Coaches

Roxy Janke

Roxy Janke

Roxy Janke has been a speech coach for 28 years. She was recognized as CTAM's Outstanding Individual in Communication in 2004. She was Farimont Area School's Teacher of the year in 2007 and was named as a semi-finalist for Minnesota Teacher of the Year. She has been an active member of the Minnesota Speech Coaches Association and the Communication and Theatre Association of Minnesota.

Andrea Carlile

Andrea Carlile

Andrea Carlile is the Director of Forensics at South Dakota State University. She is the 2013 recipient of Pi Kappa Delta’s Bob Derryberry Outstanding Contributions from a new Forensics Educator. In her brief tenure at SDSU she has coached the 2013 and 2014 South Dakota Intercollegiate Forensics Association Champions and qualified students to the AFA-NIET. Andrea competed for Gustavus form 2003-2007, where she was a three-time qualifier to the Interstate Oratory Contest, a semi-finalist in 2006 and one of the first Gustavus competitors to break into quarterfinals in Communication Analysis at the AFA-NIET in 2007. She was named to the 2007 AFA and Pi Kappa Delta All-American teams. Andrea has a Master’s in Communication Studies from South Dakota State University and a Bachelor’s in Political Science from Gustavus Adolphus College. Prior to returning to South Dakota Andrea worked as a communication consultant in Washington, D.C. She is originally from Chatham, Illinois where she competed in four years of high school speech in Radio Speaking, Original Oratory, Oratorical Declamation and Special Occasion Speaking.

Harry Strong

Harry Strong

Coach Strong took over the Des Moines Roosevelt speech and debate program in 2004 and has grown it from a very small squad to over 50 students. His students have now won 16 individual state championships, qualified 44 times to the NFL national tournament and have won two NFL School of Excellence awards in debate (2008/2012). His extemp students have consistently placed high or won at national circuit extemp events including the MBA Round Robin, Extemp TOC and Catholic Nationals. His students are frequently invited to the top select tournaments and round robins in the country.

“Strong” was honored as the winner of the National Extemp Coaching Excellence Award in 2010 and again in 2012. He was the West Iowa Coach of the Year in 2011. He was named Iowa Coach of the Year in 2012. Both his debate and speech teams have been Iowa State team champions.

Additionally, academics matter in Strong's program with well over 20 winners of the NFL Academic All American Award in her coaching term at Roosevelt.

Jennifer Baese

Jennifer Baese

Jennifer Baese has coached high school speech for 20 years, and has been one of the head coaches for Lakeville North High School for most of those. She has coached State finalists in Drama, Extemp Reading, Informative, Oratory, Poetry and Prose, including 4 State Champions in Informative. Her team also competes on the national level; she has coached multiple finalists in Expository Speaking and coached the 2010 National Champion in that category. She grew up doing speech in Pine Island, Minnesota, when her dad, Tom Bollman, forced her to go out for speech in 8th grade .... and she is eternally grateful that he did so. When she is not coaching speech, Ms. Baese teaches English in Lakeville, loves reading any chance she can sneak away from her responsibilities, biking, binge watching Downton Abbey and Louie, eating great food that other people have cooked, and spending as much time as she can with her fantastic sons, Matthias, 12, and Dmitry, 7, who keep her alternately entertained and exhausted on a daily basis. 

Jason Olson

Jason Olson

Jason Olson has been a speech coach for 13 years and is the head coach at Hutchinson High School and the current President of the Minnesota Speech Coaches Association. Prior to his coming to Hutchinson, Jason coached at Adrian High School, a team that had never had a state finalist and during his tenure was fortunate to have several state champions to their credit. Jason grew up participating in speech at Dassel-Cokato High School and then went on to compete on the collegiate level at Southwest Minnesota State University, qualifying multiple events for the AFA National Tournament. He was selected by his fellow coaches to be the Class ‘A’ Discussion Chair for the Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) over five seasons, has served as a judge at the State Tournament, and previously was on the Minnesota Speech Advisory Committee as one of two Class ‘A’ coaches. Additionally, he was selected by the MSHSL as the 2011-2012 Outstanding Speech, Debate, and Theatre Educator for the state. Aside from speech, Jason teaches Social Studies at Hutchinson High School and while at Adrian was Adrian’s Teacher of the Year in 2009. Now attending his seventh summer speech institute as a coach, Jason considers this to be the highlight of his summer because of the passion and energy that keeps speech in the blood.

Sandra Wieser-Matthews

Sandra Wieser-Matthews

Sandra Wieser-Matthews has been the Head Speech Coach for the Yellow Jacket Speech team for 31 years in Perham, MN. Before teaching and coaching in Perham she directed theater and taught in Fort Myers, Florida. Sandra also has a degree in broadcasting and worked in radio and television in Nebraska. Sandra received her Doctoral Degree in Critical Pedagogy from the University of St. Thomas. She has coached many state speech finalists and champions over her career. As a high school educator, Sandra focuses on teaching students Public Speaking, mass media, drama, debate, and Film Studies.  She also serves as a technology integrationist for the district. This will be Sandra's second year of working with the Institute's coaches, as she enjoyed five years at the Institute and one year at the Concordia camp. Sandra enjoys spending time with her two sons, and weight lifting, hiking, reading, horse-back riding, and traveling.

Sam Boerboom

Sam Boerboom

Sam Boerboom holds the position of Assistant Professor of Media Studies and Rhetoric at Montana State University Billings. Previously Sam taught for two years at Gustavus Adolphus College as Visiting Assistant Professor. During that time he also served as a volunteer speech coach for the Gustavus Adolphus Forenics team. Sam starting his forensics career his sophomore year at Marshall High School, competing in humorous interpretation, great speeches, and extemp speaking. He was a two-time state competitor in humorous interpretation. In his collegiate forensics career at the University of Nebraska, Sam competed in both interpretation and public address events, placing nationally at the AFA-NIET tournament in prose, duo, persuasion and communication analysis. In addition to his three years of coaching at GAC-SSI, he served as a staff member at summer speech camps at the University of Nebraska. In his forensics coaching Sam stresses how public address and interpretation skills rely upon and reinforce one another.

Jill Lofald

Jill Lofald

Jill Lofald has coached at Duluth Denfeld for 22 years. Jill has been coaching competitive speech for over 30 years! She teaches English 9, Public Speaking, Creative Writing, Interpersonal Communications and Drama.

Jill considers the Interp events her strongest area coaching state champions in Drama and Creative. She also has coached a state champion in Great Speeches and National qualifiers in Oratory and Extemp. Speaking.

The speech team—under Jill's coaching has had over 20 students advance to the NFL tournament and has advanced 6 into the top 60 and 2 to the top 30.

Karmin Schraw

Karmin Schraw teaches Honor English 9 and AP Language and Composition at St. Cloud Tech High School. She has been the head coach at Tech for 18 years. During those years, Tech Speech has grown to a team of 70+ students and has been fortunate to advance 138 students to the state tournament with over 50 state finalists and 8 state champions. They are members of the National Forensic League and have advanced dozens of students to nationals, many advancing to the octa and quarterfinal rounds. They participate in the Harvard Speech/Debate tournament every February. In 2011 they had a duo team break into the final round, and this past year, they had 2 students in DI break into the final round. One placed 5th, and the other placed 2nd out of 398 other DIs from around the nation. The Tech Team has been the Central Lakes Conference Champions for 17 years in a row. When Karmin is not coaching speech, she enjoys reading, organizing her house, relaxing at the lake cottage, and thinking about oratory and informative topics. This is Karmin’s first year at camp, and she is anxious to meet everyone and learn from coaches and students.

Yatesh Singh

Yatesh Singh

Yatesh, with Jenn Baese, is the co-head coach of Lakeville North's speech program. In his five years there, he's coached and qualified numerous students to elimination rounds at the MSHSL state tournament, the National Individual Events Tournament of Champions, and the NSDA National Tournament as well as elim rounds at a variety of invitational tournaments both in Minnesota and across the country. Although he's coached a wide variety of events, his specialties are Extemp Speaking, Informative, and Original Oratory. He credits much of his program's success and most of his sanity to his wife, with whom he coaches Extemp at North. Also, he is far younger and aloof than old man Harry Strong.

Noelle Anderson

Noelle Anderson

Noelle Anderson starts her fourth and final year of competitive collegiate speech. She is originally from Simi Valley, CA, where she competed at Moorpark College for two years as a member of their ten-time national championship team. In addition, she was a two-time State Champion in Prose Interpretation at the California Community College Forensics Association (CCCFA) State Tournament. As a competitor, she has competed and placed in every Interpretation event- Prose, Poetry, Drama, POI, and Duo -on both the 2-year and 4-year circuits. Along with her success in forensics, Noelle has demonstrated commitment to childcare. She holds Associate Degrees in Communication Studies and Early Childhood Education. This has led her to student teaching in preschool classrooms and coaching gymnastics at local parks and recreation centers. In her spare time, Noelle enjoys scrapbooking, small cute animals, and helping others.

Kelsey Abele

Kelsey Abele

Kelsey a 2014 Gustie Grad competed from middle school all the way through college. Highlights of her competitive career include placing second at the Missouri State Tournament in Prose and Dramatic Interpretation in high school, winning Minnesota Collegiate State Tournament in Prose (2014), POI (2013, 2014), and Dramatic Interpretation (2012). At the National level, she placed 5th in Prose at AFA in 2014, and took 2nd in Communication Analysis (similar to Great Speeches) in 2014 and has national out rounds in POI, Drama, Impromptu, and Poetry. Now she is a graduate student at Kansas State University teaching Public Speaking and coaching students there. When she was three years old, her parents got her a pony, which she promptly named after her preschool classmate, "Hartley."

Megan Johnson

Megan Johnson

In high school, I participated in all three genres of speech, which includes Prose, Informative, and Impromptu. Informative was my favorite! I also competed in congressional debate and public forum debate all four years. I had the opportunity to compete on the national circuit at tournaments in Minneapolis and also The Harvard Debate Tournament. In college, I compete in Extemporaneous speaking, Persuasive speaking, Impromptu, and Informative. This past year I qualified all four events to the American Forensics Association national tournament in Portland, Oregon. Fun Fact: I've moved seven times and managed to not change schools.

Kaitlin Burlingame

Kaitlin Burlingame

Kaitlin Burlingame comes from Paynesville, Minnesota. She is one fourth of the beautiful senior class on the Gustavus Forensics team. In high school, she competed for six years in Humorous, placing second at the 2009 MSHSL State Tournament. So far in college forensics, she has participated in After Dinner Speaking, Prose, Drama, Persuasion, Program Oral Interpretation, Poetry, and Duo. During the 2012 competitive year, she took third at the Minnesota Collegiate Forensics Association State Tournament in POI. She was a quarterfinalist in persuasion at the National Forensic Association National Championship, where she also placed third in Forensics Criticism. She and Emmett took her prose to the semifinal round at the American Forensic Association National Individual Events Tournament. She loves anything leopard print, including 3 of her suits, and luckily, she shares her fashion expertise as team stylist. Kaitlin is a Communication Studies major and a Theatre minor. When she’s not stretching for her Cirque Du Soleil audition or practicing creative modern operatic arrangements with soul sister Justin Feit, Kaitlin enjoys being hilarious, general debauchery, and being a glamorous hippie.

Vanessa Condon

Vanessa Condon

Vanessa Condon is the Assistant Director of Forensics at South Dakota State University. Originally hailing from Mound, Minnesota and competing on the high school circuit for four years, Vanessa performed a diverse group of categories including Humorous, Original Oratory, and Prose. In her collegiate career, she competed in Dramatic Interpretation, Poetry, Program Oral Interpretation, and Prose while qualifying her POI and Poetry to the American Forensic Association National Individual Events Tournament. Her senior year at Gustavus, she also participated in the experimental event at the Minnesota Collegiate Forensics Association State Tournament- taking third in Minnesota Informative. In her spare time, she loves to learn how to groom dogs, go to poetry slams, and canoe on Lake Minnetonka.

Adrienne Gruenes

Adrienne Gruenes

Adrienne Gruenes is a senior member on the Gustavus Forensics Team from Watkins, MN. This is her sixth time attending GAC-SSI, the third time as a coach. In high school and middle school, she competed for seven years in the categories of Drama, Original Oratory, and Great Speeches. In college, she competes in Informative, After Dinner Speaking, and Extemporaneous Speaking. Adrienne is majoring in Communication Studies and double minoring in Political Science and Sociology/ Anthropology. When not working on speech, she enjoys hanging out in the team room with her teammates, watching movies, and listening to music, and reading the news. Fun fact: Adrienne has been to Germany and is going to Cuba in January.

Kari Grundmeier

Kari Grundmeier

Kari will be a senior on the Gustavus Adolphus Forensics Team. This year will be her 7th year being involved in forensics. In high school, she competed in Creative Expression, Extemporaneous Reading, and Drama. In college, she competed in Drama, Prose, Program Oral Interpretation, Informative speaking, and After Dinner Speaking qualifying for the 2015 national tournament in ADS. Fun Fact: Kari was born in Incirlik Turkey while her father was in the Air Force.

Brittany Knutson

Brittany Knutson

Brittany Knutson is a sophomore member of the Gustavus Adolphus Forensics team from Watertown, SD. In high school, she competed in Original Oratory and qualified for the NFL National Tournament in 2010 and 2011. During her freshman year, Brittany competed in Persuasion, Informative, After Dinner Speaking, Extemporaneous Speaking, and Impromptu Speaking. She placed fourth at the Minnesota Collegiate Forensics Association State Tournament in After Dinner Speaking and qualified Informative, Persuasion, and After Dinner Speaking to the American Forensic Association National Individual Events Tournament. At Gustavus, Brittany is a Communication Studies and Political Science double-major. When she isn't busy with speech or school work, Brittany enjoys reading nerdy books, hanging out in the speech room until all hours of the night, and sitting on Gustavus' many hills with her closest friends.

Emily Meyer

Emily Meyer

Emily Meyer is a rising senior member of the Gustavus Forensics Team from Andover, Minnesota. In her collegiate career, she has competed in both interpretation event and public address events. She competed for four years in Extemporaneous Reading and two years in Original Oratory at St. Francis High School. She qualified for the state tournament in E.R. her senior year. She also participated in Public Forum and Lincoln-Douglas debate for three years and Congressional Debate for four years. During her first year on the collegiate circuit, she qualified two events to the AFA-NIET: Prose and Informative. She also placed second in the district in Informative. Her sophomore year she qualified four events to the AFA-NIET: Persuasive Speaking, Informative Speaking, Program Oral Interpretation, and Prose Interpretation. She also was a national quarterfinalist in Persuasive Speaking. This past year, she qualified five events to AFA and was a semi-finalist at the Interstate Oratorical Competition, the oldest competitive speaking competition in the United States. Emily is a Biology major with a concentration in botany and a Studio Art minor; she enjoys reading, watercolor painting and, being around plants.

Karin Nordin

Karin Nordin

Karin Nordin just finished her last year of competing for Gustavus Adolphus College. Waaayy back in high school she competed for three years in Creative Expression, making the final round at the MN State Tournament her senior year. Throughout her four years in collegiate speech, she competed in Prose, Impromptu, Duo, Program Oral Interpretation, Persuasion, Drama, and Poetry. During her junior year at the AFA-NIET, she was a four-time quarterfinalist, as well as a semi-finalist in Impromptu and a finalist in Persuasion and Poetry. During her senior year, she placed 5th in the nation in Prose Interpretation and was a national champion in Oratory. Next year, she'll be heading down to the University of Alabama to coach their forensics team (Roll Tide, right Kris?). In all seriousness, she'll always be a proud Gustie and can't wait to spend the rest of her life passing on the incredible experiences Forensics has given her.

Matthew Pursi

Matthew Pursi

Matthew Pursi is entering his fourth year as head coach for the BLHS/BOLD High School Speech Team. Before that, he worked as an assistant speech coach for the Duluth Speech Team for nine years. Matthew has coached students to both the state and national levels, and is an active member of both the NFL and the MSCA. When not coaching speech, you can find him teaching American Literature, British Literature, Honors English, Cinema Studies, and College Speech at BLHS High School; as well as directing high school productions year round. Before teaching, Matthew graduated with a BFA from the University of Minnesota-Duluth and worked professionally as a children’s stage manager for a few years before returning to school at the College of St. Scholastica where he received his masters in education.

Kari Roll

Kari Roll

I am a Chemistry and Education major with the intent of teaching at the High School or Middle School level. In High school, I participated in storytelling, prose, and drama. In college, I have done prose, drama, informative, communication analysis, after dinner speaking, impromptu, and extemporaneous speaking. In 2014, I Quarter-finaled my After Dinner Speaking piece at the national tournament. Fun fact: I am the queen of puns; I love every pun no matter the shape or size.

Kenzie Shofner

Kenzie Shofner

Kenzie Shofner hails from Orono, Minnesota and is a sophomore on the Gustavus Adolphus Forensics Team. This is Kenzie’s third year attending GAC-SSI. Kenzie competed all four years in high school in a variety of events, including Prose, Drama, Extemporaneous Reading and Poetry. She placed third at the 2014 National Individual Events Tournament of Champions in Poetry. During her first year on the team, she qualified Communication Analysis, Prose Interpretation and Duo Interpretation to the American Forensic Association National Individual Events Tournament. Kenzie placed 5th place in Duo Interpretation at the Minnesota Collegiate Forensics Association State Tournament. Kenzie is currently a Communication Studies Major and is thinking about double majoring in Business Management. If you can’t find Kenzie in the team room working on speech or homework, she is usually hanging out with friends, shamelessly watching YouTube beauty tutorials videos or going on an impromptu adventure!

Madison Klein

Madison Klein

My name is Madison Klein, I’m from Huron, South Dakota and this fall I will be majoring in Music/Pre-Medicine. I’m very excited to be attending Gustavus Adolphus College this fall, but I’m even more excited to be a part of their speech team! My interest in speech started in elementary school when my mother would take me to the showcase nights the high school varsity team would have. I instantly decided it was something I wanted to do when I was a “big kid”. I joined our middle school team in the seventh grade and have been competing ever since then. My primary and favorite event has always been duo, but I’ve also competed in humor, oratory, drama, poetry, prose, and reader’s theater. Over my four years in high school forensics I have, been awarded six superior medals at the South Dakota State Oral Interpretation Festival, been a part of my conference’s championship duo team for the past three seasons, qualified for the NFL National Tournament in duo twice, been awarded the Harold Jordan Award from the state of South Dakota for outstanding contributions to the activity, attended GAC-SSI for two summers and made a lot of great friends. I’m a firm believer that competing in speech does not only improve your public speaking and people skills, but also your outlook on the world and appreciation for life. I am very grateful to this activity for making me the person I am today and I am SO EXCITED to be helping out at camp this year! GO GUSTIES!

Rodrigo Vazquez

Rodrigo Vazquez

Rodrigo was born in Tijuana Mexico in 1996. He moved to Minnesota in 1998 for his parents to pursue a Ph.D. in the University of Minnesota. He attended a Montessori Charter High School named Great River School where he pursued the IB diploma. His school did not have a speech program. Instead he spent the majority of his time in Lego League and Robotics, eventually becoming the Build captain of his team. When he found the time, he enjoyed doing extracurricular activities related to public speaking such as debate, theater and poetry out loud. He learned about forensics through the SSI program. When he participated in 2012, he had never written a speech before. Through the support of mentors and hard dedication, he was able to achieve second place in Public Address through Original Oratory. The Growth Award reflected his ability to work through the lack of experience and confidence. This won him an $8000 scholarship to attend Gustavus Adolphus and a love for forensics. Because of that scholarship he was able to join the Gustavus forensics team primarily working on oratory.

Sarah Peterson

Sarah Peterson

Hello, people diligent enough to read all of these bios! My name is Sarah, and I compete for the Gustavus Adolphus Forensics Team! I have been in speech since 7th grade and have participated in Poetry, Humorous, Extemp Reading, and Duo. On the collegiate circuit, I have competed in Drama, Prose, POI, and Duo (and Extemp Speaking, but we don't need to talk about that...) Forensics is my passion. It's so much more than talking to people. But I guess if you're reading this, you probably already know that! Other than forensics I love Biology, German, Unicorns, and the color pink! The Gustavus Summer Speech Institute is always the highlight of my summer! Can't wait!

Clay Sletta

Clay Sletta

I enjoy green tea, playing piano, jogging, meditating, and speech. In high school, I did prose and duo interpretation. I'm currently studying music and psychology. Fun fact: Although I am mostly vegetarian, I have eaten dog meat. It tasted like a cross between deer and beef.

Ryan Eichenauer

Ryan Eichenauer

Ryan is just finishing his first year at Gustavus Adolphus College as a Psychological Science/Communication Studies double-major. In high school, Ryan competed primarily in Duo Interpretation, Creative Expression, and Dramatic Interpretation. He went to state sophomore, junior, and senior year and finished his high school career by finaling at state. Ryan now competes in ADS and Dramatic interpretation, where he qualified those events for the AFA National Tournament in Spring 2015. Outside of speech Ryan is obsessed with pastries and desserts; you will most likely find him eating a donut or a cinnamon roll in the cafeteria. 

Kasey Wacker

Kasey Wacker

Kasey Wacker is new to the GAC SSI team, and is looking forward to sharing her years of high school coaching experience with the campers. Kasey started her speech career over 15 years ago when she competed at the state level in Humorous Interpretation. Deciding to coach Speech for Perham High school in Perham, MN was a natural decision as she studied at MSUM to become an English teacher. In the last four years coaching and starting her career as a high school teacher, Kasey has been apart of a coaching team that helped many students compete at the state level, including three state champions. This year, eleven competitors reached state, and three competed in finals. When Kasey isn’t coaching, teaching, and studying, she loves spending time with her husband and son, antique shopping, reading, biking, gardening, and watching comedies.

Alekhya Tallapaka

Alekhya Tallapaka

Alekhya Tallapaka is an incoming sophomore at Gustavus. Starting her forensics career as an 11 year old in middle school Declam, speech and Al go way back. Alekhya has competed in both speech and debate for four years at Rosemount High School, and was captain of the team since her junior year. Alekhya has participated in Extemp speaking, Poetry, Prose, Impromptu, Drama, Duo, and Humor throughout her high school speech career. Alekhya was named All-Conference in Prose Interpretation, and has earned the Legacy Award from Rosemount High School. On the Gustavus Forensics team, Alekhya participated in After Dinner Speaking, Persuasion, Impromptu and Extemp. This past season (2014-2015), she was the State Champion in After Dinner Speaking. This is her second year back at camp, and she is pumped! At Gustavus, Alekhya is a Sociology and Gender/Women/ Sexuality Studies major. In her free time, Alekhya enjoys reading, sleeping, becoming angry with various injustices around the world, and tweeting sarcastic remarks at world leaders

Chloë Litts

Chloë Litts

Chloë is a recent graduate of Staples-Motley High School in Staples, MN-- one of the many towns she has called home over the years. She hated when her second-grade teacher made the class give speeches but still joined the speech team in seventh grade. Chloë spent two years fumbling around with storytelling before finding her niche in discussion. She qualified for the MSHSL state tournament in discussion four times, receiving second place in 2014 and bringing home the championship in 2015. During her senior year, she also competed in original oratory, thanks to a lot of help and inspiration from Kris Kracht, Zach Avis, and Kanye West. Chloë is stoked to be attending GAC in the fall and competing for the forensics team. This will be her second summer at GACSSI, and she looks forward to dance parties, chicken strips, and proofreading. When she's not crying over her google drive, Chloë enjoys diet coke, going to the zoo, watching documentaries, and calling herself a "trap queen" (even though she doesn't know what it means).

Thomas Sullivan

Thomas Sullivan

Thomas Sullivan is an incoming freshman on the Gustavus Forensics Team and is thrilled to be coming back to SSI, this time as an intern! Thomas was originally born in Franklin, Massachusetts but grew up in Woodbury, Minnesota, where he attended East Ridge High School. He joined the East Ridge Speech Team in his sophomore year and has loved every moment since. He attended SSI in the summer before his junior and senior years, which proved to be transformative as a speaker and person. In high school, Thomas competed in Humorous all three years, as well as Poetry, Duo, and Prose. Some of his accomplishments include: placing at various invitational tournaments at the local level, both small and large; qualifying for the NIETOC for two years in a row in Humorous, as well as Duo in his senior year; making section finals in Duo in his senior year; being named an Academic All-American by the NSDA; and serving as a team captain in his senior year, leading the East Ridge team in its most successful year in history. Though speech has been, is, and always will be one of his greatest passions, Thomas also enjoys mathematics, theatre, reading, potato chips, and various nerdy obsessions that he could speak about for days on end

Cami Sharratt

Cami Sharratt

Cami Sharratt is an incoming Freshman, who is eager to work with GAC SSI students this summer as well as support and participate in the arts. Cami hesitantly began her speech career her freshmen year at Prior Lake High School and competed in Dramatic Interpretation into her sophomore year. After placing fourth at the sections meet her second year, Cami felt inspired and promised herself that she would make it to state and compete in more events. She triple entered both her junior and senior year and additionally qualified for AA state both years in Creative Expression (placing fourth) and Prose Interpretation (placing third). In addition to her speech career, Cami has been in about two dozen plays over her many years in theater and volunteers with a plethora of kids. Cami feels that her greatest accomplishment is befriending the ever-so-talented Mr. Parker Roth. She is anxious to work with students this summer and into the future!

Brandon Raghu

Brandon Raghu

I come from a small town Arlington, MN. I will be a Freshman on the team. I competed in high school speech for four years. I competed in events such as Poetry, Duo Interpretation, Dramatic Interpretation, and Informative. As Junior year came around, I started to compete in Informative. Ever since, Informative has been my main category of competition! I am a State level competitive speaker. Aside from Forensics, I performed in plays and played a few sports! I am also an AVID video gamer. I also enjoy purchasing shoes and skinny jeans. I care way too much about my hair! I am excited to work with all of you this summer!

Killian McNeely

Killian McNeely

Killian Mcneely will be coming to Gustavus next year from Wooster Ohio, where he competed in extemporaneous speaking and congressional debate for four years. While at Wooster, Killian served as the division captain for the United States extemporaneous speaking squad for four years. Not only has Killian gained experience from competing in speech, but as founding member and coach of the Edgewood Middle School speech and debate team, he has gained months of experience in coaching Extemp Speaking in the state’s very first middle school forensics program. Killian plans to major in poitical science and take a minor in Scandinavian Studies while at Gustavus. Outside of speech, Killian enjoys spending time as a semi-professional performing musician.

Anita Ukpokolo

Anita Ukpokolo

Anita is an incoming freshman. She comes from White Bear Lake Minnesota. She competed in high school speech for three years and specialized in Dramatic Interpretation and Prose Interpretation. She competed at the state speech level in Prose her senior year and couldn’t be more excited to see what her college forensics career entails! She is a two-time GAC SSI Alumni, and she is ready to take on her first year as a staff member. "Speech has done more for me than anyone will ever know. I'm ready to find my fight. Are you?"

Carly Spotts-Falzone

Carly Spotts-Falzone

Carly Spotts-Falzone will be a freshman on the Gustavus Forensics Team next year. She competed in speech for four years at Wayzata High School in Plymouth, MN. She started competing in Duo Interpretation her freshman year and picked up Prose halfway through her junior year when she fell in love with the category. Carly attended GACSSI the summer before her senior year, and credits it so much with her future successes. During her senior year of high school, Carly qualified for the Class AA State Tournament and received runner-up honors in Prose Interpretation, as well as 5th place at the National Individual Events Tournament of Champions. Carly could not be more excited to work at camp this summer, and give back to the activity that has given her so much already!

Parker Roth

Parker Roth

Parker Roth is an incoming freshman on the Gustavus Speech Team, having attended SSI twice during his time competing for Orono High School. Parker began his high school speech career his sophomore year, growing his passion for the activity every day since. During his time in high school, Parker competed in Prose, Poetry, Drama, Original Oratory, Oral Interpretation and Impromptu. Competitively, he finaled twice at the MSHSL AA State Tournament in Serious Interpretation of Prose, placing 7th his sophomore year and 1st his senior year. He also spent his senior year becoming a nationally recognized speaker, breaking to finals at several national tournaments, including a championship in Prose/Poetry at Glenbrooks, a triple-break to finals at Dowling, and a second place finish in Dramatic Interpretation at Harvard. When he is not practicing speech or intensely stalking his competition on Speechwire, Parker enjoys Karate and playing the saxophone. At Gustavus, he plans to pursue a double major in Music and Political Science and hopes to one day be a manager for a presidential campaign.

Abbie Perry

Abbie Perry

Abbie Perry is an incoming freshman at Gustavus. In high school, she competed in Original Oratory, Informative, Poetry, Duo and Impromptu at Millard West High School in Omaha, Nebraska. She qualified for state all four years in multiple events, attended the NIETOC three years in a row and the NSDA national tournament her senior year. Over her high school forensics career, she has been recognized as an NSDA Academic All-American, made quarterfinals at the NIETOC twice in Oratory and placed 3rd in the Expository final round. She is excited to be back n St. Peter to attend GAC-SSI for the second time.

Rebecca Engel

Rebecca Engel

Rebecca Engel will be a freshman this year at Gustavus coming from Sauk Centre, Minnesota. Rebecca competed in speech for four years at Sauk Centre High School where she started out in Extemporaneous Reading but quickly realized Original Oratory was the category for her. Speech has always been Rebecca’s passion! In high school Rebecca qualified for the state tournament twice, finaled once, and earned 7th place. This is her first year being a part of SSI, and she couldn’t be more excited. Rebecca will start her college career with full intentions on majoring in Elementary Education while being a part of the forensics team. When she isn’t working on speech or school, she enjoys binge watching shows on Netflix (especially Grey’s Anatomy and The Office), traveling, drinking coffee, and meeting new people.

Nick Herink

Nick Herink

Nick is currently a speech and English teacher and Assistant Director of Forensics at Millard North High School in Omaha, Nebraska. During his tenure Nick has coached numerous finalists at both the state and national levels including the 2013 & 2014 Nebraska State Champion in Dramatic Interpretation and Entertainment Speaking respectively, the 2014 NIETOC Runner-up in Poetry Interpretation and Champion in Informative Speaking, the 2014 NSDA Runner-up in Informative Speaking, and at the collegiate level, the 2013 AFA National Runner-up in Poetry Interpretation. During his own competitive career Nick amassed a total of 10 collegiate national finals including being named the 2011 NFA National Runner-up in Prose, Poetry, and Dramatic Interpretation as well as winning the 201 AFA National Championship in Program Oral Interpretation. As a high school competitor Nick was the 2007 & 2008 Nebraska State Runner-up in Dramatic Interpretation, the 2008 Nebraska State Champion in Duo Interpretation, and placed 7th in Dramatic Interpretation at the 2008 NSDA National Tournament. In the fall Nick will be teaching at Lincoln East High School and is over the moon to serve as their new Director of Forensics.

Lizzie Hjelle

Lizzie Hjelle

Lizzie is a junior member of the GAC Forensics team originally from the small community of Elbow Lake, Minnesota where she competed in high school speech for six years doing Prose Interpretation. Since coming to college, she's expanded her repertoire of events to include Drama, Duo, Informative, and even Extemp Speaking for one tournament. Lizzie competed in Slam Poetry at the 2015 Minnesota Collegiate Forensics Association State Tournament where she earned 4th place. She has also competed at the American Forensic Association National Individual Events Tournament for two years, taking Duo and Informative her freshman year and taking Duo, Informative, and Drama her sophomore year. Aside from speech, Lizzie loves studying Russian language and literature, going to music festivals, eating pizza several times per week, and spending quality time with her cat.

Andrew Boge

Andrew Boge

Andrew Boge was a national qualifier to the NSDA tournament his junior year of high school advancing to quarterfinals in poetry. In IHSSA speech, he advanced to All-State junior and senior year of high school in Radio News Broadcasting. Runner up in Duo his senior year at the Iowa State Forensic League Tournament he as also dabbled in Public Forum debate, placing as a two-time State Debate Tournament quarterfinalist. Fast forward to college and Andrew is a qualifier to the AFA-NIET in 5 events spanning all three genres, MN state champion in Communication Analysis, and HFO semifinalist in Informative Speaking! Andrew has a deep emotional hatred for comic sans font. Seriously, the font is pointless.

Zach Avis

Zach Avis

Zach recently graduated from Prior Lake High School in Savage, Minnesota where he competed for three years in the categories of Extemp. Speaking and Impromptu. Zach is a two time SSI camper, and winner of the 2014 extemp final round. Over the past three years Zach has had numerous experience competing in out rounds at tournaments throughout the state, including sections and the state tournament. To end his career, Zach was fortunate enough to compete at the NSDA National Tournament where he placed in the Top 30 in United States Extemp. Next year, Zach will be attending the American University to study International Relations and Economics. Outside of speech, Zach enjoys listening to the Top U.S. Hits Spotify playlist, eating Chipotle, and driving his Equinox.

Caleb Merritt

Caleb Merritt

Caleb Merritt is an incoming sophomore Art Studio major who often contemplates his major choice. In high school, he participated primarily in Humorous, Dramatic Interpretation, and Duo Interpretation, of which the latter he qualified to the NSDA tournament his senior year. His freshman year of college, he participated in Poetry, Program Oral Interpretation, Prose, and Drama while unsuccessfully dabbling in limited prep. With an unconscious affinity for the letter P, he qualified only events starting with such to the AFA-NIET. Caleb also has a state title in Slam Poetry at the 2015 MCFA State Tournament. He enjoys passing confused motorists on his bike, pondering the spaghettifying nature of black holes and living out his faith.

Ryan Hubbard

Ryan Hubbard

Ryan Hubbard has coached forensics for 7 years, and has been the director of forensics at Brentwood Academy in Tennessee for 3 years. He was the 2013 recipient of the Smoky Mountain coach of the year, and he received a national champion coach award in 2014 for Expository Speaking. Ryan has coached a number of finalists on the national circuit, including the Glenbrooks tournament, Harvard, George Mason University, Wake Forest, Emory University, as well as the NSDA national tournament in both 2013 and 2014. His team won overall sweepstakes at the 2014 Glenbrooks tournament in Chicago. As a high school competitor, Ryan placed 11th in Humorous Interpretation at the NSDA national tournament, and he won national championships in college in both After Dinner Speaking and Prose Interpretation. When he isn’t coaching forensics, Ryan is thinking about oratory topics while working out at CrossFit Nashville. He also loves his extremely large family, by which most of his HI characters are inspired.