Matt Summers | Co-Founder 

Matt Summers, a 2L at Harvard Law School, was named the #1 debater in the US in 2015. Matt has beaten 6 World Debate Champions and been involved with debate in 15 countries on 5 continents. After graduating from Bates College in 2015, he was a Fulbright ETA in South Africa, where he founded Debate Spaces.

Tessa Holtzman | Co-Founder

& Executive Director 

Tessa Holtzman was named the #1 female debater in North America in 2017 and is the Executive Director of Debate Spaces. She has taught debate on three continents, including starting the first high school debate team in Bolivia. Tessa graduated from Bates College in 2017 and currently works in Washington D.C., putting her debate skills to use as a policy researcher.

Courtney Foster | Director of Academies

Courtney is a native of Newton, Massachusetts, a Newton South Speech Team alum, and was a Bates College debate competitor under Matt and Tessa's leadership.  In high school, Courtney quarterfinaled at the Harvard University tournament and finaled at the Columbia University tournament in Dramatic Performance.  As a college debater, she was the 25th-Ranked U.S. Novice Speaker and competed at the U.S. Universities Debating Championship at Stanford University.  Courtney is thrilled to continue engaging with speech and debate in the Boston area.  

Tafsia Shikdar | Fellow

Tafsia is currently a junior at MIT studying Materials Science and Engineering, with a minor in Political Science. Tafsia currently leads the MIT Debate Team as Co-Captain, having joined as a freshman, and has attended many APDA tournaments along the East Coast. Born and bred in London, Tafsia was initially exposed to debate at age 14, but never had any formal school debate societies to join until reaching MIT. Grateful for the chance to attend the English Speaking Union Debate Academy in 2015, Tafsia looks forward to creating similar opportunities for other young minds!

Maya Benziger | Fellow

Hailing from Chicago, Maya is currently a sophomore at Bates College. She is planning on declaring a History and Politics double major with a minor in Music.  Maya is one of two Novice Directors for the Bates College debate team.  She was a novice quarterfinalist at the United States Universities Debating Championship in 2019 and a novice finalist at the North American Women's and Gender Minorities' Debate Championship in 2019 as well.  Before coming to college, Maya did not ever get the opportunity to experience debate so she is excited to be able to share this activity with all the young debaters-to-be!

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