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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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!
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