Sreya Pinnamaneni is a junior in Columbia College double majoring in History and American Studies. From Orlando, FL, Sreya was active in Speech and Debate in the national LD circuit in high school, receiving five bids and breaking at the Tournament of Champions her senior year. In her time with Youth for Debate at Columbia, she has served as both Curriculum Director and Volunteer director, currently serving as President. She is also Executive Online Editor of the Columbia Undergraduate Law Review, a member of both the Eric Holder Student Advisory Board and the Gender-Based Misconduct Task Force, and a volunteer tutor at the Double Discovery Center. In her free time, Sreya is also an annoying Central Park runner and a froyo enthusiast.
Kat Blackwell — our Volunteer Director — is a sophomore at Columbia College, majoring in Anthropology and concentrating in Comparative Ethnic Studies. Kat competed in speech and public forum debate throughout high school and debated at NSDA nationals her senior year. She is a Social Media Intern at Columbia Admissions and judges East coast high school speech and debate tournaments on the weekends. Her favorite thing about YFD is its ability to provide students with skills and experiences that lead to empowerment. In her free time, she treats herself to NYC bagels.
Yaniv Goren is a first-year at Columbia College, and is thrilled to be one of this year’s Youth For Debate Outreach Directors! He is from a small town in Massachusetts, and his greatest passions in life are: justice-system reform, equitable education, and learning languages. He’s also a patterned-sock enthusiast and an avid reader, a superfan of Joan Didion! In high school, he competed in and coached Public Forum Debate, as well as Congressional Debate and Model UN, on the National Circuit; in college, he plans to incorporate this experience into his time at YFD. He is particularly excited to use debate education as a platform for fostering personal relationships between Columbia students and kids in New York City’s public school system. If you’d like to ask registration questions, give personal feedback, or air general grievances, he’s your guy.
Catherine is currently one of Youth for Debate’s Outreach Directors, having participated in policy debate for four years in high school. She is excited to help spread the word about Youth for Debate and its mission to more schools. In her free time, she enjoys exploring New York City and drinking excessive amounts of bubble tea.
Michaela Fleischer, the Social Media Director of Youth for Debate, is a first-year at Barnard College. She manages YFD’s Facebook, Instagram, and website, as well as numerous other social media campaigns primarily within the dance community. She plans to become a dance major and has previously appeared in campus productions such as Columbia University Ballet Ensemble’s Swan Lake as a demi-soloist, Barnard-Columbia Dances at New York Live Arts, and Orchesis’ Versace on the FloOrchesis. Her debate experience includes many years of high-school Model UN during which she has been an award-winning delegate. She also competed on the Speech and Debate Team at Los Angeles Valley College, during which she was a gold medalist in the CSUN Forensics Tournament. She is so excited for a wonderful semester with Youth For Debate!
Ari Daniel King
Ari King has been the Finance and Events Director since the spring of 2019 and a YFD coach since the fall of 2018. As Finance and Events Director, Ari manages the YFD budget and organizes YFD events. Ari is a freshman at Columbia College, and his major is undecided. Outside of YFD, Ari likes to watch baseball, play tennis, and read.
Genevieve is Youth for Debate’s Communications Director. This is her first year at Columbia College and she is so excited for this semester!
Robert Hannon Linck
Robbie Linck is a freshman in Columbia College double majoring in Financial Economics and Computer Science. Originally from Florida, Robbie was very active in PF throughout high school and was ranked #1 in the nation by the NSDA during his junior and senior years. In addition, Robbie founded and ran a summer debate camp for K-8 students and traveled to China to coach at the Yinning Debate Institute. As a Curriculum Director for YFD, he builds the curriculum, prepares topic briefings, and presents overviews of the lessons at General Body Meetings. He also runs tabulation for the YFD Debate Tournament at the end of each of semester.
Dylan Bamirny is a freshman in Columbia College serving as Curriculum Director. As well as writing lesson content, Dylan focuses on integrating innovative pedagogical methods and strategies that make YFD classes more inclusive, accessible, and enjoyable. In high school, Dylan participated in impromptu debate and has competed internationally in locations ranging from Cape Town to Dubai. He loves traveling outdoors, whether it’s going on a chill mountain hike or a tropical desert safari.
Sam Wilcox is a junior in Columbia College, pursuing a double major in English and Anthropology. He has been a coach with YFD every semester since the Fall of 2016, and greatly enjoys the chance that serving as Lead Curriculum Chair provides in helping to inspire interest in argumentative strategies and debate skills among young people. He is also Creative Director of the Gadfly, Columbia's undergraduate philosophy magazine, an editorial board member for the Columbia Review, and an illustrator for the Columbia Daily Spectator. When not working on debate strategies, he enjoys hiking around the city, visual arts, and reading.