Director: Benjamin Koh

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. Formerly NSD Northeast, NSD Philadelphia serves a national audience beyond just the northeast circuit. 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 (who in 3 years coached 1 TOC Finalist, 2 Octafinalists, 2 Double-Octafinalists, and a NCFL Champion) will be leading the top lab and plans to integrate his work in Asian-American and Disability Studies 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. 


At NSD Philadelphia, 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 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! 


Benjamin Koh, Director of NSD Philadelphia

New York University BA, Social and Cultural Analysis

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 every year. He is also on the planning committee for the Texas Debate collective and is the director for NSD Philadelphia. 

Click here to learn more

Terrence Lonam

University of Alabama, BA

Terrence is a coach for his alma mater, Lake Highland Prep as well for several independent students. As a debater, he earned nine career TOC bids, won Lexington and was a team captain. In three years as a coach, he has coached 13 students to the TOC and 3 students to TOC outrounds. At invitational tournaments, his students have accumulated 39 TOC bids and have reached semifinals or finals at Apple Valley, Bronx Science, Emory, Glenbrooks, Harvard, Valley, Lexington, Sunvitational, Yale, Blue Key, Scarsdale, Crestian and Badgerland. In addition to his responsibilities at NSD, he has served as a senior staff member and Director of Faculty Development at the Texas Debate Collective, a nonprofit debate institute committed to rectifying inequities in access to debate. This will be his fourth summer with NSD.

Click here to learn more

Sam Azbel

Bowdoin College'18

Sam is the Head Lincoln-Douglas Debate Coach at Byram Hills High School in New York. In This is Sam’s 7th summer at NSD. Sam debated 1 year at Trinity Prep and the following 3 years at Lake Highland Prep in Orlando Florida. During his time at Lake Highland, Sam amassed a total of five bids and qualified to the TOC his senior year. During his senior year, Sam most notably Semi’d at the Dowling Catholic tournament, Octa’d at Minneaple, Semi’d at the Beltway tournament, and got to finals of the Crestian Classic. Sam also received many speaker awards at tournaments such as Crestian, Sunvite, Berkeley, Minneaple, Glenbrooks, Beltway, Dowling Catholic, and many more. In his first two years of coaching, Sam’s students acquired a total of 34 bids. Sam is also one of the co-hosts of NSD's podcast, Hutt Up or Shut Up located here.  Sam will continue to study philosophy and education at Bowdoin College.


JP Stuckert

University of Notre Dame'18

JP is a Liberal Studies and Economics major at 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 a small group of students since graduation, with his two main debaters receiving a total of 8 bids to TOC. Since graduation he has led 8 labs at NSD’s Flagship Session, TDC, and Strake Jesuit’s middle school camp. Outside of debate JP enjoys swimming and reading classic works of fiction and intellectual history. 

His debate interests Aristotelian philosophy, competing accounts of practical reason, and criticisms of contemporary social science research.

First Year Out Staff

Grant Brown

Grant Brown debated for a year locally at Ralston High School and three years nationally at Millard North High School in Omaha, Nebraska. He is the team president and has accumulated twelve career bids while qualifying thrice to the Tournament of Champions, reaching quarterfinals his junior year, and twice to NSDA Nationals clearing to elimination rounds both years. Grant reached elimination rounds of numerous bid tournaments including Dowling, Iowa Caucus, Valley, Harvard, The Glenbrooks, Apple Valley, and Blake. Most notably Grant was a Nebraska State Champion, quarterfinalist twice at Valley and top speak his senior year, semifinalist at Apple Valley, and two time champion of Dowling Catholic. Grant plans to study Religion, Anthropology, and Sociology.

Debate Interests: Postmodernism, specifically Deleuze/Guattari and spirituality, nuanced philosophically influenced positions, and experimental performativity and aesthetics within academic debate.  


Katherine Fennell

Katherine debated for Stuyvesant High School for four years, and served as the team’s novice director and captain during her junior and senior year. She reached elimination rounds at Bronx, Scarsdale, Princeton, Harvard, Yale, Ridge, Columbia, Blake, Newark, Glenbrooks, and Sunvitational, and received speaker awards at Lexington, Scarsdale, Yale, Newark, Blake, and Glenbrooks. She was the champion of the Byram Hills Round Robin, and got to finals of the New York State Championship. Outside of debate, Katherine plays the violin and loves to cook.

Debate Interests: Deleuze, Identity Politics, and Topicality

Aysha Hafiz

Aysha debated for four years at Newtown High, the only CT school that competes on the national circuit, and has been team captain for 2 years. She cleared at all but one tournament in her senior year, won multiple speaker awards, and reached two career bid rounds. She was the champion of the first NSD Philadelphia Camp Tournament (then named NSD Northeast). In her free time, Aysha plays piano, reads, and eats sushi. 

Debate Interests: Judith Butler, Non-Topical/Performance Positions, and Theory.

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.

Students will be staying in Denbigh 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 Denbigh. 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. Regular applications are due May 30th and financial aid applications are due May 15th. 

NSD Philadelphia (7/16 – 7/29): $2695

How to Apply: Parent and student read 1—9 below before you begin.

1.     Read the NSD rules.


2.     Fill out the application here.

NSD Philadelphia Application

   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.