W.in Debate is a free mentoring service that provides women and gender minorities in debate with the opportunity to refine their debating skills in a space where they feel both comfortable and safe, while building long-lasting relationships with positive role models. Founded on the principle of womxn supporting womxn, our program seeks to create a support system for younger womxn involved in Lincoln-Douglas Debate, a male-dominated activity. The program was founded 3 years ago as a strictly LD program, and is now branching out to include mentoring for Policy and Public Forum. We believe that competitive success shouldn’t come at the expense of a womxn’s safety and wellbeing, and we hope to foster an environment where both are possible. Besides providing a mentor/mentee relationship, W.in Debate also hosts lectures that are recorded and posted on this website, initiates practice rounds and group drill sessions for mentees, posts resources like card files and documents, and even publishes essays commenting on gender inequality in debate!
At my first W.IN meeting, we were asked to share our womxn role model in debate and I was amazed at myself and other new debaters who had very few if any womxn guiding them. Being in a male dominated team for over a year, I never realized there were opportunities to connect with other womxn and share experiences. For example, at one of my first tournaments, I had a womxn judge tell my opponent to calm down, stop accusing, and yelling in the 2NR. At other times, feeling uncomfortable around certain men. I just internalized such experiences but W.IN gave me an amazing friend who I could bond with and a mentor to learn from. I hope to be an amazing mentor for another womxn or gender minority just like Sam was to me and recommend anyone interested in joining! Its a great way to get involved in our community and chance to thrive : )
-Emilin Mathew, 11
Being a mentee was one of the main reasons I was still motivated to stay in debate since my mentor was always able to comfort me when I experienced toxicity in the event. W.IN was a great experience since I was able to drill and learn about new positions with someone that I felt comfortable with, while also forming a close friend that I could spend time with at tournaments to escape my team when things were rough. I would recommend W.IN to any womxn or gender minority that wants to thrive in the event both substantively and socially.
-Mayah Singh, 11
Being a part of W.IN has helped me connect with other gender minorities in debate and find a kind and passionate community. At my school, I had relatively few womxn role models to look up to, so being able to be a part of an organization that has a bunch of successful and amazing gender minorities was a breath of fresh air for me. Before, I never really felt as if I had someone who I could talk to about the struggles I faced in debate as a trans person, but W.IN has given me amazing friends and mentors who also understand my experiences. I hope to be able to teach and uplift other gender minorities in debate in the same way that people like my mentor Zac had.
-Sarah Zheng, 12
Abby Morris, President
Abby is a senior from Lake Highland in Florida. She has been a mentor for W.in Debate since she was a sophomore, and was co-president of the program her junior year. Abby is very passionate about W.in Debate and has made it her goal to help support and give resources to fellow womxn in the debate community. Abby has been debating for 6 years and has been her team captain since her junior year. In terms of competitive success, Abby has 2 career bids and has had 10+ bid rounds. She won the 2020 NSDA Season Opener and was top speaker at the Florida State Tournament in 2019. She also qualified to nationals her junior year. She enjoys reading a variety of debate arguments, but specifically loves critical theory arguments and philosophical arguments from authors like Hegel.
Samantha McLoughlin, Vice President
Samantha is a senior from Harvard Westlake. This is her 5th year debating and second year with W.IN Debate. She has thus far received 11 career bids to the TOC, qualifying three times and reaching octafinals her sophomore year. Her junior year, she championed Voices, Meadows, and the Cal RR. Samantha primarily reads policy arguments, but also enjoys basic T/theory debate as well as some critical literature. She believes in the power of inclusive support networks to improve the debate community, and loves W.In Debate for its ability to foster these connections. She hopes to help provide these support systems to gender minorites in debate, and is excited to continue working with W.In Debate this year!
Breigh is a senior at Legacy Christian Academy. She is entering her fourth year in debate and her second year with W.IN. Breigh qualified to the TOC as a junior and she is most interested in post-modern critical literature and topicality. Throughout her time in debate, she has experienced firsthand how difficult it can be to navigate the space as a WOC. She is super thankful to W.IN for fostering incredible relationships and developing support systems across the country, as well as helping her meet her great mentees and other mentors. Working with W.IN has been the highlight of her season and she can’t wait to help gender minorities improve their skills and make new friends!
Zoë debated for Scarsdale High School and is now a senior at Columbia University studying philosophy. She has taught at National Symposium for Debate for four summers, most recently serving as co-director of NSD’s Philadelphia session. She also coached the LD team at Byram Hills High School for two years and now coaches privately. Debate is incredibly important to her; it’s where she discovered her interest in philosophy and met many of her best friends. She strongly believes that debate is best when it’s able to include a wide range of perspectives and is really excited to see W.in Debate continue its mission of making debate more accessible.
Jayanne debated for Fort Lauderdale high school in Lincoln-Douglas and Policy debate during her 4-year career. She has worked at NSD, NSD Philadelphia, and Texas Debate Collective since 2018. She currently coaches LD for Stuyvesant high school, works for the Early Scholars debate program in Queens, NY, and coaches students privately. Jayanne loves intersectional feminism, good Topicality debates, and performance in debate. She currently attends Columbia as a pre-medical student majoring in African American and African Diaspora studies and minoring in Biology. Her outside interests include: food, the color yellow, great music, singing and dancing.