Who is Joel?
Joel is an NCFCA alumnus and veteran coach with six years of experience mentoring high school and collegiate debaters. After completing his philosophy degree with highest honors, he works as assistant coach in the communication department at Wheaton College (his alma mater), where he serves both the debate team and a course on argumentation theory.
In NCFCA, Joel competed in LD, limited preps, and more interps than he’d like to admit. He pivoted to mock trial in college, captaining Wheaton’s nationally ranked team his sophomore year.
After satiating his interp craving in mock trial, he concluded his forensics career in moot court and British parliamentary debate, the latter of which provided the highlight of his college experience—traveling to Bangkok for the 2020 World University Debating Championship.
Joel has coached over five hundred students through individual sessions, clubs, school programs, seminars, and camps. He’s also written extensively for various sourcebooks (including Ethos!) and served as a consultant for NCFCA’s Value Debate Committee.
In his free time, Joel reads (and covets your book recommendations!), hangs out with friends, and frantically finalizes his graduate school applications. He’s always pursuing some harebrained project, like training for the US Memory Championship. He’s also an unapologetic Star Wars fan.
Joel can’t wait to immerse you in the big ideas of philosophy, politics, and economics—he views his ultimate objective as equipping and inspiring students to think deeply. His pedagogical approach revolves around the following three principles:
(1) Substance. In LD, it’s easy to enjoy success as a demagogue—exploiting emotional appeals, charisma, Founding Fathers quotations, and grandiose rhetoric to win ballots without offering substantive argumentation. Joel fundamentally emphasizes robust reasoning—ensuring your cases are philosophically coherent while maintaining accessibility and mass appeal.
(2) Independence. Joel strives to coach you how to coach yourself—developing the capacity for diagnosing your shortcomings and prescribing solutions.
(3) Character. Debate is not merely about the success one achieves, but the person one becomes. Trophies and titles dissipate, but character, skills, and legacy remain.
As a debater, Joel advanced to finals at seven British parliamentary tournaments—including the Pan Pacific Debating Championship—and won four championship titles. As a result, he was named Outstanding Debater of the Year by the Midwest Debate Association in 2019. 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. The following season, their brief won second place at 2020 AMCA Nationals. For mock trial, Joel has won two tournaments and was Wheaton’s top prosecuting attorney at both the AMTA Opening Round Championship Series and National Championship in 2018. In high school, he prequalified to NCFCA Nationals in multiple speeches, advanced to LD semifinals at two NCFCA National Opens, and ranked in the top twenty-five LD debaters at NCFCA Nationals.
As a coach, Joel has helped myriad competitors actualize their personal goals—whether that’s winning your first round or your first tournament. He’s coached numerous students to elimination rounds at Nationals, three of whom secured championship titles. He considers learning alongside and forging friendships with students his greatest blessing.