National Congress Institute Staff
Our staff for the National Congress Institute consists of experienced and nationally ranked coaches from all across the country. All of our coaches have years of experience in competitive debate, as well as a passion for helping others develop their skills and reach their goals. As competitors, our coaches have accumulated well over 100 combined Bids to the Tournament of Champions and won 12 national circuit TOC Bid tournaments.
With our staff's diverse backgrounds and deep expertise in Congress, students will have the opportunity to learn from the best!
(American University '25)
Nick is a sophomore at American University studying International Relations and Data Science. As a Congressional debater, he was captain of the James B. Conant High School Team, where he won the 2021 IHSA State Championship, placed 3rd at the 2020 Sunvitational, 4th at the 2021 Stanford Invitational, and qualified to the Tournament of Champions twice.
By the numbers, Nick is one of the, if not the most accomplished Congress coaches at the middle school level. He has coached back-to-back champions at the 2023 and 2022 Middle School Harvard National Forensics Tournament and the champion of the 2022 Middle School Tournament of Champions, alongside multiple other finalists.
Nick's coaching philosophy centers around developing incisive analysis, speaking extemporaneously, and effective pre-round planning.
Zach Wu (Naperville North '23)
Zach is a senior at Naperville North High School. For the past three years, Zach has been one of the premier Congressional debaters in the country. He has championed the Princeton Classic, the UPenn Liberty Bell Classic, the Harvard Forensics Tournament twice, the Illinois Congressional Debate Association’s championship twice, and the IHSA State Championship twice. Along the way, he has accumulated 24 bids to the Tournament of Champions, where he placed 2nd in 2021 and was the Champion Presiding Officer in 2022.
As a co-founder and the sitting president of Youth Voices, Zach has personally trained over 150 young debaters around the country and built up one of the most successful extracurricular debate programs in the country.
When he’s not debating, coaching, or handling other YV duties, Zach captains the golf team at Naperville North and is always up for a game of pickup basketball with friends. Zach is super stoked to welcome some new faces to the Youth Voices family!
Mike Kaiser (American Heritage '23)
Mike is a senior at American Heritage Palm Beach in Florida, where he’s been competing in Congressional debate for almost 5 years. His most notable achievements include placing 1st at the 2022 Yale Invitational, 1st at the 2023 Harvard Round Robin, 1st at the 2023 Cavalier Invitational, 2nd at the 2022 Glenbrooks, 4th at the 2023 Harvard Invitational, 5th at NSDA Nationals in the House, and 2nd at the 2022 Florida State Tournament. Throughout his career, he has accumulated a total of 25 bids to the Tournament of Champions and coached his novices to final rounds at tournaments like Harvard, Yale, Glenbrooks, Blue Key, Sunvite, and Nova Titan.
Outside of debate, you’ll find him traveling the world, kayaking, and playing soccer. Mike is excited to meet everyone and can’t wait to teach this summer!
(Round rock christian academy '23)
Kiera is a senior at Round Rock Christian Academy, where she serves as captain of the debate team. She has been involved in the speech and debate community since the fifth grade, finding her roots in Lincoln-Douglas Debate, Extemporaneous Speaking, and Oratory before specializing in Congress.
Currently, Kiera is the top-ranked female congressional debater across the House and Senate, having placed 3rd at last year’s NSDA National Tournament. While the size of her school has prevented her from attending many invitationals, she has qualified for the Tournament of Champions the past two years and received TOC bids at every qualifying tournament she has attended, notably winning the 2022 Winston Churchill Classic, placing 2nd at the 2022 Peninsula, and 3rd at the 2023 Harvard Round Robin. She is also a four-time state champion on the private school circuit.
In addition, Kiera is a member of the highly selective USA Debate team, the NSDA’s sponsored World Schools Debate team, and has competed internationally across countries like Croatia, Hong Kong, Mexico, and Singapore while representing the nation.
In her obviously abundant free time, Kiera loves thrifting, cheerleading, traveling the world, reading, and spending time with her friends and three cats. She can’t wait to give back to the debate community!
(Plano West ‘23)
Srjana is a senior at Plano West High School. She started competing in Congressional Debate in her freshman year and has since placed 3rd at the Harvard Forensics Tournament, 5th at the Yale Tournament, 4th at the UT Longhorn Classic and the TFA State Tournament, and has made finals at the Emory Barkley Forum for High Schools (7th) and the NSDA National Tournament (11th). She was also an invitee to the 2023 Harvard Round Robin Tournament and has accumulated 10+ bids to the Tournament of Champions.
Outside of round, you’ll find her inhaling Reese’s peanut butter cups and taking photos with her film camera! Srjana has spent many weekends coaching students in public speaking and debate and can’t wait to teach this summer.
(Cornell university '27)
Alex is a senior at The Village School in Houston and will be studying at Cornell University this fall. He began competing in Congress during eighth grade and has since placed 6th at Harvard, 4th at Florida Blue Key, 5th at NCFL Grand Nationals, and 2nd as a final round presiding officer at the Tournament of Champions, and has made finals at NSDA Nationals and the TFA State Tournament. He is also the current NSDA Point Leader in congress and has been an invitee to the Harvard and Florida Blue Key Round robins, accruing 18 bids to the Tournament of Champions.
Outside of debate, you’ll find Alex exploring new cuisines in the kitchen and avidly tracking down severe weather. Alex actively coaches and judges for his middle school team throughout the year and can’t wait to teach this summer!
Evelyn Huang (UPenn Wharton ‘26)
Evelyn Huang is a freshman at the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business where she is concentrating in business economics and public policy. During her time in high school debate, she was president of the speech and debate team at Louis D. Brandeis High School in Texas, where she placed 4th at NSDA Nationals in the House, 7th at NIETOC, and made outrounds at many national circuit tournaments across multiple events. She was a member of Team Texas in 2021-22, a squad of the 15 best debaters in the state assembled to compete internationally in World Schools Debate under the Texas Forensics Association.
Most importantly, Evelyn encourages her students to take their advocacy outside of debate rounds and believes debate can serve as a platform for self-expression just as much as it is educational. She can’t wait to coach at NCI this summer!
(UT Austin ‘27)
Amit Konda is a senior at Plano West attending the University of Texas Austin in the fall. Amit has been competing in Congress for 6 years now. During this time, he has won the University of Texas Longhorn Classic and the Florida Blue Key Invitational. He’s also placed 5th at the Texas Forensics Association State tournament and been a finalist at the Tournament of Champions.
Amit has had a lot of experience in national final rounds and local prelims alike, and he’s excited to contribute to the National Congress Institute this year! When he’s not doing Congress, Amit enjoys playing the clarinet.
Georgia Liu (Little Rock Central '23)
Georgia is a senior at Little Rock Central High School and competes in Congress and extemporaneous speaking (sometimes) and once dabbled in policy freshman year, except we don’t talk about that. Since sophomore year, Georgia has held the records for TOC bids in her home state of Arkansas and has made outround appearances at the Emory Barkley Forum, Harvard, and the final round at Glenbrooks in 2022. In total, she has made top 6 placements at 7 tournaments in her career.
Georgia fell in love with Congress because of the way it relegates our differences and provides the platform for people to speak up and feel empowered, and hopes to extend that sentiment to the students at Youth Voices!
When she is not debating, Georgia likes reading romance novels like the hopeless romantic she is, baking banana bread, and running 9-minute miles. She is super excited to meet everyone!
Joshua Hansen (HaRVARD '25)
Joshua Hansen is an undergraduate at Harvard University, where he studies Philosophy and Classics. As a High School debater, he was captain of the Jackson Hole High School team in Wyoming. He graduated as the NSDA’s top point getter in the United States in the class of 2021, and was the Tournament of Champions’ National Champion Presiding Officer in 2021. He was also the Wyoming State Congressional Debate Champion in 2020. Joshua also found success in Public Forum, Impromptu Speaking, Big Questions Debate, and Duet Interpretation.
Since graduating, Joshua has stayed involved in Speech and Debate by judging tournaments, and by coaching online and for his former team. He also competed for and qualified to nationals with the Harvard Undergraduate Ethics Bowl team.
Outside of debate, Joshua enjoys singing with various choral programs, listening to way too many podcasts, and spending time with his family. He can’t wait to meet this year’s cohort of National Congress Institute students!
SarayU CHEEMALAPATI (U of Pittsburgh '27)
Sarayu is a senior at CR North High School in Pennsylvania, where she’s been competing in Congressional Debate for 5 years and will be debating at the University of Pittsburgh this fall. Some of her accomplishments include placing 2nd at Florida Blue Key, 4th at NCFL Nationals, 4th at Princeton, 7th at the Harvard and Florida Blue Key Round Robins, 7th at UPenn Tournament, and was a semi finalist at numerous tournaments including Harvard, Yale, Emory, NSDA Nationals, and the Tournament of Champions. She has accumulated a total of 20 bids to the Tournament of Champions and was the 2022-23 season bid leader with 13 bids. Outside of debate, Sarayu loves trying new foods, hanging out with friends, going to the beach, and playing video games. She is so excited to coach this summer!
Kenneth Kalu (Brown '27)
Kenneth is an incoming Freshman at Brown University studying Public Health and Statistics. As a Congressional Debater, he was Captain and Assistant Coach of the Pflugerville High School Debate Team, where he was a two-time National Finalist, including a 4th-place finish in 2023. His other Congressional Debate Achievements include bid finishes at UT, Harvard, Churchill, and other national circuit tournaments.
Kenneth has also led debate teams outside of main-circuit congress, placing third in the HOSA International Biomedical Debate competition and qualifying for internationals twice.
Outside of round, he can be found listening to obscure EDM, reading history books, and playing basketball (poorly). Kenneth has spent many after-school hours coaching students in speaking and argument, and is excited to teach this summer.