Director of Debate: Will Baker

Will heads the NYU President’s Global Debate Fund which connects faculty, staff and students on all of NYU's campuses through the transformative power of the Global Debates.  As a leading authority on debate training and youth development, Will is a sought-after corporate debate consultant and speaker in NYC and a change maker in the urban education community.  He is the Chief Information Officer for Baker Consulting Associates based in Dallas, Texas. Will teaches argumentation in the NYU Steinhardt School of Education and directs their award-winning debate team.  In 2003, NYU captured the National Championships making him the first African American director to win that title since Melvin Tolson of Wiley College in 1935.  In 2005, he was elected CEDA President.  Previous positions included President (Committee of Religious NGOs at the UN), International Association for Religious Freedom (UN Representative/North American Coordinator), Unitarian Universalist UN Office (CMO), Cornell University (Director, Rhetorical Scholarship Laboratories) and elected office as a Queens Assembly District Leader.   

As a debater and speaker at Cornell University, Will was a member of the Century Club winning over 100 awards in intercollegiate competitions. Other accolades include finalist in the Ford Foundation Leadership for a Changing World competition, the John Jaocbsohn Memorial Award for Public Service (2006), the Paul Slappy Award for fostering diversity (2005), the Lucy Keele Award as Intercollegiate NDT Debate Coach of the Year (2004),  the National Speaker Assn Pericles Award for Great Public Speaking (2003), the Don Brownlee Award as CEDA College Debate Coach of the Year (1999), and countless regional awards for coaching, teaching and community service.   

Assistant Coach: Kristine Itliong  

An associate in financial management at KPMG, Kristine had a decorated career as a debater and officer for the NYU CEDA team and continues her involvement as a coach.   Kristine was the first NYU student to start as a novice and go on to qualify for the National Debate Tournament (NDT) and the only debater to make elims at Novice Nationals, JV Nationals, and CEDA Nationals.  As a Bickel & Brewer Scholar and Team President, Kristine led the team to historic successes in win percentage, member recruitment, total awards and national ranking during her two-year presidential tenure.   She was a National Debate scholar, a Stern Scholar and advanced to the elimination rounds of the Global Debates in three consecutive years.

Assistant Coach: Erin Szczechowski

Erin is a graduate of NYU's College of Arts and Sciences with a degree in English, and is now a writer for the children's publishing house, Fabled Films. As a debater, she won championships at both the United States Military Academy at West Point and the University of Texas at Dallas with a combined elim and prelim record of 19-1.   She has also taken numerous speaker awards.​ In 2017, she was named a CEDA National Debate Scholar. Alongside NYU, she also currently serves as a coach of policy debate at Mameroneck High School.

Our Coaches

Assistant Coach: Sofiya Andreyeva

Sofiya is a graduate of NYU's College of Arts and Sciences with degrees in Global Public Health and History. In her spare time, Sofiya enjoys discovering ice cream joints and hanging out with cats. Sofiya was honored as a 2017 CEDA National Debate Scholar and currently serves as a teacher and coach for the Midtown West branch of Success Academy. 

Assistant Director: John Dellamore  

An associate at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, John Dellamore has been a leading figure guiding the team’s progress since before his graduation.   John was named the 2017 Critic of the Year for the CEDA East Region.  As a CEDA All-American and two-time National Debate Scholar, John deepened the NYU talent pool through his coaching and support.    As a lecturer and debate coach for KIPP, John gave back to disenfranchised communities while still maintaining an impressive grade point average despite a rigorous academic calendar.   A later stint as an intern at the Council on Foreign Relations revealed his critical thinking skills and deep appreciation of strategic planning.     

We also want to thank Myra Milam, Angela Cammayo, Simran Maker, Dan Passeser, Yobanna Cruz, and Nate Grau who pitch in to help the team from time-to-time.


NYU has one of the most extensive coaching tress in the nation. Many of the top East Coast college programs were (and still are) run by students who debated under Baker as high school or college students (often as novices) or worked under his tutelage as coaches in the NY Debate Coalition including Kathryn Rubino (Director of Debate, United States Military Academy of West Point), Dr. Jillian Marty (Director, University of Vermont), Richard Garner (Director of Debate, University of Houston, formerly with Harvard University), Amber Kelsie (former Director, two-time national champion Towson University), Shree Asware (coach-North Broward Prep, former asst coach-James Madison University), Vik Keenan (Director, New School), Whitney Brown (former Director, John Jay College), Kate Ortiz (assistant director, University of Central Florida), Josh Imes (assistant coach, West Virginia University), Andrew Jacobs (Director-Rockland Community College) and Zhane Lloyd (assistant coach-New School, Brooklyn Tech).  This does not include the over 80 current and former high school coaching positions occupied by NYU debaters.  

Assistant Coach: Vladimir Pavlov

Vlad is a 5th Grade Math Teacher in the Ascend Charter School network by day and a intercollegiate debate coach by night.  Becoming a respected CEDA national circuit judge, Vlad has coached every level of team from novice to open at NYU.  Having earned his degree in Engineering from NYU Tandon, Vlad coached middle-schoolers with great success at Success Academy Charter schools during the 2018-19 academic year before moving on to Ascend.