Meet the Directors

Jessica Sun

Co-founder & CEO

Forbes 30 Under 30, Education 2019

Jessica Sun is the co-founder and CEO of Lumos Debate. Jessica serves as the overall director for all of Lumos’ summer programs, managing over a hundred instructors and ensuring high-quality experiences for over a thousand students. Jessica’s life mission is to work with world-class instructors to provide personalized learning experiences for students across the country. In 2019, Jessica was named one of Forbes' 30 Under 30 in Education.

Zeph Chang

Co-founder & Director of Education

Forbes 30 Under 30, Education 2019

As a debater, Zeph took 2nd place at the Columbia Invitational and 3rd at the Yale Invitational, ranked as high as 1st in Massachusetts and 3rd in the nation. Zeph has years of coaching experience with the Westfield Debate Team and has created, planned, and executed educational debate curriculum for hundreds of Lumos students. His goal is to make sure Lumos’s philosophy of personalized learning for students is embodied by every class in every location. In 2019, Zeph was named one of Forbes' 30 Under 30 in Education.

Kassie Zavaliagkos

Branch Manager

Northeastern University, Finance

Kassie currently studies in the D’amore-McKim School of Business at Northeastern University. As a competitor, Kassie placed 7th in the state for Lincoln Douglas debate and won numerous speaking awards, allowing her to participate in national tournaments across the East coast. Kassie draws on experience from mentoring the younger members of her debate team and tutoring middle school students.

Kayla Chang

Branch Manager

UC Berkeley, Math

Kayla currently studies Math with a concentration in teaching at UC Berkeley. After a successful career and becoming the MA state debate champion, Kayla has coached students to success such as quarter and semi finals at Berkeley and elimination rounds at the Tournament of Champions. Kayla tutored math through high school, captained her debate team, and now at mentors at Emerson Elementary.

Maya McCollum

Branch Manager

University of Massachusetts Amherst, Economics

Maya has seen tremendous success in both Congressional and Public Forum Debate, placing 2nd in MA in PF and reaching semi-finals at the Yale and NCFL Nationals Tournament and finals at the state tournament in Congress. She has been mentoring and tutoring debate students since the beginning of high school, as well as tutoring other academic subjects. She currently studies Economics at UMass Amherst

Julianne Kelleher

Branch Manager

American University, Political Science with minor in Public Health

Julianne’s experience spans middle school, high school, and college debate. She has tutored middle schoolers for four years and trained high school novices to be national qualifiers. Her own success includes out-round finishes at tournaments like Yale and Columbia. She went on to earn a spot on American University‘s elite Mock Trial team, where she also studies Political Science with a minor in Public Health.

Lilian Wang

Branch Manager

Brandeis University, B.A in Education Studies and M.A. in Elementary Teaching

Lilian is currently finishing up her M.A. in Elementary Teaching and Massachusetts teaching license at Brandeis. This past May, she graduated magna cum laude from Brandeis University with a B.A in Education Studies, and M.A. in Elementary Teaching. Lilian has many years of experience working with children and youth, and is passionate about building up a generation of young, educated leaders.

Sam Brumer

Site Director

Wesleyan University, Government

Sam debated through high school, ranked as high as 2nd in New Jersey. His accomplishments include 10th speaker at Harvard, 8th at Princeton and 3rd place at the NSDA National Tournament. He has been teaching debate for 5 years and studies at Wesleyan University.

Christina Lai

Branch Manager

Economics with minor in Neural Science

Christina was recently accepted into New York University. As a competitor, Christina won first speaker at States and placed in the top 8 at both States and the Lexington National Tournament. She won many local circuit tournament and competed in elimination rounds at tournaments such as Princeton. Christina enhances curriculum through creative approaches, and focuses on developing younger students into leadership roles.

Meet Our Instructors

Gil Alon
Brown University, Computer Science

Gil was the MA state champion, won the Columbia tournament, and was an octafinalist at Harvard. She currently studies at Brown University.

Thomas Benson
University of Chicago, Philosophy

Thomas won Villiger’s Tournament and reached semifinals at Yale. He studies philosophy at the University of Chicago.

Sabrina Raouf
Stanford University

Sabrina semi-finaled in Congressional Debate at University of Pennsylvania, Blue Key, and Glenbrooks. She currently attends Stanford University.

Ben Xiang
Cornell University, Double Degree in Computer Science and Economics

Ben was 3rd in NJ at Public Forum and a national debate finalist. He also finished top 16 in International Policy Debate. He currently attends Cornell University.

Grace Bristol
University of Michigan, Public Policy

Grace worked at the State Department and the United Nations and has extensive experience debating policy in both classrooms and real-world settings. She studies at University of Michigan.

Julia Udell
Columbia University, History

Julia was the captain of her debate team. She ranked 21st in the nation in Public Forum. She currently attends Columbia University.

Gaby Lewis
Tufts, Political Science

Gaby was captain of the Newton South debate team. She was the MA State Champion in 2018, and reached elimination rounds at Columbia and Yale. She will attend Tufts University this fall.

Zoe Posner
Yale University, Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology

Zoe won 2nd place at Sunvitational and 1st speaker at Princeton. She was the VP of the largest debate team in the US. She currently attends Yale University.

Venuri De Silva
Northeastern University, Cell and Molecular Biology

Venuri was top 4 at Lakeland’s National Tournament and started the middle school debate program in Lexington, MA. She currently attends Northeastern University.

Jerry Wu
Cornell University, Political Science

Jerry was top five in debate in MA, reaching octofinals at Princeton and going undefeated at Harvard. He currently attends Cornell University.

Suning Wang
Babson College, Finance

Suning has multiple state and regional titles and has coached students to national titles. She currently attends Babson College.

Simone Lassar
MIT, Engineering

Simone has worked at various types of camps and peer tutored for the last three years. She studies engineering at MIT.

Ben Harris
Northeastern University, Communication Studies

Ben was a finalist at MA States, also coaching the state champions in multiple reading. He currently studies at Northeastern University.

Camille Furst
The College of New Jersey, Double Degree in Writing and Religion

Camille was the NJ District Champion in Program Oral Interp as well as 3rd at States in Humorous Interp. She currently attends The College of New Jersey.

Ashika Jalagam
University of Chicago, Economics

Ashika has reached finals at Yale, 4th at Princeton, and has been ranked as 10th in the nation in Congressional Debate. She currently studies at the University of Chicago.

Lucy Wei
University of Texas at Austin, Public Relations

Lucy was 4th in the nation in Program Oral Interp as well as the New Jersey State Champion in Oral Interpretation, a Finalist at Yale and top 4 at Harvard. She attends UT Austin.

Ranen Miao
Millburn High School

Ranen has placed 1st at Princeton and 3rd at NSDA Nationals. He is also one of nine members of USA Debate team, who represent USA to compete internationally.

Tucker Wilke
Brown University

Tucker won the Scarsdale national tournament and has been ranked 11th in the country in Public Forum. He will attend Brown University this fall.

Niki Samtani
Barnard College of Columbia University, Double degree in History and Human Rights, Minor in Race/Ethnicity

Niki championed the Lincoln Sudbury Invitational in high school. She currently attends Barnard College of Columbia University.

Dan Lee
Case Western Reserve University, Nursing

Dan was 4th in NJ, 8th at Princeton, and 9th at the Grand National Tournament.  He currently studies at Case Western Reserve University.

Lindsey Perlman
University of Pennsylvania

Lindsey championed the Yale and Princeton tournaments, and was 3rd speaker at Harvard. She currently studies at University of Pennslyvania.

Cecilia McCormick
Newton North High School

Cecilia is the captain of Newton North’s debate team and has amassed a number of state awards. She specializes in coaching novices.

Kate Selig
Stanford University

Kate was top eight at Harvard and Columbia and was named second speaker at Yale and captained her debate team. She currently attends Stanford University.

Eliza French
Harvard, Biology

Eliza won The Lawrence Prize in her academics and has experience mentoring younger students. She currently studies at Harvard University.

Peter Lawrence
Middlebury, Psychology

Peter has seen debate success at tournaments like Yale and Princeton. He currently attends Middlebury College.

Mary Yang
Northwestern University, Journalism

Mary earned 2nd place at University of Pennsylvania and has advanced to eliminations at Harvard, Yale, and GMU. She attends Northwestern University.

Andy Jian
Hamilton College, Political Science

Andy has worked with sixth grade students extensively, teaching language and communication skills in a bilingual setting. He currently studies at Hamilton College.

Reed Warburton
Lexington High School

Reed reached elimination rounds and won speaker awards at national tournaments in both Public Forum and Lincoln Douglas debate, collecting multiple state bids

Sarah Bressler
Vanderbilt University, Double Degree in English and Business

Sarah was President and Public Forum Debate Captain at Millburn High. Sarah currently attends Vanderbilt University.

Natalie Isak
Cornell University, Engineering

Natalie was ranked in the top 10 in New York for three years in a row. She currently attends Cornell University.

Jean Azar-Tanguay
Boston Latin School

Jean placed first in the state of her age group at Declamation in both English and Latin. She is returning for her second year as a Lumos counselor.

Sydney Teh
The Bronx High School of Science

Sydney has reached finals at Yale, 3rd at Columbia, and 7th at Princeton. She is president of the largest debate team in the US, Bronx

David Lipkin
UCLA, Cognitive Science

David won the Princeton Classic and semi-finaled at Lexington, FSU and the Tournament of Champions. He currently attends UCLA. 

Irina Costache
UMass Amherst, Political Science

Irina has won speaker awards at national tournaments like Ridge and Lakeland. She studies Political Science at UMass Amherst.

Ananta Wadhwa
UCLA, Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology

Ananta has reached elimination rounds at the Harvard, Princeton, and Blake tournaments. She currently studies at UCLA.

Nikhil Kommineni
The Bromfield School

Nikhil was top four at Harvard and MA states, top 8 at Columbia, and reached elimination rounds at Princeton and Harvard.

Katherine Gu
Acton-Boxborough Regional High School

Katherine has reached elimination rounds at tournaments like Columbia, University of Pennsylvania, and Yale. She also semi-finaled at MA states in her novice year.

Nicola Barbesino
Northeastern University, Public Health and Management

Nicola was president of model congress, winning an outstanding performance gavel at Harvard. He currently attends Northeastern University.

Anika Sridhar
Newton South High School

Anika won the Tournament of Champions and placed 2nd at Harvard and Yale, currently ranked 9th in the nation. She captains the Newton South team.

Prisha Singh
Shrewsbury High School

Prisha has won numerous tournaments including a national championship and two state championships.

Sameer Matta
University of Michigan, Double degree in Economics and Math

Sameer was the debate captain at Livingston High School, and won tournaments in the NJ circuit. He currently studies at the University of Michigan.

Jack Freilich
Northwestern University

Jack has achieved semi-finals at Princeton and out-rounds at tournaments like Harvard and Columbia. He currently attends Northwestern University.

Gaurav Asthana
Georgetown University, Double Degree in International Business and Finance

Gaurav has been ranked as high as 1st in MA and 3rd in the US in Public Forum. He currently attends Georgetown University.

Kevin Zheng
Northeastern University, Combined Degree in Computer Science and Business

In Kevin’s novice year, he was top 8 at the Princeton Classic, and he has been competitive ever since. He studies at Northeastern University.

Ariel Hirschhorn
Smith College

Ariel placed 3rd in the Nation in Original Oratory and has many other state and national awards. She attends Smith College.

James Chang
University of Pennsylvania, English

James has been responsible for two elementary school programs, running weekly workshops. He attends the University of Pennsylvania.

Long Do
Brown University, Political Science or Computer Science

Long finished in the quarterfinals at the MA state tournament among other success. He currently attends Brown University.

Adney Silva
Franklin & Marshall College

Adney was the University of Pennsylvania and Princeton Champion, 2nd at Columbia, and 4th at Yale. He currently attends Franklin & Marshall College.

Isabella Xie
Washington University in St. Louis, Double degree in Communication Design and Economics & Strategy

Isabella was a co-captain of her high school's speech and debate team, as well as a two-time NSDA and NCFL qualifier in speech. She currently attends Washington University in St. Louis.

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