We founded NSD Congress because we want to teach Congress differently, and at our core is a unique curriculum and instruction structure that sets us apart from other Congress camps.
NSD’s Congressional Debate Institute offers each and every participant a challenging, comprehensive, and fun course in everything Congress – from argumentation, to rhetoric, to research. NSD’s instructors and curriculum blend interactive lectures on public policy, constitutional law, economics, and philosophy together with rhetorical drills, speech practices and mock Congressional sessions. Every “topic lecture” is discussion-based; every speaking opportunity is critiqued by instructors and by students in small breakout sessions, made possible by our 4:1 student-to-teacher ratio.
Each day, students participate in topic discussions and speech practice, with many full Congressional Debate sessions throughout the course. Students participate in activities that improve research skills, reinforce proper parliamentary procedure, assist with bill writing, and enhance in-round strategies. Students also analyze speeches they’ve given on video to achieve better understanding of their strengths and weaknesses.
The Modular "Block Schedule"
The NSD schedule works on a "block schedule", where students are assigned to "modules" (content/technique labs) based on knowledge and ability, rather than being strictly assigned to a lab with a series of lectures and defined staff.
NSD's modular schedule allows us to customize each student's camp experience to what they need most, based on feedback from both the coach and the student. Rather than planning out each day before the camp even starts, our 50+ modules can be rearranged using student feedback. This also allows us to cap module breakout groups at six students regardless of the topic area, providing the most effective and enjoyable debate camp experience.
NSD Congress also features a special block of time in the evening called "BBB Time", named after cognitive science researcher and composer Dr. Anthony Brandt's definition of creativity (Bending, Breaking, and Blending). To further enhance our students' skills, we invite students to examine famous speeches, items of popular culture, media, and the arts with the guidance of our instructors.
Typical Daily Schedule
8:30-9:30 AM: Opening Seminar
9:30-11:00 AM: Lab Workshop
11:00-11:30 AM: Module 1 in Breakout Groups
11:30 AM-12:00 PM: Module 2 in Breakout Groups
12:00-1:00 PM: Lunch
1:00-3:30 PM: Module 3 in Lab
3:30-5:30 PM: Prep with Coaches/Mini-Rounds
5:30-6:30 PM: Dinner
6:30-7:30 PM: Module 4 in Breakout Groups
7:30-9:30 PM: BBB Time
9:30-11:00 PM: Free Time
11:00 PM: Room Checks
Phillip Hedayatnia, Director of NSD Congress
Phil debated for four years for the Hawken School in Cleveland, Ohio, and now privately coaches students at Klein HS (TX), Seven Lakes HS (TX), Pine View School (FL), American Heritage School (FL), Poly Prep Country Day School in Brooklyn, and many more. Phil qualified to the Tournament of Champions three times, finaled twice, and placed 2nd his senior year. He also won the Ohio State Tournament, placed at Emory, Sunvite/Sunvite RR, Blake/Blake RR, GMU, Glenbrooks, Bronx/Bronx RR, was the champion and leadership bowl recipient at Apple Valley for two years in a row, and ended his senior year sixth at NSDA Nationals and fourth in the country on Debate Rankings.
As an educational consultant, Phil has developed K-12 experiential learning classes and curriculum as an advisor to a number of public and private schools, working as a consultant and as a curriculum developer at the Miller Institute for Entrepreneurial Studies. In addition, Phil co-taught a national seminar for educators on integrating dynamic learning methods into classroom experiences.
Apart from debate and education, Phil has served as a digital strategist for the Kasich and Johnson presidential campaigns, founded a Silicon Valley-based cloud computing company, and is currently Editor-In-Chief of online political news publication RealPolitics.
Shawn debated for three years for El Camino Real Charter High School in Los Angeles, CA. In his time as a Congressional Debater, Shawn championed Stanford and ASU, finaled at NCFL Grand Nationals, won the California State Championship by the largest margin in state history, placed 8th at the Tournament of Champions, placed 7th at NSDA Nationals, and ended his senior year 13th in the country on Debate Rankings.
While in high school, Shawn was elected President of the National Speech and Debate Association's Student Leadership Committee, where he drafted policy proposals and amended NSDA bylaws.
Shawn has worked extensively as a policy analyst and researcher, spanning from his role as a field manager for the Fund for the Public Interest, to his role as an analyst on the policy team and later transition team member of Attorney General Kamala Harris' US Senate Campaign. He also founded the Millennial Institute, a nonpartisan, nonprofit policy research and advocacy organization with staff in 7 states and DC.
Adam debated for the Bronx High School of Science for four years, working his way up from Novice Director to become the captain of the largest Congressional Debate team in the country. Adam has finaled/placed at Harvard, Yale, Emory, Glenbrooks, UPenn, and many more.
Oliver Sherren debated for four years at Parish Episcopal School in Dallas, TX. In his time as a Congressional Debater, Oliver became the first finalist from Parish Episcopal to final at TOC and NSDA Nationals, and he placed 2nd at NSDA Nationals. Since graduating high school, Oliver has worked as a private coach, and he will be joining NSD as both an instructor for NSD Congress 2017 and a curriculum developer.
The NSD Congress Institute is located at Bryn Mawr College in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, just outside of Philadelphia. Easily accessible from the Philadelphia International Airport (PHL) as well as by Amtrak Train and SEPTA local transportation, Bryn Mawr College provides an intimate, liberal arts setting that encourages a close knit camp community. Bryn Mawr is a safe suburb of Philadelphia that provides students and staff with easy and safe access to a variety of restaurants and shops walking distance from campus.
Students will be staying in Pembroke Hall, a traditional residence hall. Bryn Mawr has 24/7 Housing Staff always available to NSD and its students.
NSD provides students with Lunch and Dinner services. Lunch is provided in the New Dorm Dining Hall, a short walk from Pembroke. Consistently ranked in the national top ten of campus dining, Bryn Mawr provides students with diverse and healthy meal options every day. Students are able to purchase snacks, sundries and coffee at the University Bookstore and at several restaurants in the Campus Center.
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.
Student Supervision is provided by NSD Institute 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 Administrator, Terrence Lonam. Attendance is monitored by staff. There is roll call in the morning and room checks at midnight.
General security is provided by Brwn Mawr Campus Security as well as the security forces of other schools in the Tri-College Partnership, including the Swarthmore College Department of Public Safety and Haverford College Campus Safety.
Computer access and library use are available. We strongly encourage students to bring their own laptops. 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 a Free Day midway through camp. There are no classes until after dinner. Students can walk to restaurants and stores near campus, hang out at the Campus Center, play games of choice, or attend supervised outings to local attractions. 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.
The fees for NSD Philadelphia 2017 are listed below. NSD is currently accepting applications and will stop when full. No applications are accepted after June 1.
We offer two payment plans:
1. Pay upfront.
NSD Philadelphia (7/16 – 7/29) total cost: $2695
2. Pay in installments.
Payments will be due at the following dates:
$250 deposit due at signup
$815 due March 1
$815 due April 1
$815 due May 1
How to Apply: Parent and student read 1—9 below before you begin.
1. Read the NSD rules.
2. Fill out the application here.
If you are applying for financial aid and/or a segment of a camp, click this link below.
3. Copy the front and back of your medical insurance card and your immunization record on one piece of paper.
4. Send your your medical insurance and immunization page to:
3201 South St. #112
Lincoln, NE 68502
5. Students will be notified of their acceptance/rejection within approximately three weeks after a complete application and payment are received. No student is accepted until their payment has cleared
6. Students should not make travel plans until they have been notified of their acceptance.
7. NSD charges a $150 service fee if your student chooses to fly as an unaccompanied minor. Parents should plan to accompany students who cannot travel alone or arrange travel with another student.
8. In April, students will receive an email with travel action items so that they can report their travel plans in accordance with directions given there. Submit travel plans as directed by June 1, or sooner.
9. Acceptance to NSD will be revoked for any student who does not follow the travel directions.