Director of Programs

Dr. Sonny Patel is the Director of Programs at Chicago Debates. Sonny works in collaboration with his team to increase the reach of competitive debate and debate pedagogy to Chicago Public Schools. Sonny is passionate about the transformative power of debate. By helping students find their voice, Sonny has seen debate become a toolset for personal growth, academic honor, civic engagement, and leadership. He stands behind the intergenerational collaborative tradition of the debate community as nourishment to childens’ social well being.

Sonny brings nearly two decades of instructional and competitive experience. Sonny has taught at the Harvard Debate Council. He was the Head Coach at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools’ Policy debate program as well as a Public Form Coach at William Fremd High School. Sonny was a Craig A. Baird debater at the University of Iowa, and a former high school Policy debater at Maine East in Park Ridge, IL. Sonny has coached several teams to the Tournament of Champions and State Championships in Policy and Public Forum Debate, respectively.

Sonny received his Medical Doctorate at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine, where he served the city’s diverse 77 neighborhoods. As a recipient of the Arnor P. Gold Humanism Society Award, he continues to demonstrate a lifelong commitment to serving the underserved. In addition to being a physician, Sonny is also a classically trained Hindustani musician.