in Provincial and International competitions across North America for both Debate and Model United Nations

  • current Program Staff at our Toronto North and Toronto South in-person Debate Camps

DEBATE CAMP OFFICE TEAM 2021 

A REAL OFFICE - WITH REAL PEOPLE TO ANSWER YOUR QUESTIONS 

For any of your technical support questions or for more information about any of our programs - meet the team at the other end of our many emails and real phones.

OFFICE MANAGER - JAMIE SWINIMER, BSc. Kine, MSc 

Jamie Swinimer has completed his Master's in Science from Dalhousie university, with a research focus in sport psychology and team dynamics. After spending some time as a research assistant in Dalhousie's performance psychology lab, he will be starting a law degree this fall at the Schulich School of Law. Jamie is responsible for customer service, parent to camp communications, and administrative work within the head office. 

LOGISTICS MANAGER - CLAIRE MERCER

Claire Mercer has completed her third year at Dalhousie University, where she studies Political Science and History. She is currently the President of the Dalhousie Undergraduate Political Science Society. Claire supports Debate Camp through providing additional tech support and coordinates much of the logistics for the camp, including camp groups, certificates, and payroll!

OUR PEOPLE

PROGRAM STAFF, PROGRAM LEADERS AND INTERNS

DEBATE CAMP STAFF 55
DEBATE CAMP INTERNS 33
DEBATE CAMP STAFF 51
DEBATE CAMP STAFF 17
DEBATE CAMP STAFF 49
DEBATE CAMP STAFF 45
DEBATE CAMP STAFF 3
DEBATE CAMP STAFF 41
DEBATE CAMP STAFF 31
DEBATE CAMP STAFF 30
DEBATE CAMP STAFF 1
DEBATE CAMP STAFF 19
DEBATE CAMP STAFF 18
TOR-WEB-STAFF-4
DEBATE CAMP STAFF 16
DEBATE CAMP STAFF 12
DEBATE CAMP STAFF 9
DEBATE CAMP STAFF 5
DEBATE CAMP STAFF 6
DEBATE CAMP STAFF 2
DEBATE CAMP STAFF 4
Debate Camp IV - WEB
STAFF-WEB-13
IMG_0392
IMG_0377
DEBATE CAMP INTERNS 1