W.IN Debate

Our Mission

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!

Testimonials

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I am forever grateful for my time as a mentee with W.in. Not only did I feel a strong sense of community and comfort in the male dominated debate space, but I was also able to learn so much from my mentor. The people in this program really foster encouragement, support, and kindness. 

-Olivia Liu, 10

W.IN debate has been a huge part of my debate experience. My former school didn’t have any supplies or coaching for the team and I was pretty much alone when going through circuit debates online during my first year. But my mentor helped me pull through, and her help and dedication really drove me to debate more and more. I moved schools during sophomore year and while I wanted to continue to debate, tryouts were already finished. Even when I struggled, my (now two) mentors helped me find other ways. They’re one of my biggest reasons I continue to debate and be able to continue to do what I love. 

-Bobin Park, 10

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

Student Leaders

Leah Yeshitila, President
Alyssa Sawyer, President

Leah has debated for Garland High School for 4 years, and is excited for her senior year! Her favorite arguments are K (afropessimism/futurism/black feminism), t/theory, and policy. Leah semifinaled the 2021 TOC, and routinely advanced to late elims at national tournaments. She loves baking, playing the piano, and weight lifting in my free time. Her favorite colors are green, beige, and brown! Leah can’t wait to support gender minorities this year!

Alyssa is a senior at Sequoia High School and the president of her high school team. Additionally, she a co-president for Peptalk. Alyssa qualified to the TOC in her junior year, primarily reading policy, critical and theory arguments. After being a mentor this past year, Alyssa is excited to continue to grow W.in!

Mayah Singh, Southern Regional Coordinator
Alyssa Makena,
Midwest Coordinator

 Mayah is a senior at Lake Highland Prep, and co-captain of the LD debate team. Mayah has been competing for 5 years, primarily reading critical, policy, and t/theory arguments. In her free time she enjoys writing about Indo-Guyanese American identity, getting boba with friends, and painting. Her favorite colors are pastels, primarily pink and blue.

 Alyssa is a senior at Valley High School in West Des Moines, Iowa. Her favorite arguments are those centered around anti-blackness literature, with a focus on afro-futurism and black fem. She was the youngest Iowa Forensic League State LD Champion her freshman year and reached four bid rounds her Junior year. Alyssa enjoys playing sports and spending time with friends. She is looking forward to working with W.in debate this 2021-2022 season!

Robin Pan, Northeast Regional Coordinator
Sarah Gelfer, Texas Coordinator

Robin is a senior at Lexington High School and a debate TA for the novices on her team. She mostly reads critical and fem arguments and has qualified to NDCAs twice and bid last year. She loves birds, cats and waffles and enjoys drawing in her free time and she's excited to help make debate a safer space with w.in debate!

Sarah is a senior at Clements High School in Houston, Texas. She enjoys reading LARP positions t/theory args. She loves bugging people to go to coffee shops, reading, and drawing! She is looking forward to growing W.IN and can’t wait to meet everyone!!

Adult Supervisors

Robin Pan, Northeast Regional Coordinator
Mackenzie Davis, Western Regional Coordinator

My name is Mackenzie Davis (she/her), and having been a part of W.in Debate since my freshman year, I’m really excited to be the West Coast Regional Coordinator next year. I’ve made it to out rounds at multiple national debate tournaments, like Harvard-Westlake, Alta, and Longhorn. My favorite hobbies are reading and baking, and my favorite color is periwinkle.

Reethi is a senior at Hebron High School and team president. As a policy debater, she mostly reads kritiks such as fem and queer theory. Reethi has qualified to TFA state twice, two bid rounds, and NSDA Nationals. She enjoys getting boba, late night drives, and shopping, and she is excited to help make debate a more accessible space!

Megan Wu

Megan debated for Interlake for four years and served as team President her senior year. In her senior year, she was invited to multiple round robins and qualified to the TOC. As a first year out, she coached Hunter College High School’s debate team to 6 bids and 2 TOC qualifications, and she has staffed at five camps over her two summers since graduating. She now attends Swarthmore College, where she studies philosophy and mathematics. Megan’s debate interests include philosophy of all kinds, theory, topicality, and increasing access to debate for small-school debaters. She is excited to serve as an adult contact for W.IN, and deeply admires the work done by students in debate to uplift one another!

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