Sanford I. Berman Debate Forum

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The Team

Students

Reece Likeke Aguilar

Reece Likeke Aguilar

Reece is a sophomore majoring in English and is currently enrolled in the Honors College at UNLV. He competed in policy debate and in individual events for four years at Loyola High School, in Los Angeles, CA. In high school policy debate, Aguilar qualified for the prestigious High School Tournament of Champions and The National Speech and Debate Association National Championship Tournament. His freshman highlights in college debate include reaching elimination rounds at UMKC and the Ceda Nationals. He hopes to achieve greater things in the years to come. He aspires to be either a lawyer or to teach English at his high school alma mater.


Jerrelle Berrios

Jerrell Berrios

Jerrell Berrios is a senior majoring in Philosophy: Law and Justice. He competed in Lincoln-Douglas debate for two years at Advanced Technologies Academy in Las Vegas, where he qualified for National Forensic League (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. Jerrell hopes to go to law school after graduating in the spring.


Kevin Carrera

Kevin Carrera

Kevin Carrera is a junior majoring in Philosophy. He debated at Green Valley High School in Henderson, NV for 2 years. Kevin is currently in his 5th year debating at UNLV.


Randy Dexter

Randy Dexter is a junior and a double major in Communication Studies and Spanish. He is a transfer student from the San Diego Community College District. He competed on the Speech and Debate Team at San Diego Mesa College, and he competed at the Phi Rho Pi National Forensics Tournament while on the team. He is a proud combat veteran having served 27 months in Iraq as a combat medic. He is joined on the UNLV Debate Team by his PTSD service dog, Captain, and together they are very excited to represent the Runnin’ Rebels at debate tournaments during the upcoming year.


Darrian Carroll

Darrian Carroll

Darrian Carroll joins the Communication studies department at UNLV as an M.A. candidate and Assistant coach. Darrian debated for the University of North Texas this past year. During his time at UNT Darrian qualified for the National Debate Tournament and participated in the elimination rounds of the Cross Examination Debate Tournament. Darrian has won the KCKCC Blue Devil debate tournament and also been the 7th speaker at the Cross Examination Debate Tournament. Darrian is excited to help guide the Rebels to success throughout the season.


Matthew Gomez

Matthew Gomez

Matthew Gomez is a sophomore majoring in political science. Matthew began debating in Utah at Bingham High School where he became the first team in school history to qualify to the Tournament of Champions and finish in the top 16 at the National Forensics League Tournament. Following high school, Matthew attended Weber State University for his freshman year. He won the Idaho State University Tournament, took top speaker awards at Arizona State University and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas’ Invitational, and won the Freshman of the Year award in CEDA's District II. He transferred to UNLV in fall 2014 and is looking forward to representing the Rebels at debate tournaments across the nation.


Jerrelle Berrios

Jeffrey Horn

Jeffrey Horn is a sophomore majoring in political science. He debated for Green Valley High School in Henderson, NV. Horn qualified to the National Speech and Debate Tournament his sophomore, junior, and senior years, debating in the elimination rounds each year and receiving top 10 speaker awards his junior and senior year. In his senior year, Horn appeared in late elimination rounds in numerous nationally competitive tournaments and qualified to the prestigious Tournament of Champions. In his freshmen season at UNLV, he advanced to the elimination rounds of several nationally competitive tournaments and represented the university at the National Debate Tournament.


Roman Kezios

Roman Kezios

Roman Kezios is a junior majoring in Political Science. He debated for four years at Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks, CA. 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. During the 2014-2015 competitive season, Roman advanced to the elimination rounds at multiple regular-season collegiate debate tournaments including UNLV and Weber State University.


Zane Miller

Zane Miller

Zane Miller is a freshman enrolled in UNLV’s Honors College majoring in Political Science. He is from Boise, Idaho, where he attended Centennial High School and debated for all four years he was there. He has won multiple speaker awards and in-state tournaments in Idaho. He qualified to National Speech and Debate Association National Championship Tournament three times and advanced to elimination rounds at over a dozen tournaments. He is happy to be a part of the UNLV Debate Team and is looking forward to a successful college debate career.


Christian Ogata

Christian Ogata

Christian Ogata is a senior majoring in Political Science. He debated for three years at Centennial High School in Boise, ID, where he advanced to the elimination rounds at multiple TOC bid tournaments and received speaker awards at national tournaments like The National Speech and Debate Association National Championship Tournament . During his time at UNLV, Christian has represented the university in multiple elimination rounds of several different tournaments including the CEDA National Tournament and the Cal National Tournament as the third team in UNLV history to do so. Christian has also received speaker awards at many tournaments including top speaker at Arizona State University, where he and his partner also took first place. Christian is currently the Chief Justice for the CSUN Student Government at the University and hopes to go to law school after he graduates in the Spring.


Sandra O’Reilly

Sandra O’Reilly

Sandra O’Reilly is a sophomore majoring in English. Sandra debated her sophomore and junior year at Las Vegas Academy, and her senior year at Arbor View in Las Vegas, Nevada. Sandra competed in Lincoln Douglas debate, qualifying to the NSDA National Tournament twice, and advancing to elimination rounds. In her first year on the UNLV debate team, Sandra and her partner placed 1st at the ASU tournament in JV, and won the Novice CEDA National Championship.


Ember Smith

Ember Smith

Ember Smith is a freshman enrolled in UNLV’s Honors College majoring in Political Science. She debated for four years at Green Valley High School and qualified for the National Speech and Debate Tournament her sophomore, junior, and senior year. In her junior year she won the Clark County tournament and in her senior year, Ember appeared in several elimination rounds of nationally competitive tournaments, including the round of sixteen at Golden Desert Tournament at UNLV and quarterfinals at the Southwest championship at Arizona State.


Jada Stinnett

Jada Stinnett

Jada Stinnett is a freshman majoring in Mechanical Engineering. She debated for four years at Palo Verde High School in Las Vegas, Nevada. Her junior year as the debate team's Vice President she placed 3rd in Policy Debate at the state tournament. Her senior year as the President of Palo Verde’s Debate team her and her partner won the Clark County District Tournament and became the first team from Palo Verde to qualify for the NSDA national tournament in policy debate. She is looking forward to an exciting year!


Rylee Taylor

Rylee Taylor

Rylee Taylor is a junior majoring in Psychology. Taylor debated for two years at West Career and Technical Academy in Las Vegas, Nevada. She was a participant in the UNLV Rebel Debate Institute the summer of 2013, and was a lab leader at the 2014, 2015, 2016 summer Rebel Debate Institutes. She is currently serving as a Senator for the College of Liberal Arts in UNLV’s CSUN Student Government. Taylor hopes to become further involved within the debate community and to continue to improve her debate skills. Her ultimate goal as a member of the UNLV Debate Team is to qualify for the elimination rounds of the National Debate Tournament.


Brian Warren

Brian Warren

Brian Warren is a freshman majoring in Criminal Justice. He debated for four years in Lincoln Douglas at Clark High School in Las Vegas, Nevada. In his first year at UNLV, Warren advanced to elimination rounds at multiple tournaments and placed 1st with his partner in the Novice Division at the 2016 Cross-Examination Debate Association. He hopes that continuing his debate career at UNLV will help him further hone his communication skills to assist him with his goal of becoming a lawyer.


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. Their 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.


Tom Gliniecki

Tom Gliniecki

Tom Gliniecki joins the team as the new Assistant Director in the 2016-2017 season. He received his undergraduate degree in International Relations while debating for Michigan State University, and went on to earn his Master’s in Communication Studies from UNLV. After gaining coaching experience working with the debate teams at Dartmouth College and the National Debate Tournament semifinalist team at Michigan State University, he is excited to return to UNLV and help the Rebels compete at the highest levels of the activity.


Matthew Jallits

Matthew Jallits

Matthew Jallits is an MA candidate in UNLV's Department of Communication Studies. He spent the past four years debating for UNLV, where he advanced to numerous elimination rounds of tournaments throughout his career, including Gonzaga University, Idaho State University, and the University of California, Berkeley. As a sophomore, Matthew qualified to the National Debate Tournament. Additionally, in 2015, Jallits and his partner won the Arizona State University Debate Tournament and were ranked as the tournament's top two speakers. Jallits looks forward to coaching the UNLV team this year.


Tyler Snelling

Tyler Snelling

Tyler Snelling joins the Communication Studies department at UNLV as a M.A. candidate and assistant coach. He debated for three years in Omaha, Nebraska at Millard South High School, where he won the Nebraska State championship and attended the Tournament of Champions & the National Forensic League Tournament. While completing his undergraduate degree at Concordia College - Moorhead, Tyler qualified to the National Debate Tournament twice, won the Emporia State Tournament and the D7 District Qualifying tournament. He is excited to continue his studies of political rhetoric and help guide the rebels to success throughout the season.


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