Welcome! There are 8 Novice Mentors for Spring 2019.

Committee Chair
Cayleigh Soderholm is a junior at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign
Service, majoring in International Politics with a concentration in Security Studies
and a minor in Arabic. She loves debate because of the community she’s found
there and the wide variety of topics she gets to learn about in the process of
writing and opping cases—she particularly likes legal philosophy and international
relations. She is passionate about making novices feel welcome on the league, no
matter their prior experience or ability level. Outside of school and debate, you
can find her making friends with every dog she meets or watching Netflix. You can
reach out to Cayleigh at

Digital Coordinator
Haseeb Waseem is a sophomore at the Villanova School of Business and currently
majoring in Finance & Business Analytics with a minor in Business Law. After transferring
into Villanova, he created the Villanova Debate Union to continue debating. He thinks that
the best part of debate relies in finding friends across a wide variety of schools across the
country, and loves entangling with new topics and material in every round. He’s a big fan
of writing fantasy and social justice cases, and constantly loves meeting new people on
the league. When he’s not doing debate, you can find him singing in his a cappella group
at Villanova (also the newest one on campus!), performing in his musical theater troupe,
and constantly cooking or baking for his friends. Feel free to reach out to Haseeb at!

Adi Ram is a third year at the University of Chicago. Despite being the kind of social
isolationist that chose to major in math, Adi loves debating on APDA because of the
great community he has met over the years. On the novice mentor committee, he seeks
to expand and deepen those networks by building up the future of the league. In his
spare time, he’s chilling in the GA of some tournament or another. You can reach out to
him at

Akshay Srinivasan

Amna Amin is in her second year at Princeton where she is currently planning on
majoring in Politics (but still a bit undecided!). This is her second year on APDA
and her first year on the Novice Mentor and Gender Empowerment committees.
She loves debate because of the community it creates and the opportunity it gives
to speak about a wide variety of topics. Amna joined the Novice Mentor
committee since she loves teaching people about different aspects and skills
related to debate.

Javaria Abbasi is a junior at the University of Virginia studying Spanish and Political
and Social Thought. She hopes to be a lawyer in the future. She has eight years of debate
experience but still remembers what it was like to be a shy female novice of color. She is
incredibly passionate about cases involving identity and literature. But is willing to co-write
and edit cases in any subject. You can contact Javaria at

Jessica Han is a junior at Rutgers University triple majoring in history, political
science, and philosophy. This is her first year on both the diversity initiative and
the novice mentor committee, and her second year on APDA overall. APDA has
been a wonderful educational experience for her, having opened exploration into
topics that wouldn’t have naturally occurred to her to explore in her own time as
well as having enabled the development of a sense of awareness of self and the
world at large at the same time. She sees the novice mentor committee as the
best way of giving back and looks forward to helping novices feel comfortable on
APDA whenever needed. Contact her at

Leah Block

Leah Block is a senior at New York University, majoring in English & American Literature
and minoring in Creative Writing. She loves debate because it forces her to learn new things,
and to articulate her ideas. It also helps her apply debate skills (quick thinking, argument
generation, etc) to her writing, and makes her a more thoughtful and effective persuasive writer.
She has been called “approachable” by novices and tries to live up to that standard. Other than
Novice Mentor, she has served on the GEI committee (2017) and EOF (2016-17). Please reach out
to her for any reason, including help with casing, especially if you feel isolated from your team or
from APDA for any reason. You can reach out to her on Facebook (to which she will respond soon)
or email (to which she will respond less soon) at