The Executive Board

The Yale Debate Association is run by a board of five students who are elected by the team as a whole each year. This board is responsible for everything from selecting the year's class of novice debates and handling the team's finances to making travel arrangements and planning the team's tournaments.

Current Board

President: Michael Barton. Mike is a junior in Berkeley College double-majoring in Economics and Political Science. Before coming to Yale, Mike grew up in Queens and attended Regis High School, where he also participated in competitive debate. Before serving as President, Mike was an APDA Novice Mentor, co-director of the 2012 Yale Intervarsity, and an assistant tournament director at the 2011 High School Tournament. Aside from debate, Mike enjoys listening to and attempting to sing all forms of pop music, watching movies, and reading as much as he can. He can be reached at

Treasurer: Sam Ward-Packard. Sam is a Junior in Saybrook College hailing from Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. He is the lone Humanities major on the YDA, and is especially into Edmund Burke. Before being elected treasurer, he served as Deputy Chief Adjudicator for the 2012 Yale Intervarsity. He also serves as team webmaster. Despite having never debated before college, he won top speaker at the US Universities Debating Championships as a Sophomore. Outside debate he runs a not-for-profit web startup and farms chickens. He can be reached at

Director of Development: Sesenu Woldemariam. Sesenu is a junior in Berkeley College from Houston, Texas. He is majoring in English and enjoys stage acting and classical guitar. He was involved with debate throughout high school, where he competed primarily in Extemporaneous Speaking. Before serving as Director of Development, he was Co-Director of the 2012 Yale Invitational, Assistant Director of the 2011 Yale Invitational and Social Chair. He can be reached at

Tournament Coordinator: Diana Li. Diana is a sophomore in Davenport from Brooklyn, New York majoring in Ethics, Politics, and Economics. She has been involved in debate since high school, when she competed in Lincoln-Douglas debate. Before serving on the board, she was an assistant tournament director of the 2012 Yale High School Invitational. Beyond debate, she enjoys photography, biking, and journalism. She can be reached at

Director of Membership: Zach Bakal. Zach is a junior in Calhoun College. He hails from the great town of South Barrington, Illinois, but because it is so small, he usually just says he's from Chicago. Before his term as Membership Director, Zach Co-Directed the 2012 Yale Invitational and served as the Yale Debate Association's Equal Opportunity Facilitator (EOF). Zach is majoring in Cognitive Science, which is kind of like psychology, but better. When not debating, studying, or applying to jobs, Zach enjoys cooking and hiking up to East Rock. He can be reached at

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