Director: Benjamin Koh

Associate Directors: Katherine Fennell and Zoe Ewing

NSD Philadelphia is a Lincoln Douglas Debate camp that offers the NSD, national circuit education in a two week session in the heart of Pennsylvania. We believe that the small camp environment, staff dedicated to teaching (multiple staff have ambitions for graduate school or becoming teachers), and high individual attention make NSD Philadelphia a perfect option for debaters who are unable to attend the Flagship Session or who desire a 2-week camp experience. Benjamin Koh, one of the most successful coaches in the Northeast Debate Circuit and at the Tournament of Champions, will be leading the Top Lab. A Graduate Student in American Studies at Columbia University, Ben looks forward to integrating his work in Identity Politics (namely Race and Disability Studies) and High Theory into the Top Lab curriculum! 

Looking for a NSD national institute experience in a two week session? NSD Philadelphia is the right camp for you! Click here to read about why NSD does it better. We hope to see you at Bryn Mawr this summer! 


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.


NSD Philadelphia will 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). This gives students face to face time with staff beyond their own lab leaders and offers for specialized instruction based on the unique advantages of each staff member. 

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 Philadelphia will have at least 10 practice debates observed by instructors, who will provide feedback on what students should do to improve.

Return Soon for More Staff Announcements for Summer 2019! 

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Benjamin Koh, Director of NSD Philadelphia

New York University BA in Social and Cultural Analysis

Columbia University MA Candidate in American Studies

Ben Koh debated for 4 years at Loyola High School in Los Angeles where he was the team captain his senior year. His junior year he qualified to Nationals in policy debate and to the TOC in LD his senior year. He was the Head LD Coach at Byram Hills High School for three years and coaches privately. He has coached finalists at Scarsdale, Yale, the Penn Round Robin, and TOC as well as champions at Walt Whitman, the Ohio State Tournament, and NCFL Nationals. In his three years of coaching, he's coached 5 TOC outround appearances, 12 TOC qualifications, and TOC outround participants three years straight. He is also on the planning committee for the Texas Debate collective and is the director for NSD Philadelphia. 

Click here to learn more

Katherine Fennell, Assistant Director

Stuyvesant High School, NY, '17

UC Berkeley, CA, '21

Katherine debated for Stuyvesant High School for four years and qualified to the Tournament of Champions her senior year. She has worked at NSD, NSD Philadelphia, and the Texas Debate Collective since 2017. She coaches students across the country. This year, her students have reached deep elimination rounds at the New York City Invitational, the Voices tournament, the Voices Round Robin, Greenhill, Scarsdale, and the University of Texas Longhorn Invitational, and have receieved top speaker awards at the New York City Invitational and St. Marks. They have amassed a total of 11 bids to the Tournament of Champions. Katherine is excited to work at NSD for her third summer because she loves helping students grow and challenge themselves. 

Zoe Ewing, Assistant Director

Scarsdale High School, NY ‘17

Columbia University, NY ‘21

Zoë is excited to return to NSD for her sixth consecutive summer and third on staff! She debated for Scarsdale High School for four years and is now the Head LD Coach at Byram Hills High School. As a debater, she qualified twice to the TOC, accumulating nine career bids and clearing her senior year. She won or reached finals at Bronx, Princeton (twice), Columbia, the Hockaday Round Robin, the Valley Round Robin, and the NSD Camp Tournament. She bid and reached at least quarterfinals at every tournament she attended her senior year, and earned top 5 speaker awards at Valley, Blake, Lexington, and Princeton. She also won the New York State Tournament and was top seed at NCFLs. During her time coaching, her students have championed several national bid tournaments and cleared at the TOC. She taught top lab at NSD as a first year out and taught varsity labs at NSD and TDC her second year out. She strongly believes in creating an inclusive debate community and is an adult sponsor for Debate, an organization that matches non-male debaters with peer mentors. She now attends Columbia University, where she majors in Philosophy and is on the parliamentary debate team. She believes that NSD is truly a family where students are encouraged to be intellectually curious, and is excited to win the staff kickball tournament again but hopes to not get injured again in the process


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. His students have closed out Valley, championed Bronx, Dowling, and the Valley Round Robin, and have reached late elimination rounds of Yale, Apple Valley, the Glenbrooks, Harvard, Lexington, the University of Texas, the University of Houston, Blue Key, the Sunvitational and Strake Jesuit, acquiring a total of 28 bids to the Tournament of Champions. He is currently studying Philosophy at Swarthmore College.

Charles Karcher

Paul Zhou


Carly Rieger

WDM Valley High School, IA ‘18

Knox College, IL' ‘22

Carly debated for four years and currently coaches at West Des Moines 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.


Stephen Scopa

Pembroke Pines, FL ‘17

Florida State University, FL ‘21

Stephen Scopa debated for Pembroke Pines Charter, and graduated in 2017. As a debater, Scopa Championed Crestian, reached finals at blue key and FL states, placed 9th at nationals his Junior year, and reached several bid rounds. He currently coaches several debaters independently, as well as coaching for American Heritage Plantation. As a coach, he his students have championed several tournaments, including Crestian (and RR) twice, Blue Key (and RR), Valley, and Sunvite, and his students have recorded 15 bids and many bid rounds. He is currently studying Philosophy and Religion at Florida State. His main debate interests include strategy, framework, and high theory. “I can’t wait to teach at NSD again, it’s a great opportunity to help students achieve their goals in one of the best activities high school has to offer.”

JP Stuckert

Notre Dame University, BA Liberal Studies


Ananta Wadhwa

Scarsdale High School, NY ’18

University of California Los Angeles, CA ‘22

Ananta Wadhwa debated for Scarsdale High School for 4 years and served as LD Captain & Novice Officer during her senior year. As a debater, she consistently reached late elimination rounds at national circuit tournaments. She now attends UCLA where she studies molecular, cell, and developmental biology. She also coaches a few independent students during the school year. Ananta is super excited to be back at NSD for her second summer as a staff member and hopes to help students reach their full debate potential and have an amazing experience!


Niko Battle

Kamiak High School, WA ‘19

Wake Forest, NC ‘23

Niko Battle debated for a little over 5 years competing for Marist School, Mariner High School, and Kamiak high school; during their career they won numerous locals, a state championship, and qualified to the TOC four times, including double qualifying in both LD and Policy their senior year. So far, they have earned a total of 16 career bids (14 in LD and 2 in Policy). They will be debating for Wake Forest University starting in the fall, where they will compete in Policy Debate. Their expertise areas are mainly kritikal literature (Deleuze, Wilderson, Lacan, Warren, Sexton, and etc.); however, they also have expertise in LARP and theory debate. They’re excited to be teaching at NSD this summer!

Sai Karavadi

Quarry Lane, CA ‘19

Sai Karavadi debated LD on the national circuit at the Quarry Lane School for the past 3 years, breaking at numerous national bid tournaments. They also helped pioneer the LD program at their school, worked with younger debaters over the years, and was captain of their team their senior year. They earned 7 career bids and reached a total of 18 bid rounds. They were a semifinalist at the 2018 Presentation Invitational, quarterfinalist at the 2019 Bronx Invitational, co-championed the 2019 Newark Invitational, co-championed the 2018 MinneApple Round Robin, and were a double-octofinalist at the 2018 Tournament of Champions. They’ve also received multiple speaker awards, including 3rd speaker at the 2018 MinneApple Debates, top speaker at the 2018 Bronx Invitational, 13th speaker at the 2018 TOC, and top 10 speaker at multiple other tournaments, including Glenbrooks, Loyola, Greenhill, Presentation, and CPS. Sai also helped organize the Quarry Lane Womxn’s Tournament and worked with organizations to coach underprivileged debaters. Outside of debate, Sai enjoys singing, playing chess, and watching kdramas.

Claire Liu

Stuyvesant High School, NY' ‘19

Claire Liu debated for Stuyvesant High School for four years and was team captain her senior year. She qualified to the Tournament of Champions her junior and senior year, accumulating a total of 4 career bids. She has championed the Scarsdale Invitational in addition to reaching late elims of other national tournaments. Her debate interests include kritiks and LARP. Outside of debate, she enjoys running and coding.

Janet Mariadoss

Lexington High School, MA ‘19


Conal Thomas-McGinnis

WDM Valley High School, IA ‘19

Conal Thomas-McGinnis has received 5 bids to the TOC this year for 17 total over the span of his career. Conal’s debated since the 5th grade and specializes in theory, framework, and tricks. He’s particularly interested in writing and reading a prioris, Kantian positions, and theory. His interests outside debate include fantasy novels, Studio Ghibli films, and video games.

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Julia Wu

Lake Highland Prep, FL ‘19

Julia Wu debated for Lake Highland Preparatory School for five years and was team captain her senior year. She qualled to the Tournament of Champions her sophomore, junior, and senior year, accumulating a total of 5 career bids so far. She championed the Florida Varsity State tournament and the New York City Invitational in addition to reaching late out rounds at other national tournaments. She was top speaker at the Mid America Cup and top ten speaker at Yale, Minneapple, Glenbrooks, and the Florida Blue Key. Her debate interests include philosophy, K’s, and theory.


Megan Wu

Interlake '19

Swarthmore College '23

Megan debated for Interlake for four years, roughly two of which were on the national circuit, and served as team President her senior year. As a senior, she received invitations to multiple round robins and advanced to elims at almost every tournament she attended. Since 2016, Megan has taught Interlake's LD team, coached middle school debaters, and worked as an instructor at a summer debate camp for middle schoolers in Seattle. Outside of debate, Megan enjoys art museums and is an intern at the University of Washington's Philosophy department, where she does research in comparative metaethics.

The NSD Philadelphia 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.

Bryn Mawr has 24/7 Housing Staff always available to NSD and its students. We will be staying in Merion Hall, with air conditioning in every room.

NSD provides students with Lunch and Dinner services. 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.

Students should bring spending money. Generally, students will eat meals using their University meal plan. However, the meal plan does not cover free day, when an overwhelming number of students prefer to eat at a restaurant. In addition, there are some meals that students eat with their lab or mentor groups. These meals function as group bonding time, and groups often opt to dine out for these meals. Accordingly, students will need the ability to dine out for some meals. Beyond that, some students opt to dine out (or order in) more frequently than others. The amount of money a student should bring will depend greatly on their needs and preferences, but somewhere between $150 and $400 should be plenty for the typical student.

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. 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.

NSD Philadelphia is accepting applications now!

NSD Philadelphia for LD (7/14 - 7/27): $2,695

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 two 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.

NSD does not broker, sell, or advise on insurance policies or services. However, as with any travel/activity plans that involve commitment and expense in advance, you might consider acquiring an insurance policy to protect the value of your camp registration and surrounding travel plans. After reviewing the Payment Terms & Conditions, you can assess whether an insurance policy might fit your needs.