Sanford I. Berman Debate Forum

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The Team

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Students

Jerrell Berrios

Jerrell Berrios is a freshman majoring in philosophy: law and justice. He debated for two years in Lincoln-Douglas at Advanced Technologies Academy in Las Vegas, Nev., where he qualified for NFL nationals in 2011 and 2012. Berrios' ultimate goal as a member of the UNLV Debate Team is to qualify for the elimination rounds of the National Debate Tournament.

Daniel Coté

Daniel Coté is junior majoring in English: creative writing. Coté debated for Silverado High School. There he won first place at the 2004 Clark County Debate Tournament in the policy division. Nearly 10 years later, he rejoined the world of debate by becoming a member of the UNLV Debate Team. At his first tournament in nearly a decade, he and his partner won the novice breakout at the 2013 Las Vegas Classic at UNLV, and he was the second-place individual speaker in the novice division. Coté hopes to meet and befriend new and interesting people in the debate community and to become more politically aware and engaged. He has a love of reading, writing, discourse, and debate, and he hopes to one day travel the world teaching English as a second language to students all across the globe.

Christian Eng-Parmelee

Christian Eng-Parmelee is from La Canada Flintridge, Calif., and is currently a senior majoring in political science. Eng-Parmelee is a novice debater who joined UNLV Debate to expand his learning and prepare himself for postgraduate education. He hopes to practice law in the state of Nevada.


Matthew Jallits

Matthew Jallits

Matthew Jallits is a junior majoring in political science. He debated for Puyallup High School in Washington for three years before coming to UNLV. Jallits qualified for the 2012-13 National Debate Tournament as a sophomore, and he has been in elimination rounds of many tournaments, including Idaho State University, UNLV, University of California, Berkeley, and Gonzaga University.


Roman Kezios

Roman Kezios

Roman Kezios is a freshman majoring in political science. He debated for four years at Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks, Calif. He advanced to the elimination of multiple tournaments, including quarterfinals of the Golden Desert Tournament at UNLV, and he was first speaker at the Victory Briefs Tournament. At his second tournament of the 2013 competitive season (Cal State University, Northridge), Roman won the 5th Speaker award, and he and his partner advanced to the tournament’s final round.


Liam King

Liam King

Liam King will be a freshman majoring in political science. He debated for four years at C.K. McClatchy High School, where he qualified for the Tournament of Champions his junior year. Over the course of his high school career, he advanced to the elimination rounds at the University of Pacific Tournament, the Santa Clara Tournament, the Golden Desert Tournament at UNLV, the Stanford Tournament, and the University of California, Berkeley Tournament. King also took first place at the District Qualifying Tournament for the California State Championship and advanced to the octafinals at the National Debate Coach Association’s National Championship Tournament. He also has volunteered his time coaching a Sacramento middle school debate program, where he helped send two teams to the national middle school championship tournament. His teams were ranked eighth in the nation in middle school debate.


Trimaan Malik

Trimaan Malik is a freshman majoring in physics. Throughout his four years in forensics at Advanced Technologies Academy in Las Vegas, he qualified for the NFL National Tournament in Congress Debate 2012 and 2013. Malik hopes his participation in college debate will polish his persuasive and argumentative skills for a career in the space industry.


Christian Ogata

Christian Ogata

Christian Ogata is a freshman majoring in political science. He debated for three years at Centennial High School in Boise, Idaho, and won numerous awards during his career there. Ogata advanced to the elimination rounds at multiple TOC bid tournaments and received speaker awards at national tournaments like Gonzaga University and the NFL Nationals Tournament (12th speaker). He and partner were also the first seed at the Idaho State Championship Tournament his senior year. At his first tournament of the 2013 competitive season (Cal State University, Northridge), he won the 3rd Speaker award, and he and his partner advanced to the tournament’s final round.


Christian Rodriguez

Christian Rodriguez

Christian Rodriguez is a freshman majoring in political science. He debated for four years at Damien High School in La Verne, Calif. In his senior year, he qualified to the Tournament of Champions and reached quarterfinals of the Lexington High School Tournament and Golden Desert Tournament at UNLV. In the 2013 competitive season, Rodriquez and his partner have won multiple speaker awards and have advanced to the final round of the Gonzaga University Debate Tournament, the quarterfinals of the UMKC Debate Tournament, and the octafinals of the UNLV Las Vegas Classic Debate Tournament.


Nathaniel Saxe

Nathaniel Saxe

Nathaniel Saxe is a sophomore at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas studying political science. He was nationally competitive in high school and qualified for the Tournament of Champions in his senior year. He also advanced to the elimination rounds at the National Forensics League tournament that year. In his freshman year at UNLV, he advanced to the elimination rounds of the Gonzaga University tournament, the Idaho State University tournament, and the Arizona State University Sun Devil Invitational.


Nathaniel Saxe

Alex Velto

Alex Velto is a senior majoring in political science and minoring in Brookings Institution Public Policy Studies. Velto debated at Damien High School in La Verne, Calif., where he qualified to the Tournament of Champions and advanced to the elimination rounds of the National Forensics League Tournament. In the 2012-2013 season, Velto was named to the CEDA All-American Debate Team, and his partner, Christian Bato, won the Gonzaga University and the Idaho State University Tournament, compiling a 19-0 record over the first two tournaments of the year. Bato and Velto also advanced to the elimination rounds of several other tournaments. They also won the District 1 qualifying tournament (with an undefeated record) en route to qualifying for the second National Debate Tournament for the second time in Velto's debate career. In the 2013 competitive season, Velto and his partner won multiple speaker awards and advanced to the final round of the Gonzaga University Debate Tournament, the quarterfinals of the UMKC Debate Tournament, and the octafinals of the UNLV Las Vegas Classic Debate Tournament. He is involved in student government and is a panelist on the UNLV TV show The Scramble. Velto hopes to attend law school and likes all sorts of activities.


Coaching Staff

Jake Thompson

Jacob "Jake" Thompson

Jacob Thompson debated at Wayne State University (B.A., 1999), where he learned the value of a great coaching staff, a personal dedication to hard work, and the transformative power of practice. While debating for Wayne State, Thompson competed in the elimination rounds of the NDT and several major national tournaments. After debating at Wayne State, he worked for five years as an assistant debate coach at the University of Kansas, where he also completed his M.A. and Ph.D. (2006). Working at Kansas reinforced his lessons from Wayne State but also gave him unique insight into argument and coaching strategy. Thompson then worked for three years as the director of forensics at the University of Northern Iowa (UNI). In 2005, he coached the UNI debate team to be ranked as the "Most Improved University Debate Team in America."

Thompson took the position as the director of debate at UNLV in 2007, and thanks to the generous support of Dr. and Mrs. Berman, he was essentially able to create the Sanford I. Berman Debate Forum from the ground up. In his short time at UNLV, the team has had amazing successes. Thompson predicts even greater success for our program in the future and has been focusing on fundraising and recruiting, which will allow the team to bring some of the best and brightest debaters to compete for UNLV's program. The UNLV Debate Program is quickly becoming one of the best in the nation. Our ultimate goal is to be consistently ranked as one of the top-10 debate programs in America and to win a national championship (or several of them).

In addition, Thompson is committed to expanding access to policy debate for students throughout the Clark County School District. In 2011, he created the Las Vegas Debate League (LVDL) and LVDL Advisory Board. In its short existence, the LVDL has successfully attracted thousands of dollars in external support, has resuscitated policy debate in the CCSD, and continues to add CCSD middle and high schools to the ranks of those that field policy debate teams. Generally speaking, his scholarly interests lie in the areas of argumentation, political communication, and U.S. foreign policy rhetoric. Overall, with the help of the rest of our amazing coaching staff, Thompson hopes to make UNLV one of the most competitive debate programs in the nation.


Alyssa Lucas-Bolin

Alyssa Lucas-Bolin

Alyssa Lucas-Bolin debated at UNLV (B.A., Multidisciplinary Studies, Magna Cum Laude, 2011) and qualified for the National Debate Tournament three times during her college career after a state-champion-winning high school career in Illinois. After becoming the first graduate of the Sanford I Berman Debate Forum, she went on to coach and teach at the University of North Texas (M.S., Communication Studies, 2013) and to coach at Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks, Calif. She loves Rebel debate so much that she returned as the assistant director of debate at UNLV for the 2013-2014 season. In addition, Lucas-Bolin is the league director for the Las Vegas Debate League and is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the LVDL, from arranging league meets to coaching student training sessions. She is very excited to be able to work with her alma mater’s team and is optimistic about the chances for the teams to reach the highest levels of national competitive success.


Christian Bato

Christian Bato

Christian Bato hails from Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., and debated for UNLV from 2009 to 2012, when he graduated with a B.A. in political science. Bato was a four-time qualifier to the National Debate Tournament as a Rebel debater. In his senior season, he and his partner, Alex Velto, won the Gonzaga University Tournament, the Idaho State University Tournament, and the District One Championship Tournament. They also reached the elimination rounds of The CEDA National Championship Tournament and various other tournaments. He is now in his first year as an assistant coach and M.A. candidate in communication studies. He is really looking forward to helping the Rebels achieve more competitive success as a coach this season.


Michael Eisenstadt

Michael Eisenstadt

Michael Eisenstadt is a graduate assistant coach and an M.A. candidate in the Department of Communication Studies. He graduated with a BA in communication studies from UNLV. As a high school debater in Las Vegas, Eisenstadt became the first member of the Sanford I. Berman Debate Forum after winning the Nevada state championship for Green Valley High School (Henderson, Nev.) in 2007. He was a four-time qualifier to the National Debate Tournament, and he had success on the national circuit, clearing at tournaments including Gonzaga University, the CEDA National Championship, and Wake Forest University, and earning the honors of top speaker and the first-ranked team at the 2011-12 District 1 Qualifying Tournament to the National Debate Tournament. Eisenstadt is among the Sanford I. Berman Debate Forum’s first graduates and makes an incredible addition to the coaching staff.


Tom Gliniecki

Tom Gliniecki

Tom Gliniecki is in his final year as a graduate assistant and an M.A. candidate in the Department of Communications Studies. He received his undergraduate degree in international relations from Michigan State University (winner of three of the last ten National Debate Tournaments), where he debated for four years. At MSU, Gliniecki competed at the National Debate Tournament or advanced to the elimination rounds of CEDA in each year since his sophomore year. In high school, he secured the only bid to the Tournament of Champions that his school had ever received, and competed in the final round of the Michigan state tournament.