Our Staff

Dr. Joe Bellon (pictured here with his daughter, Zoe Melissa Bellon) has been the Director of Debate at GSU since the spring of 2000. During that time, GSU debate has experienced its highest level of competitive success in almost 20 years. This includes eight trips to the National Debate Tournament and numerous trips to the elimination rounds of CEDA Nationals.

Dr. Bellon has coached teams to the elims of the NDT at GSU, Emory, Wake Forest, and the University of Georgia. At GSU, he was the first coach in the country to qualify a team whose members were both former Urban Debate League members, and is one of the only coaches ever to qualify two former-UDL teams. He is a founding member of the National Debate Project, a consortium of educational institutions committed to urban debate outreach, and has been involved in the UDL movement since its inception.

Dr. Bellon received his B.A. from Emory University, where he was a nationally ranked debater. He debated in the elimination rounds of the National Debate Tournament in 1988 and 1989. Dr. Bellon received his M.A. in Communication from Wake Forest University in 1993 and his Ph.D. in Speech Communication from the University of Georgia in 1999. He is a Senior Lecturer in the Communication Department, where he teaches classes in Speech and Journalism.

Nick J. Sciullo entered the GSU PhD program in communication in the fall of 2011. He received his M.S. in international relations from Troy University and his J.D. from West Virginia University. As a policy debater at Tallwood High School, he won the Virginia High School League state championship, the first state championship in any sport or activity for his school. He is a debate alumnus of the University of Richmond. As a high school coach, Nick served as Head Policy Debate Coach at Midlothian High School, where he qualified policy teams and LDers to NCFLs three years in a row. Most recently, he served as Director of Debate at T.C. Williams High School where his teams consistently qualified teams to VHSL Regionals and States and won multiple divisions at major tournaments. Prior to coming to GSU, Nick served as an Assistant Coach at the United States Naval Academy. Along with his debate duties, he also teaches multiple classes at GSU and maintains an active research schedule in rhetorical studies, specifically the rhetoric of race and the rhetoric of law. He won the Robert Bostrom Young Scholar Award from the Southern States Communication Association in 2014. His dissertation explores black power, critical race theory, and ideological criticism. He plans to graduate in the fall of 2015. 

Heidt Pic (web3)

Stephen Heidt entered the GSU PhD program in communication in the fall of 2009.  As a collegiate debater at Emory University, Stephen qualified for the NDT three times including two first round bids, was consistently in the late elimination rounds of national tournaments, and won the West Georgia Tournament and CEDA Nationals in 1998.  After graduating in 1998, Stephen coached the 2000 NDT winner from Emory before departing the debate community for the policy world.  More recently, Stephen, in partnership with the National Debate Project, directed the Colombia Debate Project in Bogotá, Colombia which is a program modeled off the Atlanta Urban Debate League.