I joined the debate team at Corliss High School (’04) at the beginning of my sophomore year. In my naiveté, I just wanted to be right! I soon learned that being right is not the point in debate. Instead, the point is to present an argument that is well supported, researched and articulated. As a debater, I learned that is not about what you say, but rather how you support what you say.
During my first year of debate, I did not win a speaker award or any tournaments. However, I persisted. I committed to working hard to achieve success in debate; I listened critically to the feedback from judges, revised my arguments and practiced tirelessly to improve. Under the tutelage of my coach Robert Pincham, I was challenged to move outside my comfort zone and pushed to realize my potential. The success I desired came into fruition at the beginning of my second year of debate when I was awarded the top speaker in my division. I competed in finalist rounds throughout the remainder of my participation.
After high school, I attained a B.A. in Communication at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (’08) and J.D. from the University of Wisconsin Law School (’11). Today, as a defense attorney I must zealously advocate on behalf of my clients, research complex legal issues and present compelling support for representations made to the court. The skills I employ as an attorney I first learned as a debater. Debate changed my life. Debate gave me the confidence to speak in any forum, the analytic savvy to anticipate and address my opponents’ arguments and the inspiration to pursue my dream of a legal career.