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!

NSD’s curriculum does it differently than most camps. Time in a camp day is limited, and two weeks is a short time, so our curriculum is designed to ensure we aren’t wasting anyone’s time. Lots of camps fill time with needless lectures that staff throw together the night before. At NSD, we prepare a few lectures ahead of time on only essential, key skills and the current topic. Almost the entire remainder of camp time, whether in lab or in an individualized mentorship session, is dedicated to applying these skills through practice rounds and drills. This way, every single student leaves camp with tons of experience honing fundamental skills.

The extra practice round and drill time we offer also allows us to ensure that students can actually apply the concepts they’ve learned from lectures. Often, students will understand what they have to do in theory, but will struggle executing high-level speeches or may not even be noticing where they’re getting tripped up. The only way to solve these problems is through consistent practice with an instructor offering feedback, which is why NSD PF’s curriculum makes sure to devote enough time to drills and rounds.

Labs

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. Lab time is different from most camps, where instructors have students do topic research while they sit at the front of the room and wait to see if anyone has questions. At NSD, instructors take a hands-on approach and will constantly involve students in drills and practice debates. These drills will correspond to lectures and will ask students to apply the skills they learn in lectures. This way, students can make sure they fully understand and internalize the skills they are taught.


Lectures

The lectures we offer will each taught by two faculty members, break down different essential skills into half-hour seminars. Each lecture is tailored to be accessible at different experience levels and helps students develop and distill techniques that they can later practice repeatedly during lab time and mentorship time. Each lecture will educate debaters about skills that are crucial to success (casing, rebuttal, summary, final focus, analysis) and provide a depth of insight that will help even the best debaters improve.

Mentors

Each student at NSD will be assigned a staff mentor to meet with every other day. In these mentorship sessions, students can personalize meetings to have instructors review any skill they find they need more help with. This way, every single student is guaranteed one-on-one time to help them wherever they feel they need the most improvement. These more individualized interactions make sure nobody falls behind. If a student is struggling with a certain skill, they always have the time to go over that area of weakness one-on-one with a staff member.

Practice Rounds

At NSD, every student is guaranteed to compete against fellow campers in at least 15 practice debates. These debates will happen on previous topics as well as the upcoming September/October topic for the 2018-2019 season. After each debate, instructors will provide extensive feedback on what students can do to improve. These practice rounds will culminate 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 and earned 15 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. In 3 years, his teams have cumulatively amassed 27 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, been invited to the Harvard Round Robin 5 times, and been ranked in the top 10 in the country every year he’s coached.

 



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Pranav Baskar

Pranav competed in Public Forum for four years at Princeton High School. In his career, he qualified to the Tournament of Champions thrice, reaching octafinals at the tournament last year. This past year, Pranav has been ranked as high as fourth in the nation, reaching quarterfinals at the Yale Invitational and the Princeton Classic. He was also the top speaker at the New York City Invitational and at the Harvard Round Robin, and he was 6th speaker at the TOC. In his free time, Pranav enjoys solving crosswords, writing, and spending time with his friends.

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Malcolm Davis

Malcolm Davis competed for Newton South High School, where he championed the Bronx Round Robin, reached finals at the Harvard Round Robin, reached semifinals at the Yale Invitational, and reached quarterfinals of the Tournament of Champions. Malcolm now coaches for Strath Haven High School in Pennsylvania, where his students have championed the Bronx Round Robin, the Villiger invitational, and the Lexington Invitational.

 

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Ozan Ergungor

Debating for Hawken High School, Ozan Ergungor won the Apple Valley Tournament, the Sunvitational, and the Barkley Forum. He was also a finalist at Blake Tournament and Stanford Invitational and a semifinalist at the Tournament of Champions. He ended his senior year ranked 1st in the country on Vbriefly. Now, Ozan coaches for Edgemont High School in New York.

 

 

Anson Fung

Anson Fung is a senior at Rice University.  He has served as the assistant PF coach for Strake Jesuit College Preparatory for 3 years.  This past year, his PF teams have accrued 10 bids to the TOC at major national tournaments such as Myers Park, Sunvite, and Barkley Forum.  Notably, his team of Pierce Hollier and Daniel Wang won the Glenbrooks tournament.  Anson debated in public forum for one year in high school and won the University of Texas tournament and placed third at TFA state.

 

Daniel Ju

Daniel Ju is currently a senior at Stuyvesant High School in NYC where he has debated for four years--serving as captain and junior varsity director as a junior and senior. Competitively, Daniel has accrued fifteen bids to the tournament of champions and was named top speaker at two major national tournaments: Princeton and Blake. He also championed the Harvard round robin and finaled at the Glenbrooks tournament and the Harvard Invitational. He is incredibly excited to share his love for debate, public speaking, and public policy with campers this summer!

Keshav Kundassery

Keshav Kundassery competed in Public Forum for 4 years at Mission San Jose High School in California where he captained the PF team. He reached the final round of the TOC, won the Harvard Round Robin, won the University of the Pacific tournament, co-championed the Presentation Invitational and Presentation Round Robin, and reached quarterfinals at the NCFL National tournament, the California State Tournament, the Glenbrooks, Apple Valley, Stanford, Harker, and the Kandi King Round Robin. He received speaker awards at the TOC, Stanford, Berkeley, and Presentation. In the 2017-18 season, he coached the Capitol debate team to nine total bids including semifinal appearances at the George Mason and Laird Lewis Invitationals. He will be going into his second year at Vanderbilt University.

 

 

 

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Eva Motolinia

Eva Motolinia attended The Blake School in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where she was the co-captain of the debate team. She qualified to the TOC three years in a row, won NDCA as a junior and is a recipient of the Tamar Kaplan Student of the Year Award. Eva has reached outrounds at Glenbrooks, Apple Valley, Harvard, Bronx, Penn, and others. As a senior, she took second place at her state tournament, closed out finals at The Milo Cup, qualified to NSDA nationals, and reached elimination rounds at the ToC.

 

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Elizabeth Raab

Elizabeth Raab is a senior at Horace Mann, where she serves as co-president of the debate team. She has reached octofinals at the Tournament of Champions, as well as elimination rounds at Yale, Blake, Lexington, Columbia, and Harvard, notably semifinaling at the Blake Invitational her junior year. Elizabeth will be attending Yale University in the fall.

 

 

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Celia Silver

Celia Silver competed for Princeton High School for 4 years. As a senior, she was the co-president and Public Forum captain of her team. She qualified for the TOC both her junior and senior years, and was ranked as high as 4th in the nation. She has quarterfinaled at Yale and Princeton, octafinaled at the TOC and competed in the Harvard Round Robin. She is looking forward to coaching this summer!

 

 

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Daniel Wang

Daniel Wang competed in public forum for 4 years at Strake Jesuit in Houston, Texas where he co-captained the PF program his sophomore, junior, and senior years. He obtained 6 career bids, and his accomplishments include breaking at the Tournament of Champions, reaching finals at Grapevine, quarter-finals at the Barkley Forum, semi-finals at TFA State and most notably, championing the Glenbrooks tournament. He is excited to be working at NSD this summer.

 

 

 

Max Wu

Max Wu debated for Mission San Jose HS in Fremont, California. Over his four years competing in Public Forum, he reached deep elimination rounds at almost every tournament he attended and collected a total of 13 bids. Some of his notable achievements include reaching the final round of the 2016 Tournament of Champions, championing the 2017 Harvard Round Robin, and being ranked as one of the top 10 best teams in the country in both his junior and senior year. Max will be a sophomore at the University of Chicago next year; he hopes to double major in Political Science and Philosophy, and is very excited to be working at NSD!

 

 

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Kelly Zheng

Kelly Zheng is a senior at Miramonte High School in Northern California, where she serves as a team president. Kelly has reached late elimination rounds at tournaments such as the University of the Pacific, SCU, and the UC Berkeley Invitational. Notably, she semifinaled and won first place speaker at the Berkeley Invitational and championed the SCU Invitational. Besides competing in PF, Kelly also competed in International Extemporaneous Speaking (IX). In IX, she quarterfinaled at the Berkeley Invitational, placed first at the California State Championship, and reached the Top 30 at NSDA Nationals. Kelly will be attending the University of Chicago in the fall, and until college starts, she looks forward to working with students at NSD!

The NSD Public Forum Institute takes place July 22-August 4 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.

Bryn Mawr has 24/7 Housing Staff always available to NSD and its students.

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.

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 Public Forum at Bryn Mawr College is accepting applications now!

NSD Public Forum (7/22 - 8/04): $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 info@nationalsymposiumfordebate.com.


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 info@nationalsymposiumfordebate.com 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.