The NLSDU Executive

The NLSDU Executive (Positions Open)

The NLSDU Executive are here to serve you and to better debate in Newfoundland and Labrador. Please contact us so that we can help.

The Executive are elected once per year at the NLSDU Annual General Meeting, usually held in July. 

We are currently looking for two new Board Members: A Director of Communications and an additional Director-at-Large.  If you are interested in applying for these positions please contact our Chair - Yaneesh Jerath - at

Chair - Yaneesh Jerath


Yaneesh Jerath is the chair of the NLSDU.  He began debating in 8th grade, being taught by Simon Lono, who emphasized the importance of Canada promoting both freedom of expression and respectful discourse, insisting neither one was valuable without the other.  His parents encouraged him to join debate to be able to better understand others and help him to be understood, especially to overcome cultural barriers.

He has been a volunteer coach since 2013, and held various leadership roles in organizations such as MUN Debate, the MUN United Nations Society, and the MUN WHO Society.  He has coached at a wide array of schools, such as Holy Spirit, Brother Rice, Holy Heart, Gonzaga, PWC, and St. Bon’s.  His favourite types of motions are those focusing on healthcare and/or ethics.

In his spare time he likes to read, watch shows, work on art or spend time with his family.

Director of Finance - Austin MacNeil


Austin MacNeil is a 5th-Year Computer Engineering student at Memorial University. He has been involved in debate for about nine years, and his preferred motions are open motions. This is his first year on the NLSDU board, but has been affiliated with MUN Debate for several years now.  In his free time, Austin enjoys programming, playing the fiddle, and hanging out with his dog. 

Director of Programming - David Martin


Having been involved with debate for 11 years and the NLSDU for 6, David is excited to return to the NLSDU Board as the Director of Programming. Enjoying Lego, puzzles, and spending time with friends, David enjoys technical motions. After graduating from Memorial University's computer science and pure maths program, David started working at Verafin.

His favourite debate quote is “A cat is a creature that meows!”

Director At-Large - Ian Brake


Ian has been involved in debate for over a decade, and studied Physics at Memorial University.  He has acted as a Chair for the Model United Nations Society for several years, taken a leadership position in MUN Debate, and has overseen numerous debate events.  In particular, he has often served as Chief Adjudicator and Director of Tabs.

Additionally, he helped run the first annual Simon Lono IV Online Tournament as well as its subsequent iterations, and is very supportive of taking measures to provide accessibility options to students via remote participation, which is something the tournament embodies.

He has also acted as a coach for Lakecrest Junior High and worked with students to overcome fear of public speaking.

He has a passion for environmental issues and regularly watches debates to explore new motions.

Youth Representative, Communications Director - Tanish Bhatt


Tanish Bhatt is a Level Three student from Gonzaga High School in St. John’s, NL. This will be his second year serving as Youth Representative for the NLSDU. Since September 2023, he also serves as the Interim Director of Communications. Tanish began debating in his first year of high school, and instantly developed a strong passion for it. Since then, he has continued debating at several provincial, national, and international debate events and competitions, including the 57th Newfoundland and Labrador Youth Parliament, the Canadian Student Debating Federation’s (CSDF) National Seminar and the Berkeley International Parliamentary Debate Invitational. Outside of debate, Tanish enjoys playing competitive tennis, badminton, and chess, and leads his school’s chess club, robotics team, debate & Model UN society, and social justice committee. Additionally, Tanish is the national chair of the non-profit organization United4Literacy, which aims to fight illiteracy within the local and global community, and is concurrently pursuing immunology-related research in Dr. Rod Russell’s lab at Memorial University. Being avid on social justice issues, Tanish’s favourite motions are social-equity related motions for advocating equality at all levels of the community.

Past Chair - Nic Kuzmochka

Nic Kuzmochka is the NLSDU Past Chair and is a young policy professional with a passion for equity, diversity, inclusion and activism. Nic debated as a member of MUN Debate for several years before becoming a debate coach in 2018. Joining the board in 2019, Nic has loved the opportunity to work with students, design curriculum, and help move debate forward in Newfoundland and Labrador. Nic is also a recreational writer, reader, and gamer, and likes to try to sew and draw, with limited success. Nic's favorite type of motions are ones about pop culture or set in fictional worlds, giving folks a chance to talk about things they know and really focus on the core of an argument.