The National Symposium for Debate Flagship Session is the premier offering for NSD's Summer Institutes. We offer a rigorous curriculum centered on the systematic instruction in the theory and strategy of debate, lectures on topics of concern to academic fields such as political science, critical theory, and philosophy, and the development of speaking and rhetorical skills. Our curriculum embraces all skill levels – from those with no prior debate experience to veteran national circuit debaters. For a main camp session, NSD's Flagship has no match. Click here to see why NSD does it best. Read about our premier session below!

Talent. Instruction. Determination. Success. NSD Does It Best.

An overview of our curriculum is available on the home page located by clicking here. 

Three Week Curriculum

NSD’s main session will remain our flagship institute: our premier camp focused on national circuit debate where the country’s best circuit debaters gather each summer to master their craft. The flagship institute now features a three-week curriculum. It is undeniable that national circuit LD has become a dramatically more complex activity over the last few seasons. The activity now demands that students wishing to compete at a high level master an unprecedented range of substantive content, debate strategies, and technical skills. For the past several years, we have seen a consistent increase in requests from students at every experience level for coverage in the curriculum of a wider variety of debate issues and skills at an increasing level of depth. Enabling our students to attain mastery in this new debate environment requires a more robust, longer running curriculum.

While we feel the need to expand our core curriculum, we do not want this to trade off with either the opportunities for students to work with faculty one-on-one, or the opportunities for students to focus on their areas of interest in additional, specialized lectures and workshops (both of which are opportunities that we know students—rightly—value highly). Our new three-week structure allows us to expand the core curriculum while also adding in more time for students at every level to work with faculty one-on-one and in small group workshops.

A three-week institute also makes room for a rigorous camp curriculum with wider and deeper coverage of the issues most important for today’s debate students, but it also gives students something they badly need at debate camp: time. With more time in our schedule, students have the chance to digest what they are learning, as well as to bond with their peers and make the connections with each other that are such a valuable, enriching, and competitively critical for students at camp. This means a three-week camp can simultaneously be more rigorous and more fun.

Accordingly, unlike old models of camp instruction which featured two-week curricula with optional third weeks, our flagship institute features a unified three-week curriculum designed to be experienced in its entirety. We recognize that the price for an added third week will be a concern for some students, and we have attempted as much as possible to keep the added cost of the third week low.

While our typical student at the flagship institute this summer will attend for three weeks, we recognize that—especially in this transitional year—some students may find it difficult to attend a three-week program. So, we will offer a very limited number of spots for students who wish to attend the flagship institute for two weeks (at an adjusted two-week price). Please note that, logistically speaking, capping the number of two-week attendees is required, so if you think this option is important for you, then we strongly advise that you submit your registration for camp immediately.


Students are grouped into labs based on experience level, and these groups form the heart of the NSD experience. All NSD labs maintain a 1:4 instructors to student ratio, and this calculation does not include additional administrative staff. NSD treats all students as equally important by assuring individualized attention to each and appointing veteran national circuit instructors to work in every lab.


Another unique feature of the NSD flagship is our move away from a traditional system of lab and modular lectures to a system of labs and “rotations”. Students will still do the bulk of their learning in traditional labs, but will receive outside instruction in rotations. Rotations consist of three 2-hour blocks of time (one a day for three days) during which labs receive instruction on some topic by two instructors who are not their lab leaders. Rotations will happen in lab groups, but from outside instructors who specialize in the content area. We believe rotations capture the benefits of the old lectures (introducing students to new staff, and allowing the staff to speak on their strongest topics) but retain the unique benefits of lab (hands on instruction, small size, and the ability to effectively and immediately reinforce topics with drills and homework).


At NSD, each student will be assigned a mentor that they will see daily over the duration of camp. Meeting in either small group or individual group sessions, mentor time will be the concluding portion of the day where students are able to ask questions they may have had from lab that day, do drills, or be taught new and exciting topics that they're interested in learning about. In this time, students are able to make closer connections with their staff members and have somebody watching and checking in on their progress during their camp experience. 

Elective Seminars

While we believe that teaching in lab is the most effective way to teach, we acknowledge that there is value in being able to teach more specific topics for shorter periods of time, which led to the creation of Elective Seminars. These are one-off, two hour seminars (constituted of a mixture of lecture, discussion, and drills), taught by single instructors to lab-sized groups but not in actual labs, since students choose which seminars to attend. Staff propose the topics they would like to teach in elective seminars and so all seminars are taught by staff who are passionate about the subject they are teaching.

Practice Rounds

All students attending NSD will have at least 10 practice debates observed by instructors, who will provide feedback on what students should do to improve. Some of these rounds will occur in the annual NSD Camp Tournament, which provides a competitive opportunity for students to showcase the skills they have learned over camp.

Fourth Week Curriculum

All too often, students leave camp having done some extra practice, but without much concrete to show for it. Extra practice is a valuable aspect of camp, but it becomes significantly more valuable when it is coupled with a curriculum that guides students to produce preparatory materials that they will actually want to use during the season. This is the guiding thought that informs our curriculum for the fourth week.

In our fourth week, each student will be able to choose two “special topics” preparation labs that fit their needs. This will allow students to identify areas of debate where they would most like assistance improving their preparation before the start of the season. For example, a student might choose to focus on preparing for Kantian framework debates. In this case, the student can expect that in their preparation lab they will write and solidify their understanding of a few different types of Kantian framework, write detailed answers to common Kantian framework justifications, write detailed responses to these common answers, and so on.

In each of their preparation labs, students will be able to work intensively with expert faculty in order to produce preparation that they will use during the season. Preparation labs will be small groups led by faculty members that specialize in the given topic area, and they will meet at length each day so that students have ample help gaining mastery in their chosen topic areas.

Each student will leave the week not only having gained in-depth knowledge of their topics, but also having prepared files that they have perfected with guidance and feedback from faculty on each of the two areas of debate of their choosing. This intensive period of focus means students will get the chance to gain a competitive edge that would normally take months of coaching to achieve.

In addition to their preparation labs, students in the fourth week will be sorted into drill groups that focus on their technical skills. These drill groups, in conjunction with practice rounds, will help students improve their technical skills and solidify their understanding of how to execute the preparation they are working on in their “special topics” labs.

Check Back Often for Staff Announcements!


Tom Evnen, Executive Director

Swarthmore College, BA

University of Chicago, MA

Tom debated for four years for Lincoln Southeast High School in Nebraska. Tom twice cleared to elimination rounds at the Tournament of Champions. His senior year, he was a state champion and finalist at the TOC. Tom has coached debate at the Hockaday School (TX), University School (FL), Oxbridge Academy (FL), and La Jolla (CA). Tom’s students have cleared to elimination rounds at the Tournament of Champions thirteen times, including four quarterfinalists and two semifinalists. Tom has also coached two students to championships and one to finals at NFL/NSDA Nationals. In addition, Tom’s students have reached finals or won championships at Apple Valley, Blake, Bronx, the Bronx round robin, Emory, Greenhill, the Greenhill round robin, Harvard, Stanford, Valley, and Yale.

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Becca Traber, Associate Director

Reed College, BA

Yale University Ph.D. Candidate

Becca is a coach for Lake Highland Prep as well for several independent students. As a debater for the Kinkaid School, she earned eleven career TOC bids, won Berkeley and was a finalist at TFA state tournament and the TOC. As a coach, she has coached 14 students to the TOC and 4 students to TOC outrounds. Her students have also excelled at local and regional competitions, winning two Florida State Championships and qualifying every year to both CFL Nationals and NSDA Nationals. She has taught a total of 10 top labs at TDC, NDF, and NSD.  She has served as a board member and Director of Faculty Development at the Texas Debate Collective, a nonprofit debate institute committed to rectifying inequities in access to debate. Outside of debate, Becca is a PhD candidate at Yale University in political science, specializing in political theory. This will be her third summer with NSD.

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Benjamin Koh

New York University, BA'17

Columbia University, MA'19

Benjamin Koh debated at Loyola High School in Los Angeles and qualified to the TOC and NSDA Nationals. He was the Head LD Coach at Byram Hills High School for three years, coaching finalists at Scarsdale, Yale, the Penn Round Robin, and TOC as well as championships at Walt Whitman, the Ohio State Tournament, and NCFL Nationals. He has coached 5 TOC outround appearances and 13 TOC qualifications. Now a MA candidate in American Studies in the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race at Columbia University, Ben is doing his academic work in the intersection of Asian-American Studies and Disability Studies. He is also on the planning committee for the Texas Debate Collective and is Director of NSD Philadelphia. 

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Chris Castillo

University of Houston, BA

Chris has been the Head LD Coach at Strake Jesuit in Houston, TX for 9 years. He has coached champions at Grapevine, UT Austin, Greenhill, Victory Briefs (now Harvard-Westlake), Bronx Science, and Berkeley. He has coached students to finals at every TOC bid tournament in Texas along with at least semifinalists at 8 different TOC Octafinal bids. Chris has worked for 16 years as a coach, judge, tournament director, and institute director. Chris was awarded the Bronx Achievement Award for his contributions to the debate community, and has recently coached the champions of St. Mark's in Dallas, TX, and the UT Austin Tournament. 

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Jenn Melin

University of North Texas, BA

Jenn Melin has been active in the national and Texas debate communities for fifteen years.  As a coach her students have been in out rounds of virtually every major national tournament. She has coached champions of the Grapevine and University of Texas TOC Bid Tournaments. Jenn has qualified thirteen different students to the TOC, with a significant number of those qualifications coming from small Texas programs with travel restrictions. She has qualified almost every student she’s ever coached to TFA State; culminating in a record setting fourteen LD qualifications in a single year. She coached the 2016 Grapevine runner-up.  Her students have participated in out rounds of both TOC and TFA. Jenn has also coached a UIL 5A State Champion.

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Adam Brown

Episcopal High School, TX, ‘16

Kenyon College, OH, ‘20

Adam debated for Episcopal High School in Houston, Texas, graduating in 2016. As a debater, Adam qualified to TFA State twice, NSDA Nationals, and the TOC. He is currently a second-year student and Sociology major at Kenyon College, specifically focusing on African-Diaspora Studies and Sociological Theory. Adam's students, all small-school or lone-wolf debaters, have experienced massive success on the national circuit, overall reaching late elimination rounds at every national tournament attended and earning multiple qualifications to TFA state and the TOC. As a coach and instructor, Adam specializes in 'critical literature' (specifically the intersections of postmodern/continental philosophy and materialism/identity politics), the role of the ballot/judge debates, and theory/topicality. Outside of debate, Adam plays Ultimate Frisbee, has an unhealthy obsession with music, and has an ever unhealthier obsession with Whataburger.


Grant Brown

Millard North High School, NE, '17

Swarthmore College, PA, '21

Grant Brown debated for Millard North High School in Omaha, Nebraska. He accumulated twelve career bids, reaching elimination rounds at Dowling, Iowa Caucus, Valley, Harvard, The Glenbrooks, Apple Valley, and Blake. He qualified thrice to the Tournament of Champions, clearing twice and reaching semifinals his senior year. He also cleared twice to elimination rounds at the NSDA National Tournament. Grant is currently an Assistant Coach at Lake Highland Preparatory School in Orlando, Florida and coaches a variety of individual debaters. His students have closed out Valley, championed Bronx and Dowling, and have reached late elimination rounds of Yale, the Valley RR, Apple Valley, the Glenbrooks, Lexington, the University of Texas, the University of Houston, Blue Key, and Strake Jesuit, acquiring a total of 22 bids this year. He is currently studying Religion and Philosophy at Swarthmore College.

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Dino De La O

Judge Barefoot Sanders Law Magnet, TX, '16

UT Austin, TX, '20

Dino De La O debated for four years at Law Magnet in Dallas and graduated in 2016. As a competitor, he qualified to the TOC his junior and senior years. During his senior year, he received 7 bids and advanced to the elimination rounds of every tournament he attended. As a coach, his students have championed Columbia, Lexington, the LHP RR, the Sunvitational, the Valley RR, Yale, and have cleared at the TOC. His students have also received 28 bids to the TOC this season.


Zoe Ewing

Scarsdale High School, NY, '17

Columbia University, NY, '21

Zoë is excited to be returning to NSD for her fifth summer and second year teaching! So far this season, she has coached debaters who have won and reached elimination rounds at several major bid tournaments. As a debater for Scarsdale High School, she qualified twice to the TOC, reached TOC elims her senior year, and received 9 career bids. She reached finals of the New York City Invitational, Princeton (twice), Columbia, the Valley Round Robin, and the Hockaday Round Robin. She now attends Columbia University and is interested in philosophy, sociology, and political science. I love being a part of NSD because of the tight-knit community the camp provides, the highly qualified instructors that teach students of every level, and the atmosphere of rigorous scholarship.

Katherine Fennell

Stuyvesant High School, NY, '17

UC Berkeley, CA, '21

Katherine debated for Stuyvesant High School from 2013-2017, and served as the team’s novice director and captain during her junior and senior year. She advanced to elimination rounds at virtually every tournament she attended her junior and senior year, including reaching quarters of Harvard, semis of Glenbrooks, finals at the New York State Championships and championing the Byram Hills Round Robin. Katherine taught at NSD and TDC last summer, and now works as a coach for Debate Drills.

Trent Gilbert

West Des Moines Valley High School, IA, '17

Stanford University, CA, '21

Trent competed in LD for five years and now coaches at West Des Moines Valley High School. As a debater, he qualified to attend the Tournament of Champions three times and NSDA Nationals three times (Freshmen, Sophomore, and Junior Year). He also championed or got to finals of Blake, Apple Valley, Iowa Caucus (three times) and Dowling (two times). As a coach, Trent has had five students qualify to the Tournament of Champions and had students reach deep elimination rounds at major national tournaments consistently throughout the season. Trent currently attends Stanford University and is a computer science major with a focus on bio-computation. Outside of studies and coaching, he is part of the Stanford Debate Society, competing regularly on the Parliamentary Debate Circuit, and also works as a research assistant at the Stanford Neuroscience and Pain Lab. Trent is super excited to be coming back to NSD this summer because he's found working with students and observing their improvement incredibly redeeming and can't wait to get back to teaching!


Michael Landau

Scarsdale High SChool, NY, '17

University of Pennsylvania, PA, '21

Michael debated for Scarsdale High School for four years. He attended the TOC his senior year. He received a bid at Blake and reached bid rounds at Yale, Bronx, and Lexington. Some of his debate interests are theory, framework debate, and burden structures. Michael now attends the University of Pennsylvania, where he is majoring in finance and statistics. He does volunteer work for debate programs in Philadelphia high schools and serves as a sports writer for the school newspaper. "I am extremely excited to be working at NSD once again. I have witnessed for several summers how this camp can help push debaters to a completely new level."


Cameron McConway

Cypress Fair High School, TX, '16

UT Austin'20

Cameron debated for Cy-Fair High School for three years, qualifying to the TOC, reaching semifinals of TFA State, and finishing 15th at NSDA Nationals. She has taught at VBI, NSD, and TDC, and spent the last year working with McNeil High School in Austin. Cameron is a junior International Relations major at the University of Texas, specializing in international security studies in the Middle East. Outside of debate, she is a resident assistant in her dorm and spent the spring semester interning with Congressman Lloyd Doggett.



Dave McGinnis

Macalester College BA

St. Cloud State University MS

Dave graduated from Apple Valley High School in 1993, where he was a state champion in speech and a national qualifier in Lincoln-Douglas debate. He co-founded the Macalester College Mock Trial team, winning JV Nationals and placing third at the American Mock Trial Association Grand Nationals in 1996. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a degree in English literature, and holds a Master’s Degree in Education Curriculum and Instruction. Also in 1996, Dave founded the Highland Park (MN) speech and debate team, which he coached for nine years. In 2005, Dave moved to California and coached the Lynbrook High School debate team. Currently, Dave is the head debate coach at Valley High School in West Des Moines, Iowa.

Dave’s students have reached the highest levels of debate success. Dave has qualified students to the TOC every year since 2000. He has coached students to the Top 10 at NFL nationals three times in eight years. His students have reached late elimination rounds at every major national tournament, including final round appearances at: Berkeley, Yale, Valley, Emory, and the Minnesota and California state debate tournaments, and tournament championships at: Apple Valley, Stanford, Cedar Rapids Washington, Omaha Westside, the Iowa state debate tournament, St. Mark’s, and the 2007 TOC. Dave also coached a finalist at the 2010 TOC.

Evan McKinney

West Des Moines Valley High School, IA, '17

Iowa State University, IA, '21

Evan McKinney debated 5 years at West Des Moines Valley for 5 years and attended the TOC his junior and senior year. Evan is currently attending Iowa State University where he is majoring in Computer Engineering and Physics with a minor in Math. Outside of debate, he spends time rock climbing and playing tennis. Evan is super excited to be returning to NSD for his second time. His debate interests include technical frameworks, tricks and theory. I love being involved in the teaching of such an academic activity and I enjoy working closely with students to learn and develop their debate skills.

Sean McCormick

Strake Jesuit ‘16

Rice University’20

Sean McCormick did three years of circuit LD at Strake Jesuit, qualifying to the TOC twice and accumulating 10 career bids. As a senior, he won Grapevine, the UT tournament, the TDC Round Robin, and the Sunvitational, and reaching late elimination rounds at many others. Beyond his career as a debater, Sean has coached the Kinkaid Team as well as taught the top labs at both NSD Flagship and NSD Texas.


Stephen Scopa

Pines Charter High School, FL, '17

Florida State University, FL, '21

Stephen Scopa debated at Pines Charter High in LD for 3 years and is a first year out at FSU majoring in philosophy. He qualified to the TOC his senior year; earned 9th place at NSDA nationals; won Crestian; came second at Blue Key and FFL Varsity States; cleared at several national tournaments; and made it to several bid rounds. His students have qualified to the TOC, won a Finals Bid, qualified to FFL Varsity states, and cleared at most of the national tournaments they've attended. His debate areas of interest/ knowledge include analytic philosophy, tricks, and high theory. "I highly enjoyed working at NSD last summer and am excited to be back helping students reach their full debate potential and hopefully helping them enjoy a great learning experience!"


JP Stuckert

Strake Jesuit Preparatory, TX, '14

University of Notre Dame, IN, '18

JP will graduate in May with a bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies and Economics from the University of Notre Dame where he has been a leader in the philosophy club and in a local middle school Great Books program. JP debated as President of the debate team at Strake Jesuit. He has worked as a private coach for individual students who received a total of 8 bids, and coached Walt Whitman High School starting this year. Since graduation he has led 11 labs at NSD’s Flagship Session, NSD Philadelphia, TDC, and Strake Jesuit’s middle school camp. Outside of debate JP enjoys swimming, reading classic works of fiction and intellectual history, and annoying Ben Koh. His debate interests Aristotelian philosophy, quantitative and qualitative methodologies in empirical social science, and meta-ethics in general

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Alex Yoakum

Grapevine High School, TX, '15

Emory University, GA, '19

Alex Yoakum graduated from Grapevine High School in 2015. They qualified to the TOC their senior year, receiving their bids from Greenhill and Minneapple, as well as reaching several bid rounds throughout their debate career. They also participated in the Greenhill and Bronx Round Robins. Currently, Alex is a philosophy and comparative literature double major at Emory University. In addition to their academics, they have presented papers on Queer Theory in undergraduate literature and philosophy conferences. They also are now the Editor-in-Chief of a new journal on literary criticism and philosophy at Emory. Their main debate interests include postmodernism, traditional ethical philosophy, Queer theory and Critical Race Theory.


Ari Azbel

Lake Highland Preparatory, FL, '18

Ari has debated for Lake Highland Prep for 5 years on the national circuit. He qualified to the Tournament of Champions his sophomore, junior, and senior year, attaining a total of 15 career bids. Ari championed the Bronx and Florida Blue Key invitationals. Additionally, Ari reached finals at Lexington, and semifinals at Glenbrooks, Apple Valley, and Yale. Ari was top speaker at the Glenbrooks and Bronx.



Matthew Chen

Strake Jesuit High School, TX, '18

Matthew Chen debated for Strake Jesuit for 4 years serving as Team Captain his senior year. He qualified for TFA state his sophomore, junior, and senior years, reaching doubles as a sophomore and quarters as a senior. He qualified to the TOC both his junior and senior years with a career total of 8 bids so far. This year, he has won Lexington and the Lake Highland Round Robin, co-championed the Strake Round Robin, reached semifinals of both Valley and Apple Valley in addition to quarterfinals of the Glenbrooks. His debate interests include topicality/theory, burden structures, and debating plan affs. 


Chakra Jonnalagadda

Cypress Woods High School, TX, '18

Chakra debated for Cypress Woods HS for 4 years on the local and national circuit. He qualified to the Tournament of Champions senior year, attaining a total of 9 career bids. Some notable achievements of his include championing the UT and UH tournaments, finals at the TFA State Championship and the strake jesuit invitational. Areas of Expertise: Philosophy, T/Theory, and Kritiks.



Akum Kang

King High School, FL, '18

Akum debated LD for four years at King High School in Tampa, Florida.  At King, he was the captain of the LD team his junior and senior years.  So far this year, he has cleared at every tournament he attended and has reached the bid round at Bronx, Blue Key, Strake Jesuit, and Lexington.  Throughout his career, he also cleared at Crestian, the Sunivtational, Yale, Apple Valley, Florida States, and NCFL Nationals and qualified to NSDA nationals twice.  He received a speaker award at Blue Key and earned bids at Bronx and Lexington.  Akum attended NSD twice as a student and this will be his third summer at the camp. Akum is excited to teach at NSD because he believes debate has tremendous educational value and that NSD provides a great environment for teaching students about every aspect of debate


Muhammad Khattak

Lake Highland Preparatory, FL, '18

Muhammad debated for Lake Highland Prep for 5 years on the local on national circuit. He qualified to the Tournament of Champions his sophomore, junior, and senior year, attaining a total of 12 career bids. Some notable achievements of his include championing the Strake Jesuit Invitational/RR, Valley, and semifinals at Bronx and Yale. Areas of Expertise: Philosophy, T/Theory, and Kritiks.

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Kyle Kopf

West Des Moines Valley High School, IA, '18

Kyle debated for Valley High School for six years. He received one bid his junior year and qualified to TOC his senior year. He has reached elimination rounds at many national circuit tournaments, including: Voices, Apple Valley, Blake, Blue Key, and Lexington. Outside of debate, Kyle enjoys being politically involved, watching The Walking Dead, and watching Minnesota Vikings football. Kyle will be attending the University of Iowa in the Fall where he will study political science. Kyle looks forward to teaching at NSD because he is passionate about the impact debate can have on people and hopes to help the students have a good time!



Michael Kurian

Dulles High School, TX, '18

University of Texas San Antonio, TX, '22

Michael Kurian did Lincoln-Douglas debate at Dulles High School in Houston, TX for two years. So far in his senior year he has earned five career bids, reaching elimination rounds at Harvard, St. Marks and Winston Churchill and getting to late outrounds at Holy Cross, Strake Jesuit, Colleyville, the University of Houston, the University of Texas, and Valley. He qualified to the TOC twice, getting to the bubble round as a junior. His debate interests are framework and critical theory with a focus on Nietzsche, Psychoanalysis, and Orthodox Marxism. He looks forward to teaching at NSD and sees debate as an educational platform for activism and political praxis. Next semester he will be studying Philosophy, Literature, and Anthropology under the UT Capstone Program for Liberal Arts at the University of Texas, San Antonio.


Kevin Li

Stuyvesant High School, NY, '18

Kevin Li debated for Stuyvesant High School from 2014-2018 and served as a team officer for two years. So far, he has earned 7 career bids to the TOC, winning the UPenn and Columbia Invitationals. He was a top 5 speaker at Yale, Apple Valley, Newark, Columbia, and Emory his senior year. His debate interests include Theory/Topicality, Asian American Identity/Performance, and other critical positions. In his spare time, he enjoys painting, playing Volleyball, and watching The Office. He is excited to be at NSD this year, getting to share his passion for debate while working with fun and intelligent people!


Tori Qiu

Millard North High School, NE, '18

Tori debated for Millard North High School for four years on the Nebraska/national circuits and currently serves as the team president. She qualified to the TOC her senior year and received a bid her junior year, clearing at Valley, Apple Valley, Badgerland, Dowling, and Blake. She also qualified to NSDA nationals twice and closed out the Nebraska state tournament. Outside of debate, she enjoys painting, drawing, and playing clarinet.


Carly Rieger

West Des Moines Valley High School, IA, '18

Carly debated for four years at Valley High School. She received one bid her junior year and qualified to the TOC her senior year, earning five career bids. She reached elimination rounds at multiple national bid tournaments, co-championing the Blue Key invitational and The Milo Cup at Millard North. She is also qualified to NSDA nationals and closed out the Iowa state tournament. Areas of expertise include: framework/philosophy, kritiks, and being the team mom.

Ananta Wadhwa

Scarsdale High School, NY, '18

University of California Los Angeles, CA, '22

Ananta Wadhwa debated for Scarsdale High School for four years and served as Lincoln Douglas Captain during her senior year. Ananta consistently broke at national tournaments throughout her career, finishing in octo-finals at the 2017 Princeton Classic and triple octo-finals at the 2017 Blake Invitational and the 2017 Yale Invitational. She also serves as a Novice Officer at Scarsdale and last summer, she was a Lab Leader at the Urban Debate League in NYC. Ananta’s debate interests consist of theory and most types of phil. Outside of debate, she loves music, singing, working out, and watching Netflix. She will be attending UCLA this coming fall where she will be studying molecular, cell, and developmental biology. Ananta is really looking forward to teaching at NSD this summer!

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Amber Wang

Katy Taylor High School, TX, '18

University of Pennsylvania, PA, '22

Amber Wang debated for Katy Taylor High School for four years on the local and national circuit and served as Lincoln Douglas Captain for three years. Over her four years, she has qualified for TFA state, UIL state, NSDA nationals, and the TOC. Her debate interests include Ks and util. Her interests outside of debate include art and fashion. She is excited to teach over the summer and share her passion for debate with others!


Reed Weiler

Lexington High School, MA, '2018

Reed debated for four years at Lexington High School, qualifying to TOC his junior and senior years. He competed in elim rounds of a number of national bid tournaments, and was finalist of the Blake invitational, as well as champion of the Bronx Round Robin.  Aside from debate, he enjoys music, photography, and spending time in the great outdoors. "I'm excited to teach at NSD this summer because it will be a new camp experience for me and I can’t wait to share my love for debate with others!"


Many more staff members will be announced soon!

The NSD Flagship Institute is located at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Easily accessible from the Minneapolis,- St. Paul Airport (MSP), the University of Minnesota provides a collegiate and communal atmosphere that helps foster a community and work environment so as to create a positive experience for NSD students. The West Bank Campus, where NSD is held, is surrounded by a vibrant and safe community with many restaurants and attractions within walking distance of the campus.

Students will be staying in Middlebrook Hall, located in the heart of the West Bank Campus.The dorm rooms are air-conditioned. The extra-long twin beds are made with sheets, a pillow, pillowcase and blanket by University staff prior to check-in. A towel, a set of sheets and a pillowcase, a pillow, and a blanket are provided for each student. There is a front desk attendant on duty 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Report maintenance or housekeeping needs to the front desk. Students and staff can exchange linens at any time at the front desk.

NSD provides students with Lunch and Dinner services. Lunch is provided in the Coffman Union, a short walk from the dorm, which has several popular restaurants (Chik-fil-A, Einstein’s, Panda Express) as well as a host of university provided food options served cafeteria style. Dinner is held at the Middlebrook Dining Hall, in our dorm, which provides made-to-order and other hot food options. Students are able to get snacks and sundries throughout the day in the Blegan Hall Market, which is in the same building where the majority of instruction occurs.

Breakfast food is not provided by NSD. Students and staff should bring granola bars, pop tarts, cereal, fruit or other ready-to-eat breakfast food to campus with them. Additional food can be purchased at the campus mini mart stores as needed. Sinks and microwaves are available on each floor, but no toasters or hotplates are allowed.

Student Supervision is provided by NSD Executive Directors, Administrative Staff and faculty. Students are expected to attend all activities unless they are feeling unwell, in which case they should contact our Camp Administrators. Attendance is monitored by staff. There is roll call in the morning and room checks at midnight.

General security is provided by the University of Minnesota Police Department as well as the 24-hour dorm staff in Middlebrook Hall that are always available to NSD and it’s students.

Computer access and library use are available. We strongly encourage students to bring their own laptops. University of Minnesota computers are also available for use in the computer labs and the Cyber Café in the dorm and throughout the library. Printing costs $.05 a page and is at student and staff expense. The campus is wireless, but bring an Ethernet cable and USB flash drive for use as needed. Students may not add to or tamper with the computer systems on campus.

There will be Free Days on Saturdays. There are no classes until after dinner. Students can walk to restaurants and stores near campus, go bowling or play pool at the Coffman Memorial Student Union, play pool, or play other games of choice. Students who leave campus sign out with a friend or friends, noting their destinations. On campus meal arrangements are the same as on other days of NSD.



NSD top lab was by far one of the best experiences of my life. Not only were my debate skills expanded, but also my mind. I think that I learned more with Tom and Becca in three weeks than I did in an entire semester at school. One of the things I really appreciated is that no matter what type of debater you wanted to be they were right there with you and helping you along the way.

- Niko Battle


The National Symposium for Debate’s top lab is arguably the most prestigious Lincoln-Douglas debate lab in the country. Each summer, many of the debate's most successful debaters prepare for the coming year of competition by participating in NSD’s top lab. The lab teaches a curriculum designed to comprehensively prepare students to succeed in the current debate environment, helping students reach an elite level of mastery of their core debate skills while also teaching them how to employ these skills in relation to the latest trends in debate. Each year, top lab students leave camp having achieved technical aptitude, mastery of debate strategy, and a set of innovative ideas and projects that they depend on during the upcoming season. This year, only a few months into the competitive season, all but one student from this past summer’s top lab had already qualified to the Tournament of Champions. 

This summer, the NSD Flagship Top Lab will again be led by NSD Executive Director Tom Evnen and Becca Traber. Tom and Becca each have numerous years of experience both coaching and teaching at the highest levels of competitive debate and an educational background that makes them apt to teach the highest levels of debate; Tom has a Masters in Philosophy from the University of Chicago and Becca is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Political Science/Political Theory at Yale University. Over the years, Becca and Tom have anchored 7 highly successful top labs together; they approach lab each summer with a deep understanding of how to teach effectively together and with a curriculum that they have worked for years to adapt, refine, and update. 

Each year, the senior instructors in top lab are joined by two of our most capable and successful younger teachers. In 2017, TOC Semifinalist Grant Brown and 2016 New York City Invitational Finalist Zoe Ewing taught in Top Lab. In 2015, Tom and Becca were joined in teaching by TOC Quarterfinalist and Big Bronx Champion Shivane Sabharwal from Mission San Jose (CA) and  TOC Octafinalist and UT Austin Champion Sean McCormick from Strake Jesuit (TX). The previous summer, TOC Semifinalist 2015 Big Bronx Champion and TOC Octafinalist Varun Bhave from Torrey Pines (CA) and 2014 TOC Finalist Chris Kymn from Loyola High School (CA) were top lab’s 3rd and 4th instructors.

For the most elite students in the country, NSD’s top lab has no match. If you think you might be a candidate for top lab and are interested in learning more, please email Tom and Becca will be happy to answer questions and talk about the exciting things they have planned. Stay tuned for staff and curricular announcements in the future! 

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NSD top lab taught me a variety of debate concepts and skills that have helped me significantly during the season. The top lab leaders provided me and the other debaters personalized instruction that catered to our individual needs. This personalized education allowed me to develop my skills in reading and answering kritiks which has and contributed to my success this year. The rigorous curriculum and engaging assignments provided in top lab accelerated my growth in debate.

- Kyle Kopf


NSD Flagship is accepting applications now! 

Main Session (6/24 - 7/14): $3,895

Main Session + 4th Week (6/24 - 7/21): $4,895

Late registration is open until spots are filled. All of our sessions have filled up faster than ever- make sure you register soon! 

When you apply, you will be creating membership in a portal which will be our gateway to communicating with you for the rest of camp. You will not need to fill out detailed medical information or debate experience in the initial registration, that will come later! Over the course of the spring, we will ask for additional information from you in order to best tailor camp to your needs.

Click here to apply now!


We understand that sometimes it isn’t possible to attend camp for the full three weeks. If you have a conflict or would like to discuss attending camp for a subset of time, please email

We value our ability to make camp accessible to those who wish to attend. If you would like to apply for financial aid, please email for more information. You will be asked to provide information supporting your application, including 1040 tax forms. Financial Aid applications are due May 1st, but the earlier the better.