PETER POBER (Professor of Communication, Director of Forensics and Distinguished Service Professor) is proud to continue the legacy of GMU forensics started in 1971 by Margaret Duffner and propelled by Bruce Manchester and Sheryl Friedley. Entering his 40th year in the forensic arts, Peter has been privileged to coach more than 50 individual and team national champions at both the high school and college levels. He has been awarded the Texas Intercollegiate Forensic Association Coach of the Year, the Texas Speech Communication Educator of the Year, the American Forensic Association District III Distinguished Service Award, the L.E. Norton Forensic Educator Award, the AFA-NIET National Distinguished Service Award, and the American Forensic Association National Distinguished Service Award. He is the National Chair of the American Forensic Association National Individual Events Tournament. Just this past June, Peter became the first college coach in 25 years to be inducted into the National Speech and Debate Association's Hall of Fame. His students mean the world to him and he is honored to call so many of them across the world his dear friends.
JEREMY HODGSON (Assistant Director of Forensics) is humbled to be a part of the George Mason family as the Assistant Director of Forensics for his 6th year. Jeremy was recognized in 2011 as GMU’s Basic Course Instructor of the Year in Communication, the Center for Teaching and Faculty Excellence "Teacher of Distinction" 2014, and recipient of the Mason ACCESS program Faculty Excellence Award 2014. He received his Bachelor’s degree in Education at The University of Akron, OH and completed his Master’s degree at George Mason University in Communication. Jeremy feels so honored to be back and is looking forward to a 16th year of coaching and wonderful semester.
LANDRY AYRES is a first year M.A. student in Communication at GMU. After competing for Mason’s Forensics Team for four years, he is very excited to be back in Fairfax, coaching the team that has become his second family. Originally from Texas, Landry enjoys eating guacamole, wearing sweatpants, and reading short fiction. When he isn’t being a scholar, he can be found coaching his students in Dramatic and Prose Interpretation! He’s very excited for the upcoming year and all the wonderful adventure that awaits. GMU! You know!
JOSEPH DINEEN earned his Bachelor's degree in International Relations from Saint Joseph's University. While studying for his Master's degree in Political Science at George Mason University (which he received in 2014), he spent two years working with the team. After a very long year away, Joe has been welcomed back by his colleagues. He will be coaching Extemp and Communication Analysis this year, and he is immensely privileged to be working and learning here once more.
ANDREW EILOLA is a second-year PhD student from Minnesota where he received his Bachelor's Degree in 2012 from Concordia College in Communication and Sociology. This is his fourth year coaching at GMU and he could not be more excited for the upcoming season! He is pursuing his PhD in Health Communication and will be coaching Persuasion and ADS this year.
CLAY GARRETT is a first-year grad student earning his MA in Communication. He received his Bachelor's at Texas State University, and now coaches Informative and Communication Analysis at Mason! He is so thrilled to be a part of the family, and extremely excited to see where the year takes everyone.
DEION HAWKINS comes to George Mason from Indianapolis, Indiana. He is a first year doctoral student studying health communication with a concentration in interpersonal HIV communication. He completed his BA at The Ohio State University in 2012 where he was the Vice President and Debate Captain of Ohio State's student run forensics team. Additionally, he completed his MA at Marshall University. Deion is thrilled to be coaching Prose and Duo this year and is humbled by the opportunity to work with such an amazing program.
IAN HOPKINS is starting is PhD in Communication Studies at George Mason, and could not be more excited to join the legacy! After 15 years in the activity, Ian finally feels at home here at Mason. In his free time Ian can be found out on the water kayaking, in the kitchen trying new recipes, or playing Mario Kart! He cannot wait to see what this year brings, and is thrilled to be here.
Born in Punjab, India, JASJOT "AVI" JAGGI is extremely grateful for the home he found at George Mason University. Pursuing a bachelor of arts in government and international affairs, with a minor in global affairs, Avi had the opportunity to research and report on a myriad of domestic and international conflicts, with topics ranging from LGBTQ youth homelessness to women’s rights in the Middle East. Having competed on the GMU forensics team all four years, he could not be more excited to come back and coach. When he's not in sessions, Avi can be found breaking it down on the dance floor! GMU! You know.
This is GEORGE KUEPPERS' first year on the team and first year in the Master of Arts Program in Communication. He graduated from Concordia College in Moorhead, MN in 2015 with a BA in Political Science and Global Studies He is from Spicer, Minnesota. He is coaching After Dinner Speaking and Poetry Interpretation. His favorite TV shows include Breaking Bad, House of Cards and Game of Thrones. He likes sports, music and current events. He is an avid dog lover and sarcasm is his first language.
JON TYREE is a former GMU competitor turned coach. After graduating in 2014, he took a year off from forensics, but is very excited to be returning to the team. When not coaching, you can find Jon working hard in Alexandria with the Association of Consulting Foresters or whipping up something crazy in the kitchen for his awesome roommate Genevieve!
NAME: Sam Abney (Co-Captain)
HOMETOWN: Phoenix, AZ
FAVORITE EVENTS: ADS, POI, Pers
Sam Abney is thrilled to be entering his fourth year on the GMU team! Hailing from the very warm state of Arizona, he is proud to call the team his new (and quite lovely) home. He likes wearing suits. That's a plus for him being here. He does not know how to write bios about himself. But trust him, he could not be happier to be here in beautiful (yet sometimes obscenely humid) Fairfax, Virginia.
NAME: Emma Bleker (Co-Captain)
HOMETOWN: Austin, TX
FAVORITE EVENTS: DI, Prose, Duo
Emma Bleker is an incoming Junior and Co-Captain who is absolutely thrilled to be able to be a part of the Mason family for another year. Emma likes most things, but has a very particular place in her heart for brussels sprouts and moody poetry readings. On any given day, you can find her wherever she is, doing things that she likes to do. One of those things is talking, hence the Speech team deal. She is ecstatic to be able to call Mason home and be surrounded by this beautiful family!
NAME: Nathan Leys (LP Captain)
MAJOR: Government and International Politics
HOMETOWN: Des Moines, IA
FAVORITE EVENTS: Extemp, INFO, PERF
I have seen every West Wing episode. Twice.
NAME: Mernine Ameris (Librarian/Webmistress)
MAJOR: Integrative Studies with a concentration in Legal Studies
FAVORITE EVENTS: Poetry, Duo, ADS
Mernine Ameris is a freshman, entering her first year on the Mason Team. When she was in high school that one time, she competed mainly in HI and improv before stumbling into the world of DI and loving it. She thinks being part of the Mason team is awesome because everyone is cool and beautiful and she's grateful. When she isn't doing forensics, she loves and enjoys drinking smoothies, steak quesadillas, competitive badminton, Empire, and a lot of cartoons. Her life goal is to star in a Legally Blonde remake,appropriately retitled "Legally Black" with Drake playing her love interest.
NAME: Meagan Ashner (Historian)
HOMETOWN: Montgomery, AL
FAVORITE EVENTS: ADS, PERS
Meagan Ashner is overjoyed to begin her second year on the GMU Forensics Team. She is a Communication major which seems pretty relevant. She comes from the Deep South of Alabama and enjoys sweet tea and anything else stereotypically Southern. She aspires to be famous one day and go by the name of Nicole Ashbourne. One word to describe Meagan: Jewish.
NAME: Miles Boone
HOMETOWN: Hattiesburg, MS
FAVORITE EVENTS: POE, Duo, POI
Miles Boone is a senior on the Mason forensics team. When asked why he enjoys competing, Miles wistfully replied "I enjoy...stories." Ask Miles how to get involved because he is aassociated with the GMU Fashion Society, Patriot Leaders, the Black Student Alliance, Annointed Vessels of Unity, and ETC outside out forensics. He, Mernine Ameris, and Nia Clark are scheduled to debut as a Destiny's Child cover band on the premiere of Love and Hip Hop: Fairfax this fall. He will also be making his debut perfomance in the off-Broadway revival of The Wiz: the Untold Story of the Wizard. Thank you all for reading, stay tuned, and he is overjoyed to complete his forensics career with the George Mason forensics team.
NAME: Natalia Castro
MAJOR:Intergrative Studies with a concentration in International Studies/Education
HOMETOWN: Jupiter, FL
FAVORITE EVENTS: EXT, ADS
Natalia is beginning her first year at Mason as a sophomore and an Integrative Studies major with a duel concentration in International Studies and Education. She loves practicing speeches in front of her majestic pet ferret and memorizing lyrics to various country songs. I cant wait for the opportunity to learn and grow with the amazing Mason Speech Team this year and for years to come!
NAME: Nia Clark
MAJOR: International Business
HOMETOWN: Chicago, IL
FAVORITE EVENTS: Duo, POE
Nia Clark is a freshman at George Mason and is excited to be part of the team. She is from Indiana. She's been doing forensics for 2 years and can't wait to keep things going. When she's not doing forensics, you can find her at your local novelty burger restaurant. She teaches dance classes, boxes, eats burgers while watching Scandal. She, Mernine Ameris, and Miles Boone are scheduled to debut as a Destiny's Child cover band on Love and Hip Hop: Fairfax this fall. As you can tell, she is ready for the season and ready for this family.
NAME: John Henry
HOMETOWN: Bensalem, PA
FAVORITE EVENTS: PERS, DI
John Henry is a freshman majoring in History. He comes from Bensalem, PA where he competed for Holy Ghost Prep Forensics. He can't be more excited to compete his first year in college with Mason! John is an Eagle Scout (always be prepared) and loves The Walking Dead, Bryan Cranston, and Philly cheesesteaks (which are in short supply in Fairfax).
NAME: Allen Hester
MAJOR: Global Studies
HOMETOWN: Cheyenne, WY
FAVORITE EVENTS: POI, ADS
From Wyoming. Global Studies major with a focus on global inequalities. He believes that speech gives people the power to bring light to problems that are often times invisible or untouched. Outside of speech, he likes to see how much food he can eat in one sitting and playing League of Legends. His dream is to one day play League of Legends at an all-you-can-eat buffet with Bernie Sanders.
NAME: Molly Hoke
MAJOR: Communication with a minor in Film and Media Studies
HOMETOWN: Hamlin, WV
FAVORITE EVENTS: Duo, ADS, POI
Molly Hoke is a Senior who hails from the majestic hills of wild and wonderful West Virginia! She is majoring in Communication, with a minor in Film and Media Studies, and has aspirations of becoming a broadcast journalist. In her free time you'll probably find her jamming out to The Beatles, gorging on Chipotle, or watching a fantastic film. Wanna strike up a conversation? Comment on a good movie (Pulp Fiction is a good place to start). Molly is so ecstatic to end her college journey with such a wonderful family. (And even more ecstatic that she's used the same bio for four years :D)
NAME: Aleks Jaunzemis
MAJOR: Public Relations
HOMETOWN: Baltimore, MD
FAVORITE EVNTS: DI, Poe, Duo
Originally from Baltimore, Aleks is pumped to be rejoining The Legacy for his sophomore year at Mason and sixth year of speech. He is currently studying public relations with plans to minor in criminology and law. His favorite speech events are Dramatic Interpretation, Poetry, and Duo Interpretation. When he's not working on any of those events, chances are you'll find Aleks in the gym, listening to music, or in a Starbucks fueling his caffeine addiction.
NAME: Aditya "AK" Komanduri
MAJOR: Government and International Politics
HOMETOWN: Sterling, VA
FAVORITE EVENTS: ADS, IMP, PERS, Extemp
AK is excited to be back for his senior year. He knows the team is in for a great year ahead. His hobbies include playing basketball, Netflix binge watching shows he's late on, and in general, sleeping.
NAME: Katie Lai
MAJOR: Communication with an Interpersonal/Organizational Concentration
HOMETOWN: Pleasanton, CA
FAVORITE EVENTS: INFO, ADS
Katie is absolutely thrilled (and blessed!) to be a member of the George Mason family, joining the team after competing for two years in collegiate forensics in California. This year she hopes to learn from all of the amazing individuals on the team, as well as deepen her interest in Interp - dabbling in Prose and perhaps POI. When she's not thinking, speaking, or dreaming about forensics, Katie enjoys traveling (talk to her anytime about Berlin, Paris, or Venice!), doing yoga, baking butterscotch blondies, delicious treats, reading pretentious works of fiction, obsessing over Doctor Who, watching live theater, going on hikes, shopping for new shoes, and laughing so hard that her stomach starts to hurt!
NAME: Clayton Lenig
HOMETOWN: Plymouth, IN
FAVORITE EVENTS: POI
He one day hopes to stop never knowing what to say.
NAME: Desirae Luna
MAJOR: Government and International Politics
HOMETOWN: Redlands, CA
FAVORITE EVENTS: PERS, INFO
Des is a Government & International Politics Major, Journalism and legal studies minor. She fell in love with Forensics her freshman year of high school and cannot wait to see all the brilliant pieces that will be performed from schools all over the nation. GMU! YOU KNOW!
NAME: Killian McNeely
MAJOR: Government and International Politics
HOMETOWN: Wooster, Ohio
FAVORITE EVENTS: Extemp
Killian is excited to begin his first year on the George Mason University forensics team! At Mason, Killian will be majoring in Government and International Politics with a minor or two that have yet to be decided. In his free time he enjoys drinking gourmet water, watching Netflix, and playing the saxophone!
NAME: Lucas Muratore (Co-Tournament Director)
MAJOR: Communication and Film and Video Studies
HOMETOWN: Chelmsford, MA
FAVORITE EVENTS: Duo, DI, IMP, CA
Lucas is super excited to hit the ground running in his second year on the GMU Team. He loves making films and critiquing performance and someday wants to direct big budget movies that make an impact. He loves his team, the legacy, and the new family he's made during his time at Mason.
NAME: Steven Perlamuter
MAJOR: Global Affairs
HOMETOWN: Manalapan, NJ
FAVORITE EVENTS: DI, PRO
Steven Perlamuter is super excited to start his final season of forensics on the team. He is a senior Global Affairs major at Mason and a true Jersey boy at heart. Steven deeply enjoys long walks on the beach, carrot cake, and blasting the majestic vocals of Lana Del Rey in his car.
NAME: Erin Phillips
MAJOR: Communications? For now?
HOMETOWN: Chelmsford, Massachusetts
FAVORITE EVENTS: DI, PRO and POE
Erin is a freshman originally from the beautiful Bay State. She's super excited to be joining the team this year. When she's not doing forensics, which is very rare, she enjoys eating, sleeping and dancing embarrassingly in public. She hates shoes and loves baking. She LOVES baking.
NAME: Jess Rauchberg (High School Outreach)
MAJOR: Conflict Analysis and Resolution
HOMETOWN: Randolph, NJ
FAVORITE EVENTS: CA, PERS
Jess originally hails from America’s armpit, New Jersey. Win her over with spontaneous real talk and an appreciation for spatial trialectics. As the team’s lone Conflict Analysis major, Jess aspires to one day receive her doctorate in critical pedagogy. But for now, speech is a pretty cool thing. She loves Yiddishkeit, NPR, and anything Lilly Pulitzer. Outside of speech, Jess enjoys tearing it up in the yoga studio, making pancakes, and attempting to exist as a revolutionary praxis. Mason Forensics has her heart and she can’t wait to embark on another journey with The Legacy. GMU, you know!
NAME: Parker Roth (Alumni Liason)
MAJOR: Government and International Politics with a minot in Jazz Studies
HOMETOWN: Maple Plain, MN
FAVORITE EVENTS: POI, PERS
Parker Roth is a freshman on the Mason Forensics Team. Coming to GMU, Parker quickly found a family with the team, and he can't wait to grow even closer with such an incredible, warm group of people. Parker also enjoys playing the saxophone, doing karate, and eating everything. He hopes to one day star in a remake of the movie "The Devil Wears Prada" as THE true Meryl Streep.
NAME: Alekhya Tallapaka
MAJOR: Government and International Politics
HOMETOWN: Rosemount, Minnesota
FAVORITE EVENTS: PERS, ADS, EXT
Alekhya is so excited to be at George Mason University for its 45th season! Originally from the frozen tundra, Alekhya is getting used to the unbelievable Virginia humidity while also majoring in government and international relations. While not doing speech, Alekhya can be found at the nearest Chipotle, reading Jane Austen novels, and obsessively tweeting about Zayn Malik. She could not be more excited about the upcoming speech season with her wonderful family.
NAME: Bailey Walker (Secretary)
HOMETOWN: Englewood, Colarado
FAVORITE EVENTS: POI, DI
Bailey Walker is a sophomore at GMU and is thrilled to be returning to Forensics team for another wonderful year. Bailey hails from Denver, Colorado and enjoys baking bread, reading, and embroidering hand towels in attempts to fulfill her lifelong dream of becoming an old lady.
NAME: Jim Welty (Co-Tournament Director)
MAJOR: Government and International Relations
HOMETOWN: Phoniex, AZ
FAVORITE EVENTS: EXT, DI
Jim is excited to begin his second year on the Mason Forensics Team. This year, he is one of two Tournament Directors and will be participating in the events of Duo Interpretation, Dramatic Interpretation, Informative Speaking, Extemporaneous Speaking, and Impromptu Speaking. Which he believes is a lot of speaking.