Wayne State University Speech & Debate Teams

A Motor City Tradition Since 1918

Directors and Coaches

Dr. Ronald Stevenson, Director of Forensics, Senior Lecturer of Communication

Ron did his undergraduate and Ph.D. work at Wayne State and was a highly successful policy debater for WSU, reaching the quarterfinals of the NDT. Ron went to Baylor University (Waco, TX) for his M.A. work, where he coached several successful teams. Ron returned to Wayne for his Ph.D. work. He was Director of Debate from 2001-2019. He currently serves as the Director of Forensics, overseeing the debate and speech teams, outreach, and alumni affairs. 

536 Manoogian Hall 313-577-2951 stevenson.ron@gmail.com

Director of Debate - Dr. Sydney Pasquinelli

Dr. Sydney Pasquinelli is the Director of Debate for Wayne State University, beginning in the 2019-2020 debate season! Sydney debated for four years at Wayne State as an undergraduate, qualifying for the National Debate Tournament in 2008 and 2009. She received her M.A. from Wake Forest University in 2011, and her Ph.D. in Rhetoric & Communication from the University of Pittsburgh in 2018. Before landing back home in Detroit, Sydney coached policy debate for: Groves High School, Wake Forest University, University of Pittsburgh, University of Oklahoma, and Stanford University. Presently, she coaches policy debate for Wayne State University and Edgemont High School (since 2016). Dr. Pasquinelli's research focuses on U.S. policy and discourse surrounding the Middle East and Islam.

537 Manoogian Hall. 313-577-2943. aw0957@wayne.edu

Dr. George W. Ziegelmueller, Retired Director of Forensics, Distinguished Professor

For 48 years, Dr. Ziegelmueller taught Wayne State students to debate with such success and national acclaim that the National Debate Tournament in 1999 named its Outstanding Director of Debate Award the George Ziegelmueller Award.  He has also received the National Communication Association?s Award for Outstanding Teaching in Higher Education. George coached 2 2nd place top speakers and two finalists at the National Debate Tournament. Additionally, he coached hundred of students that had highly successful forensics and professional careers. His books include Argumentation: Inquiry and Advocacy and Dimensions of Argument.

After suffering a stroke a few years ago, George now lives in Chicago near his son and his family. 

Dr. Kelly M. Young, former Director of Forensics, Associate Professor of Communication

Kelly did his undergraduate, masters work and was a policy debater at Ball State University (Muncie, IN). After leaving BSU, he was the Assistant Director of Debate at John Carroll University (Cleveland, OH) for three years. He came to Wayne State in 2001 to begin his Ph.D. and was an assistant debate coach. He was the Director of Forensics from 2005 to 2019. Under his direction, Wayne State won multiple state championships and qualified multiple teams to the National Debate Tournament. He directed champion teams and top  competitors and students at the American Debate Association, American Forensics Association, Cross Examination Debate Association, National Debate Tournament, and National Forensics Association.

555 Manoogian Hall 313-577-2953 kelly.young@wayne.edu


Graduate Assistant Coaches

Kevin Mardirosian

Tara McManus

Garrett Shum

Matthew  L. Rosenblum

Sarah Walker, Ph.D. Student

Sarah completed her undergraduate at Minnesota State University where she competed in and coached parliamentary debate. She completed her MA at South Dakota State University. She is a 4th year PhD student at Wayne.