Coaches

Kristofer Kracht

Kristofer Kracht

Kristofer Kracht is starting his eleventh-year directing the Gustavus Adolphus College Forensics program and his sixth year directing the Gustavus Summer Speech Institute. During his tenure, Gustavus placed 9th at the 2012 American Forensic Association National Individual Events Tournament and the 2012 National Forensic Association National Championship and 10th at the 2011 and 2010 American Forensic Association National Individual Events Tournaments, won a National Championship in President's DII at the 2012 and 2011 National Forensic Association National Championships, earned a top twenty finish in team sweepstakes at the 2007, 2008, and 2009 AFA-NIET, won a National Championship at the 2010 Pi Kappa Delta National Comprehensive Tournament, qualified multiple students for the Interstate Oratorical Association National Contest, and coached four AFA-NIET All-Americans. He received the 2006 Bob Derryberry Award For Outstanding New Forensics Educator, the 2009 Pi Kappa Delta Brightest Star Award, and the 2010 Swenson-Bunn Memorial Award for Teaching Excellence, and the 2011 AFA District Four Larry Schnoor Distinguished Service Award. Kris is married to Emily and they have two children, Eva and Noah.

Cadi Kadlecek

Cadi Kadlecek

Cadi Kadlecek starts her fourth year as the Associate Director of Forensics at Gustavus Adolphus College. She is originally from Ceresco, NE, where she competed at Raymond Central High School and was a member of a multiple state Championship team. In addition, she was an Octa-Finalist in Humorous Interpretation at the NFL National Tournament her senior year. As a college competitor, she competed in Public Address, Limited Prepration, and Interpretation winning not only the Nebraska state title in Dramatic interpretation, but also a National Championship in Prose Interpretation. In addition to success in forensics, Kadlecek demonstrated success in the classroom and service to the community by receiving the AFA-NIET All-American Award. Kadlecek now serves as a college coach and has coached students at Illinois State University, Bradley University, Concordia College, and Gustavus Adolphus College; managing to coach nationally competitive students in each of the 11 events at the AFA-NIET, and garnering her the Outstanding New Coach Award for the AFA-NIET in 2013. In her spare time, she bakes cupcakes and likes to play with her two cats, Ira and Sophia.

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.

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 18 years, and has been a head coach for Lakeville North High School for the past 12. 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 9th grade English part time in Lakeville, loves reading books and magazines and seeing movies, going out to eat at interesting restaurants, and spending as much time as she can with her sons, Matthias, 9, and Dmitry, 4, who might be joining her at camp for a bit this summer.

Jason Olson

Jason Olson

Jason Olson has been a speech coach for 11 years and is one of the head coaches at Adrian High School. Prior to his coming to Adrian High School, the team had never had a state finalist and now for the past several years, have been blessed with multiple state finishers. This year, he was fortunate and proud to have state finalists in Informative, Great Speeches, and Extemp. Reading. 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 Adrian High School for which he won Adrian’s Teacher of the Year Award in 2009. Now attending his third 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.

Zach Prax

Zach Prax

Zach Prax joins us for his first summer at the Gustavus Adolphus Speech and Debate Institute. A high school instructor for seven years, Zach received his B.A. in political science from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities and his M.A. in social studies education from the University of St. Thomas, and teaches AP European History and US History at Chanhassen High School. A coach of over a decade, Zach has directed debate, original oratory, and extemporaneous speaking at Chanhassen for two years, and coached at Apple Valley High School for eight years prior. In his two years at Chanhassen, Zach's debaters have won the MDTA Novice State Tournament and the MSHSL Section 6 Debate Tournament, and cleared at the MSHSL State Debate Tournament. In speech, Zach’s extempers and orators have appeared in the final round of NFL Nationals, NCFL Grand Nationals, the Minnesota State Tournament, and have also appeared in deep outrounds at a number of local and national invitational tournaments including Emory, the Glenbrooks, Harvard, and the Extemp TOC. In his "free time", Zach keeps himself busy by serving at the Secretary of the Minnesota Debate Teachers Association, the Section 6 Debate Representative, the Director of the Winona Diocese of the National Catholic Forensic League, and the Chair of the Central Minnesota District of the National Forensic League.

Sandra Wieser-Matthews

Sandra Wieser-Matthews

Sandra Wieser-Matthews has been the Head Speech Coach for the Yellow Jacket Speech team for 25 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 recently 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, and Film Studies. This will be Sandra's fourth year of summer coaching, as she enjoyed two years at the Institute and one year at the Concordia camp. Sandra enjoys spending time with her two sons and husband, hiking, reading, horse-back riding, and traveling.

Darcy Bakkegard

Darcy Bakkegard

Darcy has been competing in and coaching speech for 20 years, working in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and North Dakota. She is currently the Director of Theatre at Robert College in Istanbul, Turkey. A three-time North Dakota State High School Speech champion and five-time member of the North Dakota All-State Speech Team, Darcy has competed in every interp category as well as several extemporaneous events. This is her seventh summer at GAC-SSI.

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.

Drew Hammond

Drew Hammond

Drew is an Interp coach at Eagan High School in Minnesota. He has coached nine finalists at the National Tournament in Duo, DI, and HI as well as 14 state champions across multiple categories. He is currently completing his Master's in education, teaches science to little kids, and works to support artists with mental illness. Drew enjoys woodworking, writing, and sleep. (And tiramisu).

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.

Travis Rother

Travis Rother

Travis Rother has coached high school speech for the last 10 years. He began his coaching career at his alma mater, Lakeville High School. From there he moved to the Schools of Eastern Carver Count where he coached at Chaska High School for 4 years. When the district opened the new Chanhassen High School in 2009, Travis was given the head coaching position and set out to develop a speech team from scratch that would have success in Minnesota and on the national level. After four short years of head coaching, Travis has already seen success from Chanhassen students who have made it to the State Final Round, N.F.L. National Tournament Finalists, and two N.C.F.L. National Champions. Chanhassen was awarded the N.C.F.L. School of Excellence Award for 2011 and 2012. Right now, his coaching passions include all of the interpretation categories (especially duo) and informative. Outside of coaching, Travis teaches English 10, A.P. Language and Composition and Broadcast Journalism. On Friday nights in the fall, you will find him announcing for the football team as the Voice of the Storm. Travis loves his video games (Jelly Defense and Mario Party are among his favorites now) and reading whenever there is time. He is married to a fellow teacher, Sarah Rother and they have 2-yr-old bundle of energy.

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.

Tim Sheaff

Tim Sheaff has been coaching speech and debate in Iowa and Illinois for 20 years, the vast majority of them at Dowling Catholic High School. His teams have had success in all events. Dowling students have at one time or another won every event at the Iowa state tournament from Extemp and Duo to Policy and LD. He coached the 2006 NFL National Champion in Humorous Interp and his team has qualified double digit number of students to the NFL National Tournament for the past 12 years.

Also known as "the Voice of the NFL" Mr. Sheaff is the emcee of the National Tournament Final Rounds and Awards Ceremony. He is on The NFL Board of Directors, elected by his coach peers nationally multiple times.

He has 6 children ranging in age from 21 to 7. Clearly he has an amazing wife.

Yatesh Singh

Yatesh Singh

Yatesh Singh has coached at Lakeville North High School for the past two years in Lincoln-Douglas debate and now extemporaneous speaking. Prior to North, he coached Policy debate and speech at Henry Sibley High School in Mendota Heights. A few recent accomplishments of his students include the 2011 state title in debate, 3rd place finish in extemp speaking at the 2012 state speech tournament, and an extemper in the top 60 at the 2012 NFL National tournament.

Kelsey Abele

Kelsey Abele

Kelsey Abele hails from Kansas City Missouri, and even as an "out of stater" she is returning to SSI for the fifth time, for the third time as a coach. She is an Art History Major (to confuse people) and an English Major (to fit in). In high school she competed in Storytelling (Missouri style), Duo, Prose, Poetry, and Dramatic Interpretation. Every year in high school, she qualified for state and ended her high school career with three state final placings including: 2nd place in Prose, 4th place in Poetry, and 2nd place in DI. Now in college, she competes in Prose, Impromptu, Program Oral Interpretation, Duo, Drama, Communication Analysis, and Poetry. This past season, Kelsey finaled four events at the Minnesota Collegiate Forensics Association State tournament, including a state championship in POI. She also rounded out the Gustie contingent of Indy Sweeps Awards with Larry Schnoor Individual Sweepstakes Championship. At the American Forensic Association National Individual Events Tournament she quarter-finaled POI, and drama, and semi-finaled impromptu. At the National Forensic Association Tournament she quarter-finaled drama for the third year in a row. When not traveling with the team, Kelsey enjoys singing in the Gustavus Choir, hosting a campus radio show for KGSM, and having library dance parties. Other interests include reading, jamming out to music of all sorts, knitting, cooking elaborate meals with Karin, Brittany and Vanessa, writing letters, and lapsing into accents in regular conversation.

Logan Boese

Logan Boese

Logan participated on the team this past year as a First-Year Gustavus student from Lake Wilson Minnesota. Competing for Murray County Central High School for 6 years Logan spent his first four years in Original Oratory and final two in Extemporaneous Speaking. His senior year Logan placed 5th in the 2012 MSHSL State Tournament in Extemp. With Gustavus Logan has competed in Extemp, Impromptu, and After Dinner Speaking. He succeeded in qualifying both Impromptu and Extemp for the AFA-NIET, breaking to the quarter final round in Impromptu. Logan is a Philosophy major with Religion and Peace Studies minors. On campus Logan participates in Hall Council, Chapel Choir, Pre-Law, and serves as a Chapel volunteer. He plans to spend his summer counseling at a Lutheran Bible Camp, but coming back to hang out with all of you for a wonderful week!

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 graduated this spring from Gustavus Adolphus College, where she competed as a member of the GAC forensics team. Originally haling from Mound, Minnesota and competing on the high school circuit for four years, she 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. This past year, she also participated in the experimental event at the Minnesota Collegiate Forensics Association State Tournament- taking third in Minnesota Informative. This fall, Vanessa will be attending South Dakota State University in Brookings for her Master's degree in Communication Studies, while teaching and coaching the SDSU forensics team. 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 from Watkins, MN and his beginning her second year with the Gustavus Forensics Team as a sophomore. This is her fourth time attending GAC-SSI, this time as a coach. In high school, she competed for seven years in the categories of Drama, Original Oratory, and Great Speeches. She competed at the 2012 MSHSL Tournament her senior year in Great Speeches. In college, she competes in Informative and After Dinner Speaking. When not working on speech, she enjoys hanging out in the team room until late hours of the night with her teammates, watching movies, and listening to music. She is working on a major in Communication Studies in hopes of becoming a speech pathologist.

Kari Grundmeier

Kari Grundmeier

Kari Grundmeier is a sophomore member of the Gustavus Adolphus Forensics team from Forest Lake Minnesota. She plans on majoring in Psychological Studies and minoring in Theater and Dance with a focus on costuming. In high school she competed in Creative Expression, Extemporaneous Reading, and Drama. This year she competed in the events of Drama and After Dinner Speaking. This will be her first year coaching at camp. In her spare time she enjoys reading, drawing, and playing video games.

Sam Hemmerich

Sam Hemmerich

Sam Hemmmerich is a 2012 alumni of the Gustavus Forensics team originally from Milaca, MN. Sam received his BA from Gustavus in biology and studio art. Back in high school, he tried Informative, loved Storytelling, and finished off with Dramatic Interpretation. In collegiate forensics, his focus was mostly interp (Prose, Program Oral Interpretation, Poetry, Drama, and Duo), but has taken on After Dinner Speaking and Informative speaking. Sam's various successes include a State Championship in Dramatic Interpretation in 2010 and a State Championship in Poetry Interpretation in 2012 at the Minnesota Collegiate Forensics Association State Championship, a Quarterfinal performance in Prose Interpretation and Dramatic Interpretation at the 2011 American Forensic Association National Individual Events Tournament and a visit to the Quarterfinal round of Dramatic Interpretation at the 2011 National Forensic Association National Championship. This is sam's 5th year coaching at camp where he focusses in serious interpretation, but still has a knack for storytelling!

Mariecus Jarvis

Mariecus Jarvis

Mariecus is senior member of the Gustavus Adolphus Forensics Team who grew up in Minneapolis, MN. When not working on Forensics, you can most likely find Mariecus in some sort of Lab or analyzing interesting human behavior as she is a Biochemistry and Sociology/Anthropology double major. In high school, Mariecus competed in the events of Poetry and Drama, qualifying poetry for the state tournament in 2009. On the collegiate circuit she has added Prose, Program Oral Interpretation and Duo to her repertoire. Over the past three years, Mariecus has qualified Poetry, Program Oral Interpretation, and Prose to the American Forensic Association National Individual Events Tournament. She is most proud of her 2013 State Championship in poetry. On campus Mariecus enjoys being involved in many science oriented organization, such as SMILE, and Chem club, and the Pan-Afrikan Student Organization (PASO). This summer she will be shadowing a Pharmacist!

Sonja Johnson

Sonja Johnson

Sonja Johnson is a Senior member of the Gustavus Forensics team coming from New Brighton, Minnesota. She competed for Irondale High School for four years in storytelling and extemporaneous reading. Since entering into the college arena, she has competed in Prose, Program Oral Interpretation (POI), Impromptu, and Extemporaneous Speaking, qualifying impromptu (2011, 2013), POI (2012), and extemporaneous speaking (2013) to the American Forensic Association National Individual Events Tournament. As an active Doctor Who fan, she enjoys welcoming other people into the fold and sharing her wealth of life stories during commercial breaks. When she isn't busy working on speech, she enjoys singing, talking, watching movies, talking, and hanging out with friends.

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 sophomore member of the Gustavus Forensics team from Andover, Minnesota. 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. Emily is a double major in Biology and Biochemistry and Microbiology and enjoys reading, painting and spending time with her friends. As she was unable to attend SSI as a high school speaker, she is even more excited now to be a part of such a beneficial experience!

Chris Moua

Chris Moua

Chris Moua is from Oakdale, MN and graduated from Gustavus in 2013, now officially an alum. This will be his fourth time coaching at SSI. During his final year on the GAC Forensics team, he was a triple quarterfinalist in Persuasive, Informative, and Communication Analysis at the 2013 AFA-NIET and a double quarterfinalist in Persuasive and Informative at NFA 2013. While he enjoys all speech categories, his main focus has primarily been public address. On his spare time, he likes to visit the the metro and explore the outdoors.

Brady Mueller

Brady Mueller

Brady Mueller will be a junior member of the Gustavus Forensics team coming from St. Francis, Minnesota. He competed for two years in Dramatic Duo and Creative Expression in his high school career and was able to qualify for the state tournament his junior year of high school. He also attended the 2010 Summer Speech Institute when he was a senior. Brady was a state champion and AFA-NIET (American Forensic Association National Individual Events Tournament) quarter-finalist in Dramatic Duo during the 2011-2012 season. In his sophomore year, the 2012-2013 season, Brady was a quarter-finalist at AFA-NIET in Poetry and Dramatic Duo,with the lovely Kaitlin Burlingame, and he was able to break his Dramatic Interpretation to the semi-final round. Brady is studying to be a theater major, and in his spare time he can be found watching movies, having fun doing improv comedy, and sleeping.

Karin Nordin

Karin Nordin

Karin Nordin comes from Lino Lakes, MN. This is her second year coaching at camp, but she also attended camp back in 2010. In high school, Karin competed in Creative Expression for three years, finaling at sections all of those years and breaking to state finals during her senior year. At Gustavus she competes in Poetry, Drama, Duo, Program Oral Interpretation, Impromptu, and Prose. During her sophomore year, Karin qualified all of her six events to the American Forensic Association National Individual Events Tournament. At the Minnesota Collegiate Forensics Association State tournament she finaled 5 events including Impromptu, POI, Duo, Poetry, and MN Informative (2013 Experimental Event), taking third in Indy Sweeps. Karin is a Psychology major and ponders picking up a Scan-Studies Minor in the future. When she isn't practicing, she enjoys sleep-talking, trusting Kelsey to make elaborate meals, flailing her arms in the team room, horseback riding, and finding next year's poetry.

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

Kari Roll will be a sophomore member of the Forensics team coming from Crystal Minnesota. She competed in Storytelling, Prose, and Drama in high school, and attended camp in 2011. During her freshman year she competed in Prose and Drama, and Minnesota Informative at the State tournament placing fourth. Kari is a Chemistry Education major, and in her free time enjoys reading, listening to music and cooking or baking.

Claire Sagstuen

Claire Sagstuen

Claire is from Eagan, MN and graduated from Eastview High School in 2007. She graduated this year with a major in Honors History and a double minor in Religion and Russian Studies. In high school, her events were duo interpretation, original oratory, and extemp speaking. Her events on the forensics team at Gustavus include Extemp Speaking, Impromptu, Communication Analysis, Persuasion, and Informative. This past year she was the Minnesota Collegiate Forensics Association State Champion in both Extemp Speaking and Impromptu Speaking, third place in Persuasive Speaking, and second place in Individual Sweepstakes . She also qualified for the fourth year in a row to the American Forensic Association National Individual Events Tournament and placed 25th in the nation in Persuasive Speaking. Outside of forensics, she is a Student Senate representative, Co-President of Gustavus Ambassadors, and a member of the Phi Beta Kappa academic honor society and Dobro Slovo, the Slavic national honor society. She enjoys watching musicals, eating anything chocolate, and working with kids as a Teacher Assistant at Sylvan Learning Center. Besides working at GAC-SSI this summer, she is preparing to go to the University of Edinburgh in Scotland for a Master's degree in Nationalism Studies.

Courtney Train

Courtney Train

A sophomore on the team, Courtney Train rode in on tornadoes from Salina, Kansas. In high school, Courtney dabbled in various events, from Oratory to Humorous Interpretation. Her Junior year she was the State champion in Duo, and her senior year she topped it off with a State Championship in HI. As an SSI Alumna, she won the tournament her senior year. Now as a college-kid, Courtney participates in Program of Oral Interpretation, Duo, Prose, and After Dinner Speaking. One of her proudest moments was taking 6th in State in Duo. She is excited to work with you and be a part of the GAC-SSI experience for her third year!

Shelby Wilds

Shelby Wilds

Shelby Wilds is from Staples, MN and is beginning her fourth year with the Gustavus Forensics Team as a senior. In high school, she competed in Great Speeches all four years. She competed at State her last three years of high school, making it to State finals her sophomore year. In college, she competes in Communication Analysis, Persuasion, Informative, Impromptu, and Extemporaneous Speaking, and qualified each of them to the 2013 American Forensics Association National Individual Events Tournament, where she broke to quarterfinals in Communication Analysis and finals in Persuasion, placing fifth. At the 2013 State tournament, she placed first in Communication Analysis, Impromptu Speaking, and Informative, and also placed fifth in Extemporaneous Speaking. She enjoys just hanging out with friends, drawing, and listening to music. Also, she loves the nature. She is working on a double major in History and Communication Studies.