Who is Joel?
Joel is an NCFCA alumnus with six years of forensics experience and four years of coaching experience. This December, he’ll graduate from Wheaton College with a degree in philosophy with the intent to apply to dual JD/PhD programs after his post-graduation gap year. At school, you’ll find him assiduously grading papers at the philosophy department front desk or shushing people in the library. In his free time—a sparse commodity—he loves hanging out with friends and family, reading, and traveling to national parks.
In NCFCA, Joel competed in LD, limited preps, and more interps than he’d like to admit. Since then, he devoted two years to Wheaton’s nationally-ranked mock trial team, which he captained for a portion of his sophomore year. This past year, in addition to competing in British parliamentary debate, he nurtured Wheaton’s fledgling moot court program with a fellow NCFCA alumnus. He will be coaching Wheaton’s debate team next year.
Joel has coached over four hundred students from three different leagues (NCFCA, Stoa, and NSDA) in speech, Team Policy, Lincoln-Douglas, and parliamentary debate through private coaching, school programs, forensics clubs, and summer camps. During that time, he’s also coached at and coordinated over fifteen summer camps for several different coaching organizations and written extensively for multiple premier sourcebook companies.
Emphasizing debate as the engine for cultivating rhetorical skills, catalyzing critical thinking, and combing faith with learning, Joel predicates his coaching on the principle that debate is not merely about the success one achieves, but the person one becomes. Trophies and titles dissipate, but the character one develops, the skills one hones, and the legacy one leaves remain. Joel believes the art of argumentation ought always to be oriented toward transcendence, as an avenue for “always [being] prepared to make a defense for anyone who asks you to give a reason for the hope that you have” (1 Peter 3:15).
Additionally, Joel focuses his coaching on understanding the broader context of debate. He can’t wait to immerse you in the big ideas of politics, philosophy, and economics and is particularly passionate about communication psychology and elegant organization. Don’t worry; just because he’s a philosophy fanatic doesn’t mean you’ll be stuck in the ivory tower! In addition to learning loads of theory, you’ll drill concepts to mastery.
This past year, Joel advanced to finals at seven parliamentary tournaments—including the Pan Pacific Debating Championship—and won four championship titles. He was ranked Outstanding Debater of the Year by the Midwest Debate Association. Moreover, he and his partner qualified to AMCA Nationals in moot court and were the top seed at the Chicago Regional Championship, winning best advocate awards there. For mock trial, he’s won two tournaments was Wheaton’s top prosecuting attorney at both the AMTA Opening Round Championship Series and National Championship in 2018. He also was the grand prize winner of Wheaton’s Data Driven Debates scholarship competition. In high school, he prequalified to NCFCA Nationals in multiple speeches, advanced to LD semifinals at two NCFCA National Opens and was nationally ranked in the top twenty-five LD debaters both at NCFCA Nationals and on SpeechRanks.com.
As a coach, Joel has helped many students actualize their personal goals, whether to qualify to Nationals, win multiple tournaments, or to advance to elimination rounds for the first time. His students have won national championship titles in NCFCA in impromptu speaking and LD speaker. He considers his greatest blessing the opportunity to learn alongside and forge relationships with mentors, friends, and students.