At Speech Equity Project, we make the major decisions by a vote. Therefore, our Board of Directors is a collective group that leads the organization. Additionally, the work of the Content Creators was produced through long, difficult, carefully considerate work. As such, this organization was a group effort from start to finish. So to give recognition to these smart, talented, determined individuals, here’s a little about us:
IMP Content Co-Creator
Matt Whitman competed for Western Kentucky University in both individual events and debate from 2008 to 2012. He received his M.A. in communication studies from the University of Alabama in 2014, where he was both a public speaking instructor and coach for the Alabama Forensic Council. Since then, he has volunteered as an assistant coach for The University of Texas at Austin. He is excited to bring an additional perspective and institutional knowledge to the Speech Equity Project.
IMP Content Co-Creator
Dani Soibelman is an MA candidate in Organizational Communication at the University of Texas at Austin. She graduated from UT in 2018 and competed for the Texas Speech Team, as well as CSU Los Angeles from 2014-2016. Currently, Dani coaches limited preparation and program interpretation events at UT and conducts research at the Dell Medical School.
ADS Content Co-Creator
Robi Mahan is an alumnus of Illinois State University, where she won AFA/NFA titles in ADS, DI, and Duo before graduating in 2014. She is the former Co-Director of Individual Events at Lewis and Clark College, and has worked as an assistant coach at the University of Texas at Austin for the past 3 years. At UT Austin, she is the head coach for Dramatic Interpretation and is a co-head for ADS, Duo, and Prose with her husband, Ryan. Robi has studied comedy for many years, and is currently getting her master’s degree in creative writing at the University of Texas at El Paso.
POE Content Creator
What’s good forensics fam? I’m Jeremy Frazer, and I’m thrilled to be constructing the curriculum for Poetry Interpretation for the Speech Equity Project. Poetry is a powerful tool because it invokes emotionality in a way no other event can. It highlights the transformative power of empathy through disciplined vocal range and physicality. But navigating topic selection, script construction, and blocking can be a challenge. As someone who competed for a small program, I dealt with these problems first-hand. It is my privilege to share the paradigms and techniques I’ve developed in my time coaching, so that all students can have access to quality forensics resources.
PRO Content Creator
Tyler Watkins is currently the Director of Speech at Concordia University, Irvine. Tyler competed four years at George Mason University and received his Bachelor’s in political and persuasive communication. He ended up staying at Mason to complete his Master’s in health and strategic communication. Tyler spent a few years away from speech to gain teaching and life experience. This year reinvigorated his love for the activity and he cannot wait to see multitude of ways The Speech Equity Project can better the forensics community.
DI Content Creator
Adelina Mitchell is a recent graduate of George Mason University and is ready to share what she has learned throughout her time on the collegiate speech circuit with you. She is currently a professional actress based in the DMV area and is confident about where she is professionally because of the experience and learning opportunities she has had through Forensics. She hopes to inspire those who not only want to be a part of the speech community but also want to be artists outside of the activity as well. She is honored to be a part of the Speech Equity Project and looks forward to watching this organization grow.
PERS and CA Content Co-Creator
Andrew Eilola started his forensics career in the 8th grade in his small hometown in northern Minnesota. He never went to NSDA or even finaled at his state tournament. Andrew attended Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota to compete on the forensics team and was exposed to the world of possibilities college forensics has to offer. He got instruction and coaching that helped him understand speech better and radically improve. As a competitor, in persuasive speaking, Andrew was an AFA Finalist, LE Norton Champion, MN State Champion, and Interstate Oratory Finalist. During his tenure at George Mason University, he coached 10 AFA finalists in persuasion since 2014, including two national champions. He has B.A.s in sociology and communication. He has a master’s degree in health communication and is currently working on his PhD dissertation. Andrew is ecstatic to begin his new job this fall as the Director of Forensics at Bradley University and is passionate about making forensics a more equitable and accessible space for all students.
DUO Content Creator
Lucas Muratore is a recent graduate of the George Mason University Forensics Team and currently pursuing his Master’s at Florida State University’s College of Motion Picture Arts in Tallahassee Florida. Once he finishes his degree he plans on moving to Los Angeles to become a producer for Film and Television. Lucas began competing in Forensics his sophomore year of high school for a small team with limited resources and coaching. After being accepted onto a larger team in college he realized how much of a difference access to these resources have on the ability to both succeed and learn from this activity. Lucas hopes he can help close this rescue gap by joining the Speech Equity Project as the Duo Interpretation Content Creator. A fun fact about Lucas is that he never read the Harry Potter books as a kid but is currently trekking through them by reading them aloud at night before bed. Check back in when he’s done with Book 3.
EXT Content Creator
A national championship speech and debate competitor and coach, Beth, a Chicago native, has taken a position in Taipei to teach at the Taipei American School in the fall after sixteen years of teaching speech, debate, English literature, and religious studies at Brophy College Preparatory (an all-boys Jesuit prep school) in Phoenix, Arizona. Beth’s undergraduate work and her two master’s degrees have been in pursuit of her passion: being an outstanding educator. Her teaching philosophy is to help students critically unpack the world around them, to then, help them challenge and process what they find so they can utilize their unique voices to communicate their findings to the world. She is thrilled to be further animating this philosophy with the Speech Equity Project.
ADS Content Co-Creator
Ryan attended Ohio University before transferring to Bradley University where he graduated in 2013. After graduating he spent time working as a volunteer coach at Orange Coast College before becoming the Co-Director of Individual Events at Lewis and Clark College. Ryan has been an Assistant Director of Individual Events at The University of Texas for the past three years. He is currently finishing his MA program at UT and is excited to help bring coaching resources to as many students as possible through The Speech Equity Project. Ryan lives in Austin with his wife and fellow ADS content creator Robi Mahan as well as their two cats.
IMP Content Co-Creator
From 2014-2018, Suchinder competed on the speech team at the University of Texas at Austin, where he was recognized as the 2018 AFA national champion in impromptu speaking. After graduating, Suchinder started teaching and coaching the speech team at Chaparral Star Academy in Austin. This upcoming year will be his second year at the school. Suchinder has spent the last 7 years in the speech community, and couldn’t be more excited to share his experience in Impromptu Speaking with the college speech community.
POI Content Creator
Hi! I’m Katie Lai, and I’m so excited to be working with the Speech Equity Project as a content creator and the social media coordinator. I competed for 4 years in college speech at both the community college level with Las Positas College and the university level with George Mason University – and my experiences at each were vastly different, largely due to the amount of resources available. I’m excited that SEP is finally breaking down some of the coaching barriers that exist in forensics, so that we can all focus on being the best advocates and performers possible. Now, as a coach for Florida State University, I will be telling all my students to look at these resources, first years and returners alike!
Board Vice Chair
CA and PERS Content Co-Creator
Alekhya Tallapaka was a former competitor on George Mason’s Speech Team. Throughout her collegiate career, Alekhya has witnessed inequality across the country, as smaller teams with little resources struggled to compete with much larger programs. She hopes the Speech Equity Project can help make this activity more accessible to everybody. Alekhya enjoys coaching Public Address and Limited Preparation events and is currently an assistant coach at the Potomac School in McLean, Virginia. When she isn’t coaching, working on SEP, or attending classes, Alekhya spends her time working in advocacy and volunteering for women’s rights organizations.
Board Chair and CEO
INFO Content Creator
Jim Welty is currently entering into his career as a teacher. After competing for four years at George Mason University, he went to the University of Texas at Austin for graduate school where he also worked as a volunteer coach for their speech team. Once he finishes his Masters of Arts degree in Education this summer, he’ll become the head coach for the Brophy Speech and Debate Team in Phoenix, AZ. Here, he’ll also work as a full-time Social Studies teacher. He is incredibly excited to cultivate his skills as an educator while he continues to improve The Speech Equity Project into the future.
We just wanted to also give a few shout outs to a few of the individuals who made this possible:
Thank you to Abbie Perry of AJP Graphics for designing the official Speech Equity Project Logo. Find more of her amazing work here: https://instagram.com/ajp.graphics?igshid=17cuubw8a6ba9
Thank you to Tim Seavey for helping us with the website tech and program logistics, without you we would most certainly not have a very good website.
Thank you to UT Austin’s Entrepreneurship and Community Development Law Clinic, without you we would most certainly have never gotten this far.