Director: Ben Kessler

NSD’s brand new Public Forum camp offers a rigorous, innovative, and personalized approach to debate curriculum, focused on building and refining fundamental skills to allow debaters to succeed year-round. Our curriculum embraces all skill levels and includes lectures on specific debate skills, workshop periods for refining technique, constructive lab periods for organized research and further practice, a mentorship program for individualized instruction, and plenty of practice debates. In everything we do, we strive to create a close-knit environment where our students can work closely with the faculty in small groups. Click here to return to the home page and read about why NSD does it better. Look below to learn more about the PF session!


Students are grouped into labs based on experience level, and these groups form the backbone of the NSD experience. Small lab pairings, led by experienced instructors, ensure individualized attention and encourage a sense of camaraderie.


Our lectures, each taught by two faculty members, break down different essential skills into hour-long seminars. Each lecture is tailored to be accessible at different experience levels and helps students develop and distill techniques that will stick with them long after they’ve left camp.


Workshops allow students to hone the skills they have learned through lectures. In small groups, our staff will lead students in drills designed to reinforce instruction and refine abilities.


Each student at NSD will be assigned a mentor to meet with every other day. In these mentorship meetings, students can personalize sessions to have instructors review anything from cases to crossfire.

Practice Rounds

At NSD, every student is guaranteed to compete against fellow campers in at least 12 practice debates. After each debate, instructors will provide extensive feedback on what students can do to improve. Some of these practice rounds will occur in the annual NSD Camp Tournament, which occurs at the end of camp and provides a final opportunity for students to showcase the skills they have learned.

Return Soon for More Staff Announcements!

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Ben Kessler, Director of NSD Public Forum

Ben Kessler debated for Stuyvesant High School for 4 years, where he was the Public Forum Captain. Over this time, Ben was among the top 5 speakers at the New York City Invitational, Columbia Invitational, Crestian Tradition Tournament, and the Scarsdale Invitational. In his senior year, Ben finished ranked 2nd in the country and earned 11 bids to the Tournament of Champions, where he semifinaled. Ben also championed the Blake Tournament, the George Mason Invitational, the Columbia Invitational, and the NCFL Grandnational Championship. Since graduating, Ben has coached teams from Hunter High School in New York. His teams have cumulatively amassed 16 bids to the Tournament of Champions, where 2 of his teams have advanced to the octafinal round. His teams have also championed the New York City Invitational, Columbia Invitational, Princeton Invitational, and Villiger Invitational. 

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Zachary Ginsberg, Senior Instructor

Zachary Ginsberg debated for four years at Stuyvesant High School, serving as the president of the team in his senior year. He has earned a total of 13 bids to the Tournament of Champions over the course of his career and is currently ranked 4th in the nation. Zach has reached finals at the Scarsdale Invitational, and he has reached semifinals at Blake, GMU, Ridge, Bronx, Glenbrooks, and Princeton. Additionally, he has been among the top five speakers at Bronx, Harvard, and Columbia. Zach is excited to teach at NSD!

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Caroline Wohl, Senior Instructor

Caroline Wohl competed for Summit High School in New Jersey, graduating in 2016. At Summit, Caroline qualified to the TOC in both her Junior and Senior year, the first Summit team to do so. While competing, she reached elimination rounds at Yale, Bronx, Princeton, Laird, Lexington, Harvard, TOC, and Nationals, earning 5 career bids. In addition, Caroline earned numerous speaker awards, including top 10 at Yale, Bronx, Princeton, and Laird. Her senior year, Caroline was ranked in the top 50 nationally. Caroline now studies Political Economics at Georgetown University.




Asher Spector

Asher Spector has debated Public Forum for four years at Horace Mann high school in the Bronx and is currently the president of his team.  His junior year, Asher earned two bids to the tournament of champions at the Lexington and Bronx Science tournaments and placed 6th overall at the NSDA national tournament. So far in his senior year, Asher has received another four bids to the TOC and reached late elimination rounds at the Blake, Lexington, Bronx Science, and Yale tournaments. He has also won top 10 speaker awards at Princeton, Lexington, and the New York City Invitational. Additionally, Asher’s novices recently championed the 2016 Ridge Novice Invitational. He’s looking forward to teaching at NSD this summer!



The NSD Public Forum Institute takes place July 23-August 5 and 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 Public Forum 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 Public Forum (7/23 – 8/5): $2695

1.     Read the NSD rules.


2.     Fill out the application here.

  NSD Public Forum Application

If you intend on applying for financial aid and/or a segment of a camp session, click here.


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.