Directors: Chris Castillo and Jenn Melin

NSD Texas is a two week intensive summer institute targeted towards the nuances of debating Lincoln-Douglas in the Texas region. We believe that the Texas circuit is one of the most competitive regions in the country, but moreover that debating and succeeding in Texas warrants a nuanced and specifically focused curriculum for the state; something that no other summer institute provides. Staffed by the best coaches and debaters in Texas, NSD Texas provides a comprehensive curriculum for success in the Lone Star state. Click here to read about our curriculum, mission, and why NSD does it better. Look below for information on the NSD Texas session!

NSD Texas is designed to provide a rigorous and supportive environment for Texas LD debaters at all levels of experience and success, and across diverse styles of debate. As one of the most competitive states for high school LD, Texas hosts a number of local circuits, each one competitive and unique. NSD Texas is primarily aimed at helping students from Texas develop the skills and knowledge needed to excel at all levels of competition, including the UIL, TFA, and TOC circuits. For students from other states wanting to do well at the TOC tournaments in the lone star state, NSD Texas will offer the opportunity to develop the keys to success with some of Texas’ most successful coaches and recent competitors. Click here for an overview of our curriculum and why NSD does debate camp better. Read below for the specificities of the Texas curriculum. 


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 Texas 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).


At NSD Texas, 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 Texas will have at least 7 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!


Jenn Melin, Director of NSD Texas

University of North Texas, BA

Jenn Melin has been active in the national and Texas debate communities for fifteen years.  As a coach her students have been in out rounds of virtually every major national tournament. She has coached champions of the Grapevine and University of Texas TOC Bid Tournaments. Jenn has qualified thirteen different students to the TOC, with a significant number of those qualifications coming from small Texas programs with travel restrictions. She has qualified almost every student she’s ever coached to TFA State; culminating in a record setting fourteen LD qualifications in a single year. She coached the 2016 Grapevine runner-up.  Her students have participated in out rounds of both TOC and TFA. Jenn has also coached a UIL 5A State Champion.This will be her second year directing NSD Texas. 

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Chris Castillo, Director of NSD Texas

University of Houston, BA

Chris has been the Head LD Coach at Strake Jesuit in Houston, TX for 10 years. He has coached the champions of Grapevine, UT Austin, University of Houston, St. Mark's, Lexington, CPS, Victory Briefs (now Harvard-Westlake), and Berkeley.  He is also the coach of the 2018 TFA State champion. He has coached students to finals at every TOC bid tournament in Texas along with at least semifinalists at 8 different TOC Octafinal bid tournaments. His debaters have won the Greenhill, Lake Highland Prep, Bronx, Sunvite, and TDC round robins and have been named top speakers at Greenhill, St. Mark's, TFA State, Stanford, Harvard to name a few.  Chris has worked for 17 years as a coach, judge, tabroom director, and institute director.  He is currently a member of the National Speech and Debate Association LD topic wording committee. A staple of the community and a common sight at nearly every major national tournament, Chris was awarded the Bronx Achievement Award for his contributions to the debate community.


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Jada Bourne

Keller HS 19’

Howard University 23’

Jada debated for 2.5 years at Keller High School in Texas where she served as team captain her Senior year. During her time on the team, she assisted in teaching the intro to debate classes, coaching the novice LD and Policy teams, and helped create a middle school debate program. Jada qualified for TFA State her Junior and Senior year, as well as reaching out rounds of Grapevine, UT, Colleyville, and Harvard. Her debate interests include antiblackness literature, performance debate, and topicality arguments. Outside of debate, Jada enjoys volunteering, dance, and traveling. She is incredibly excited to be a part of the NSD staff this summer!


Grayson Constantine

Montgomery High School, TX' ‘19

Grayson Constantine debated for four years at Montgomery High School and did national circuit LD for the last two. Over his four years, he made it to out-rounds of TFA state, UIL state, and qualified to Nationals and the TOC. So far this year, he has accumulated four career bids and five more bid rounds. Some notable achievements are making it to at least the bid round of every tournament he attended, making it to late out-rounds of Grapevine, Heritage Hall, and Strake Jesuit, and co-championing the Strake Round Robin and the University of Houston tournament. His debate interests centered around high-theory kritiks, but he’s familiar with framework and theory debate as well. He’s super excited to teach over the summer and share his passion for debate with others!


Kati Johnson

B&K Prep, TX, ‘19

Colorado State University, CO ‘23

Kati debated for three years: one at Lovejoy high school and the remaining as a homeschooled student (B&K Prep). All three years of her debate career she qualified for TFA state, earning more than a total of 60 state points, as well as qualifying to NSDA nationals her freshman year. She went to three bid tournaments her senior year, breaking at all three and reaching the bid round at two. A proud volunteer for the Dallas Urban Debate League, Kati absolutely loves coaching and spends most of her free time working with low-income debaters and helping teams with minimal help. Her debate interests include kritikal arguments with a concentration in performance, indigeneity, and affect theory. She will be attending Colorado State University in the fall where she will be dual-majoring in Women’s and Gender Studies and Ethnic Studies. Kati cannot wait to return to debate camp as an instructor!


Sesh Joe

Anderson High School, TX '19

Washington University in St. Louis, MO '23

Sesh debated for Anderson High School for four years. He qualified for TFA State every season, breaking as 4th seed his sophomore year. During his senior year, he received 5 bids at Glenbrooks, St. Mark's, Berkeley, UT, and Churchill. He championed the Strake Round Robin, the Winston Churchill Classic, and the Longhorn Classic, and received top speaker at the Strake Jesuit tournament, the Strake Round Robin and St. Marks.

Beckett Larcher

Lake Travis High School, TX ‘19

Beckett Larcher debated independently at Lake Travis High School for 3 years. Beckett has received 5 bids to the Tournament of Champions, reaching the quarterfinals of the New York City Invitational and the Mid America Cup, Octafinals at both Greenhill and Apple Valley, and finals at the Lake Highland Round Robin. He was the 3rd speaker at both the Voices Invitational and the Lake Highland Round Robin, and was also the 5th speaker at the Mid America Cup. Beckett specializes in critical debate surrounding psychoanalysis and disability.

Samir Mohsin

Southlake Carroll High School, TX ‘19

Samir debated for 4 years at Southlake Carroll High School in Texas. He qualified to TFA state his sophomore, junior, and senior year, reaching quarters his junior year and qualified to the Tournament of Champions his senior year. His debate interests center around policy style arguments/LARP-ing. Outside of debate Samir enjoys traveling, listening to new music, and eating good food.

Tate Weston

James Bowie High School, TX ‘18

Tate debated for James Bowie high school in Austin Texas for four years. He qualified to the TOC his senior year, championed the University of Texas tournament, placed 3rd at the Strake Jesuit tournament and Round Robin, and received speaker awards at every tournament he attended. Tate's interests include almost all branches of kritik debate with a particular focus on Deleuze, Wynter, Baudrillard, and Lacan

The NSD Texas Institute takes place July 14-27 and is located at the University of Houston. Easily accessible from both Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) and William P. Hobby Airport, the University of Houston provides a central location for students all over Texas and beyond to come together to work in an inclusive environment designed to help them succeed on the Texas circuit. 

NSD provides students with Lunch and Dinner services. Students will be able to get snack and sundries throughout the day in the dorm at the many active campus markets, located in the dorms, libraries and classroom buildings. Breakfast food is not provided by NSD. Students and staff should bring granola bars, pop tarts, cereal, fruit and 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 Institute Directors, Chris Castillo and Jenn Miller-Melin. Attendance is monitored by staff. There is roll call in the morning and room checks at midnight.

General security is provided by the University of Houston Police Department as well as the 24-hour dorm staff.

Computer access and internet are available. We strongly encourage students to bring their own laptops.

There will be Free Day midway through camp. There are no classes until after dinner. Staff will provide students with the options of attending supervised outings to museums, movies, or local Houston attractions. Students can also choose to stay close to campus and take advantage of campus resources. 


NSD Texas is accepting applications now!

NSD Texas (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.