This list is reserved for those past GSU debaters who exhibited the qualities we value most: dedication to the activity, competitive spirit, concern for the other members of their team and their community, and strong academic achievement. Each of these GSU debate alumni made a unique and enduring contribution to the team.
Sarah Crachiolo (graduated 2005)
Sarah came to GSU from an Urban Debate League background at Grady High School in Atlanta. Though she had never competed in policy debate before college, she became a nationally ranked debater during her time at GSU. Her career was distinguished by the complexity and creativity of the arguments she pioneered. These included an affirmative that managed to bring together the traditional feminist politics of Naomi Wolf's The Beauty Myth and the postmodern identity politics of Judith Butler's Undoing Gender. Sarah became the first GSU student to use her debate research as the basis for an academic career. After graduating from GSU, she completed an M.A. degree in Speech Communication at California State University, Long Beach. Sarah was a strong team leader at GSU, and was also active in our debate outreach efforts.
Erik Mathis (graduated 2007)
The Director of Forensics at Emory University once referred to Erik as "the Rosa Parks of college debate," and for good reason. Erik was the senior member of the first debate team of graduates from an Urban Debate League to qualify for the National Debate Tournament in college. In so doing, he also became the first African-American debater from GSU to qualify for the NDT. During his time at GSU, Erik qualified for the NDT twice and set a school record by advancing to the double-octafinals of the CEDA National Debate Tournament. He accomplished all this in spite of having very limited policy debate experience prior to college. His transformation from a raw novice to a nationally respected debater speaks to his work ethic and his refusal to accept anything other than success. Erik was a strong presence in GSU's debate outreach efforts, as well as a tireless supporter of his teammates.
Joel Lemuel (graduated 2008)
Joel came to GSU from Atlanta's Grady High School, where he was one of the most successful debaters in the history of the Urban Debate League. He built on his experience there by becoming the most competitively successful debater in GSU history. Joel qualified for the National Debate Tournament three times, set a school record by making it to the octafinals of the CEDA National Debate Tournament twice, and led GSU to its first appearance in the elimination rounds of the NDT in 20 years. His competitive accomplishments are even more impressive when you consider that, during his last two years at GSU, he was working three nights a week in our debate outreach programs. Joel's work in Urban Debate League programs in Atlanta, Miami, and Milwaukee made him a national expert on debate outreach, and helped him secure a position as a grant investigator after his graduation from GSU. In typical fashion, Joel decided to complete an M.A. in Communication at GSU. He is now in the Ph.D. program at the University of Southern California's Annenberg School..
Josh Grace (graduated 2011)
Josh came to GSU from northern Atlanta's Chattahoochee High School, where he was a nationally successful debater. After spending two years at GSU struggling to find an appropriate partner, Josh took his skills to another level when Zachary Schaller arrived on campus. For two years, Josh and Zak were the most competitively successful team GSU has ever had, qualifying for the elimination rounds of the National Debate Tournament in Josh's junior year. As a senior, Josh guided the partnership to a national ranking of 17th, the highest ranking in GSU's history and one slot short of qualifying for an NDT First Round bid. Josh's combination of hard work, constant improvement, competitive success, and academic achievement mark him as one of the best and brightest debaters in the history of the program. He has been accepted to GSU's graduate program in Political Science — and yes, that is a double rainbow in his picture.