Jeremy Hodgson is humbled to be back with the George Mason family as the 2018-2019 Interim Director of Forensics. 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 is looking forward to the beginning of his 18th year of coaching, 12th year of teaching and 11th year of coaching GMU. Jeremy is excited to lead the patriots into their 48th season of competition and to uphold the Mason Forensics Legacy.
ANDREW EILOLA is the new Assistant Director of Forensics at GMU and could not be more excited about it! Originally from Minnesota, Andrew has been involved with forensics since 2004. He received BAs in sociology and communication from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota. He has a master’s degree in health communication from George Mason University and is currently finishing his PhD in health communication. In competition, Andrew was a national finalist in persuasive speaking and had success in a variety of other events. Since arriving at Mason in 2012 as a graduate assistant, he’s had the privilege of coaching 9 national finalists, including a national champion in persuasion. Andrew has a passion for teaching and the educational value forensics has to offer to all who are a part of it. He is grateful to have found such a welcoming and positive environment at GMU and hopes to continue the legacy that started long before him.
The job of a coach is to teach students to see vitality in themselves"
Jon Tyree is a former GMU competitor turned coach. Jon grew up in a forensics family and attended his first tournament when he was 1 month old. When not coaching, he uses the skills he learned from forensics at the National Alliance of Forest Owners, a forest advocacy group in Washington D.C.
pRO & poi coach
Karin is riled up for her second year as a coach at George Mason! After graduating with a Bachelors degree from Gustavus Adolphus College in Minnesota in 2015 and a Masters degree in Communication Studies at the University of Alabama in 2017, she headed straight to Virginia to pursue a PhD. She’s currently researching domestic violence through a health communication lens as well as student mindset and engagement. When she’s not in class or teaching it, Karin loves coaching her two all time favorite events: POI and Prose.
Zack is ecstatic to be rejoining his Mason family as a coach this season. As a Massachusetts native, Zack is a Boston boy at heart - but has now been in the VA/DC area for nearly 7 years! In college, Zack competed in final rounds at Norton, HFO, and AFA-NIET where he finished 3rd in prose and 5th in DI. What he hopes to offer his students is a creative imagination and an ability to inspire and motivate.
Victoria Ledford LOVES coaching the GMU Speech Team. She’s been in forensics for a while now, going on year 11. Victoria enjoyed competing and coaching at her alma mater Marshall University. At GMU, she presently coaches Impromptu and Communication Analysis. She also loves public address so much that she’s happy to be one of two Genre Coordinators for all public-address events. Victoria loves all speaking events and believes that each serves a unique and important educational purpose. When she’s not coaching GMU speech team students, you can find her working on her PhD in Health Communication at neighboring school University of Maryland, doing artsy and crafty things on the rare occasion she has free time, and lifting weights every morning she has the chance.
CA & POE COACH
George Kueppers is a Graduate Assistant coach entering his 4th year on staff at George Mason University, where he also completed his Master of Arts degree in Communication in 2017 and is currently pursuing his Ph.D in Communication. George hails from Minnesota where he competed in forensics starting as a 7th grader in the event Storytelling. George completed Bachelor of Arts degrees in Political Science and Global Studies at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota where he continued competing in forensics and also coached the Speech Team at Moorhead High School. George has had the privilege of working with six national finalists and one national champion across three different events during his first three years as a college coach, and he believes forensics is a powerful tool for growth and learning. Upon finishing his doctorate degree, George hopes to continue coaching and teaching as a Forensics Director and Professor of Communication, so that he can continue giving back to the activity he loves.
ext & pers coach
Alekhya is so excited to be coaching at George Mason University for its 48th season! Originally from the frozen tundra (aka Minnesota), Alekhya is majoring in Global Affairs while concentrating on International Development, with a minor in Gender and Women Studies. While not doing speech, Alekhya can be found making tofu, reading novels about the Indian-American diaspora, and obsessively tweeting to world leaders. Alekhya is also a content writer at a digital grassroots technology company, where she can use skills she learned from speech in the real world. She could not be more excited about the upcoming year with her wonderful family!
DI & ADS COACH
Lane is beyond proud to be joining the George Mason family this year! Coming from California State University, Los Angeles, where she received her B.A. and M.A. in Communication Studies, Lane made her return to the east coast to earn her PhD in Strategic Communication. As a scholar, Lane’s primary research is based in business communication, public relations, and media activism. For the team, Lane is lucky to coach her two favorite events: DI and ADS!
XAVIER D. CLARK
Xavier D. Clark comes to George Mason from Austin, Texas. He is a first year PhD student in Health and Strategic Communication. He completed his BA in Political Communication at The University of Texas at Austin in 2016 where he was the officer of Texas Speech Team and Coach. He is coaching Program Oral Interpretation. His favorite celebrities shows include: Beyonce, Oprah, Michelle Obama, and Blue Ivy. He loves fashion, slick shade, art, and church. He loves fashion and encouraging people to be his best. He is stoked for this year’s ability to be fabulous!
Kate Polit is thrilled to rejoin the Mason forensics team. After getting her undergraduate and masters degree from Mason, she took a few years off to the cheer the team on from the sidelines. This year she gets to return to her first love, Limited Prep. She will be one of LP’s genre coordinators and will be co-coaching Impromptu. When not coaching speech, Kate is a government technology reporter — feel free to ask her all of your questions about cloud, data centers, and IT modernization. She is based in Chicago, and enjoys Skype coaching, going to the dog park, and spending time with her forensics family. When Kate grows up she wants to be Chrissy Tiegen.
Sam graduated from George Mason University in 2016 with a Bachelor's in Communication. During his tenure on the GMU team, he competed in almost every event (except poetry) and was a top 10 Individual Sweepstakes speaker at the 2006 AFA-NIET. Since graduating, he has dedicated his time to strengthening the Washington, D.C. non-profit theater scene. In addition to coaching for Mason, Sam is currently the Membership Coordinator at Arena Stage and a theater critic for BroadwayWorld.
NAME: Parker Roth
MAJOR: Political Communication
HOMETOWN: Maple Plain, MN
FAVORITE EVENTS: DI, POE
Parker is gagged for his fourth year with Mason Forensics! A creative Gemini from small town MInnesota, he’s committed to creating the best space he can for his forensics family, and he’s so proud to lead a group of such incredible people. Outside of speech, Parker enjoys smiling, tattoos, unironic 90s fashion, and Kathy Bates’ performance as the Butcher in “American Horror Story: Roanoke”. Find him at tournaments for a hug and a giggle!
NAME: Mernine Ameris
MAJOR: Public Administration
HOMETOWN: Roselle, NJ
FAVORITE EVENTS: DUO, PRO
Mernine Ameris is a senior & captain studying Public Administration at George Mason University. She is originally from the best state in the world, the Garden State. She competed for Freehold Township High School and her favorite high school tournament was Yale, because it was always on her birthday. She loves speech a lot. She also loves other things like tiny&big dogs, chicken nuggets, good pens, slam poetry, Haitian beef patties, and Stranger Things. But speech is her first love. She's so excited to see what this year & the 48th season of #TheLegacy will bring!
NAME: John Henry
HOMETOWN: Bensalem, PA
FAVORITE EVENTS: PERS, IMP
John Henry is a junior studying History and Legal Studies. He comes from Bensalem, PA where he competed for Holy Ghost Prep Forensics. He can't be more excited to compete in his third year in college with Mason! In addition to being an Eagle Scout, John loves Wawa, Philly cheesesteaks, and cracking open a cold one with the boys.
NAME: Chloe Zatorski
MAJOR: BA English
HOMETOWN: Munster, IN
FAVORITE EVENTS: DI, DUO
Chloe is a rising junior at GMU who couldn’t be more thrilled to start another season with her speech family! When she isn’t doing speech things, Chloe is probably re-reading Perks of Being a Wallflower for the 14th time, pretending she can paint, or listening to angst-filled pop punk music. Chloe feels overwhelmingly lucky to be part of the amazing speech community and can’t wait to start spending her weekends in suits again!
NAME: Daniel Altabet
FAVORITE EVENTS:INFO, ADS, DUO
Daniel Altabet is a Junior at Mason and cannot wait for another year with his GMU 4N6 fam. When Daniel isn't doing speech, he is probably cooking, eating, thinking about cooking or eating, or just watching Netflix. His personality type is INFJ. So, if you know what that means, you'll get along great. Daniel has been doing speech for 7 years now. He has always cherished the ability of this activity to foster both self-awareness and self-advocacy. Daniel could not be more thrilled to get back to performing alongside his best friends and teammates this year!
NAME: Lauren "loco" Cocroft
MAJOR: Communications Media Production and Criticism
HOMETOWN: Costa Mesa, CA
FAVORITE EVENTS: ADS, PRO, Reader's Theatre (lol)
Lauren is so thrilled to be a member of the George Mason family for it's 48th season! She just traveled all the way from California to experience weather for the first time and hopes to one day live on her friends' couches and be a professional comedian. When she isn't competing she's catching up on homework and sleep, but once she finishes that you can catch her painting, watching Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, or tweeting to fill the void of existential dread!
NAME: David Marques
MAJOR: Government & International Politics
HOMETOWN: Elizabeth, NJ
FAVORITE EVENTS: POI, POE
David is super excited to join the legacy! After competing on the college circuit for year, he made the decision to join his new family and he could not be more excited. He enjoys Parks and Rec, reading the news and being a Facebook mom.
NAME: Angelina Mitchell
MAJOR: Communications Media Production and Criticism
HOMETOWN: Bronx, New York
FAVORITE EVENTS: POI, ADS
Angelina is so excited to be at George Mason University for its 48th season! She is a Junior studying Communications Media Production and Criticism. She transferred from Tallahassee Community College this school year and couldn’t be more excited to compete for her first year on Mason’s team! Angelina thoroughly enjoys playing guitar, singing and fighting the patriarchy. In addition to her passion for speech, she loves pina coladas and getting caught in the rain.
NAME: Danny Drane
MAJOR: Government & International Politics
HOMETOWN: Des Moines, IA
FAVORITE EVENTS: EXT
After growing up in the urban cornfield known as Des Moines, Iowa, Danny Drane found a home at GMU. He's currently a junior majoring in Government and International Politics, with minors in Data Analysis and International Security. If it weren't for Speech and Debate (and Twitter), he wouldn't know what he'd be doing with his life. Honestly. That's the tea. He couldn't be more excited to share his third year with The Legacy.
NAME: Tom Murabito
HOMETOWN: Erie, PA
FAVORITE EVENTS: ADS, PRO
Tom is thrilled to return to Fairfax and leave the tundra of his hometown, Erie, Pennsylvania He is so so so excited to be back competing this year! When he is not doing speech you can find Tom doing his homework, walking around the block, or calling his mom. Tom loves his car Little Red and his big Jim.
NAME: Kendyl Kowalski
(Public Relations Coordinator)
MAJOR: Public Relations
HOMETOWN: Morristown, TN
FAVORITE EVENTS: POI, DI, PRO
Kendyl is thrilled to be back with her family on the Mason team. In the small amount of time that she isn’t obsessing over speech you could find her watching the Addams family, reading horoscopes, or planing her halloween costume no matter the time of year. Kendyl cannot wait to get back into a suit and performing with her family! #YouKnow
NAME: Nick Steinmetz
MAJOR: Government & International Politics
HOMETOWN: Fort Lauderdale, FL
FAVORITE EVENTS: PERS, ADS
Nick is super excited to start his first year on the team! He comes from Fort Lauderdale, FL where he competed for Saint Thomas Aquinas HS (Go Raiders!). When Nick isn't speeching, he’s probably watching Rupaul’s Drag Race or every version of the Real Housewives. A true floridian at heart, Nick loves the beach, boating and the Gators. He is also thrilled to spend another year in Virginia, a state that will still exist in 30 years.
NAME: Jacob Thompson
MAJOR: Government and International politics and Conflict Analysis and Resolution
HOMETOWN: Des Moines, IA
FAVORITE EVENTS: EXT, IMP
Jacob is entering his sophomore year at GMU where he is continuing to study International Security issues in multiple majors. While he does various PA’s his favorite events will always be the LP’s. Outside speech you will find him arguing about Iowa vs. Iowa state with Danny and watching the west wing.
NAME: Haleigh McGirt
MAJOR: Psychology | Minor in Women and Gender StudiesHOMETOWN: Jupiter, FL
FAVORITE EVENTS: POE, POI
Haleigh is starting her sophomore year here at George Mason University, and she is thrilled to be back for her second year on Mason Forensics! Haleigh is glad to have moved away from the heat and humidity of her hometown in South Florida and finally to a place with seasons. Outside of speech, she is really into poetry, poetry, and more poetry. Haleigh cannot wait for the 48th season of the Legacy!
NAME: Drake Mason Leach
MAJOR: Musical Theater
HOMETOWN: Colleyville, Texas
FAVORITE EVENTS: Duo, DI, ADS
Drake is ecstatic to the join the team this year! He hails from Texas: Yee-Haw boys. He is a musical theater major who sings way too loud way too often and will be doing his darndest to make it onto Broadway one day. He enjoys cherry-flavored gummy straws, the green canned Pringles, and writing about himself in the third person. Oh, and the Dark Knight. That movie is his very favorite, don't talk to him about that if you don't want an hour of your time wasted.
NAME: Natalie Cumming
MAJOR: Performance with a Concentration on Musical Theatre
HOMETOWN: Orono, MN
FAVORITE EVENT: POE
Natalie Cumming is so so happy to do what she loves everyday with her favorite people. She's incredibly friendly like a golden retriever but also can be really aggressive like a golden retriever. She has a dog who is the light of her life (Eddie). She also is an ambitious rockstar and cannot be stopped. Her favorite things include, videos of people answering questions wrongly, Broadway musicals, meditation, Chris Fleming, stage fails, talking about herself, Tom Murabito, soup, potatoes, and the sunrise.
NAME: Hailey Rastrelli
MAJOR: Global Affairs
HOMETOWN: Palm City, FL
FAVORITE EVENT: POE, POI
Hailey Rastrelli (or Pastrami) is a rising freshman on the Mason team. She is absolutely ecstatic to leave the heat of Florida and experience seasons... like the rest of the country. When Hailey is not obsessing over speech (which is pretty much never) you’ll probably catch her having heated but logical... political and philosophical debates, talking about GMU or to her mom, reading a book (she’ll probably never finish), binge watching 5 different shows, reading her horoscope, and giving someone a makeover; all at the same time. Oh, and, she absolutely cannot wait to be apart of the legacy!
NAME: Abby Hawkins
MAJOR: Global Affairs + Arabic
HOMETOWN: Rutland, VT
FAVORITE EVENTS: EXT, INFO
Abby is a freshman from Vermont which no, unfortunately, is not a part of Canada. In between procrastinating all things higher education, Abby can be found in a museum, petting cats, struggling to speak Catalan (sorry Pont fam), or pretending that 3 years of playing high school football taught her how to throw one properly.
NAME: Izzie Larson
MAJOR: Theater | Dance Minor
HOMETOWN: Moorhead MN
FAVORITE EVENTS: POI Poetry Duo
Izzie is SUPER DUPER PUMPED to be a Patriot! Originally from Moorhead MN (dontcha know), Izzie competed for four years in high school, but wasn’t ready to hang up her suits following graduation. When she’s not working on speech, you can find her thrift shopping, dancing, longboarding, belting showtunes in the shower, watching movies or shows where kids cook, writing poetry and vlogging. GMU YOUKNOWWWW.
NAME: Christy Caudle
MAJOR: Global Affairs
HOMETOWN: Austin, TX
FAVORITE EVENTS: DI, Duo
Christy Caudle is a rising freshman on the team from the yeehaw state of Texas. After four years of competition, Christy is extremely excited to begin her collegiate speech career at Mason! When she isn’t doing speech, she quoting Disney movies or Drake and Josh and sleeping. Christy is looking forward to getting to know her new family and experiencing all that this season has to offer!
NAME: Seth Ellsworth
HOMETOWN: Dandridge, TN
FAVORITE EVENTS: DI, POI
Seth is ecstatic to start his first year competing with the Mason Forensics team! Coming from the small town Dandridge, Tennessee, Seth can’t wait to see a change of pace and a lack of tractors on the road. When he isn’t working on forensics, Seth likes making fun of himself, drawing Britney Spears, being boo boo the fool, and participating in Aries culture. Seth is overjoyed to start his first year with the Mason Family!
NAME: Sarah Sylvan
HOMETOWN: Needham, MA
FAVORITE EVENTS: CA, PRO
Sarah is thrilled to begin her freshman year on the GMU Forensics Team. When she isn’t doing speech you can find Sarah at the on-campus Panera Bread, watching Netflix when she should be studying or video chatting her puppy back home. Sarah cannot wait to be a part of the teams 48th season!