Public Forum

Skill and Strategy Development for All Levels of Public Forum Debate

We provide students of varying levels of experience with the opportunity to explore aspects of Public Forum Debate in a guided setting. From learning basics to advanced strategies, the workshop meets students at their current level and propels them to the next level. Individualized instruction focusing on skill development is provided to each student within a small group laboratory setting (6:1 student to instructor ratio). Students debate an average of 14 rounds (within lab, between labs, and tournament rounds). A workshop practice tournament is held the final two days to provide each student with competition experience.

Level: All Levels

Appropriate for all experience levels. Students are tracked by experience level in small group lab settings.

Summer 2020 Sessions

Session 1: Sunday June 28, 2020 through Friday July 10, 2020

Session 2: Sunday July 12, 2020 through Friday July 24, 2020


Commuter: $2,199

Resident: $3,299

We recognize PF is one of the most popular forms of debate and we welcome students from across the US and from abroad. Harvard Debate Council believes in the ability of debate to help engage and change the world and is a leader in international debate experiences, providing students from around the world the opportunity to study different forms of debate on the Harvard campus each summer.

Knowledgeable faculty lecture on topic areas relevant to resolutions debated throughout the year as well as on key public forum strategies and techniques.

After the first week, the workshop focuses on preparation for the tournament practicum. Two days are dedicated to intensive practice including interlab stop/start and redo debates as well as debates within lab. The final two days are devoted to the practice tournament. Throughout the practice tournament, the staff continues to find teachable moments – from modeling tournament practices, to encouraging students to refine arguments and techniques, to strategizing with students, helping them to improve their debating in each successive round. All students not competing in elimination rounds of the practice tournament will judge.


About Program


Experienced and dedicated coaches – working in concert with recent high school and college debate competitors – are committed to individualized student learning and personal improvement, enabling students to achieve their goals for the next year. This happens in a unique and rigorous ivy league atmosphere, inspiring students to achieve.

Sample Schedule

8:30am Lecture (topic or strategy/technique)
9:30am Lab debrief, individualized instruction, student research and case creation
11:30am Lunch
1:00pm Elective Lectures (medium groups)
2:00pm Lab debrief and individualized instruction, student research, case creation, block writing, practice speeches/debates
5:00pm Dinner
7:00pm Skills Classes (in small groups) or individualized case/research development
9:00pm Class Dismissal

Hear from Students

Key Skills

Learning Objectives


Topic Analysis

Learn how best to approach and research topics

Research Techinques

Research using the most efficient and reliable methods

Case Construction

Craft cases ready to win at the national level

Debate Strategies

Learn argumentative and rhetorical strategies for winning

Debate Tournament Experience

Extensive experience debating with other students in front of faculty
Our Excellent Faculty


Martin Zacharia

Martin Zacharia

Curriculum Director

Martin Zacharia is the Head Debate Coach at William Fremd High School in Palatine, Illinois, where he has been a faculty member for the last 12 years. Fremd’s Debate Team currently consists of over 80 students who compete in Public Forum, Congressional, and Lincoln-Douglas Debate. He is a One-Diamond Award Recipient from the National Speech and Debate Association and a member of the IHSA State Debate Committee. Over the last three years, Fremd Debaters have won ICTA N/JV State Championships in all six competitive divisions in LD, PF, and Congress. At the 2017 IHSA Varsity State Tournament, Fremd entered elimination rounds as the Top Seed in both Public Forum and Lincoln-Douglas Debate and earned the greatest number of medalists of any school in Illinois, including Top Speaker in Public Forum Debate. In 2017, Martin was elected the Illinois Communication and Theatre Association Head Coach of the Year. This will be Martin’s 5th summer with HDCSW.


Jennifer Schraeder

Jennifer Schraeder


School Affiliation: Archbishop McCarthy (FL)

Title: Director of Speech & Debate

Number of Years at School: 3 years (2014-2017)

High School/College Debate Experience: Policy debater at Groves High School (MI) and Wayne State University (MI)

Coaching Experience: 2 years policy at Wayne State University, 2 years parli in South Korea, 2 years public forum in China, 3 years all events at Archbishop McCarthy

Years Previously Taught at other workshops:  5 summers teaching at HDCSW (public forum, parli, public speaking and argument), 2 summers teaching at JDI (policy)

Mike Wascher

Mike Wascher

School Affiliation: Lake Highland Prep

Title: Public Forum Debate Coach

Number of Years at School: 10

High School/College Debate Experience: 4 years high school, 4 years college at Bradley University.  Attended college on a debate scholarship

Coaching Experience: current period – 17 years (Montgomery Academy (Policy), Celebration High School (Policy and LD) , Lake Highland Prep (LD and PF) – also coached for three years after college

Other Relevant Info: Coached a semifinalist or finalist at one of the four national tournaments in each of the last 10 years.  Two national champions (NSDA and CNAT), finalists (TOC twice, NDCA), semi-finalists (CNAT, TOC)

Years Previously Taught at HDCSW: 1

Years Previously Taught at other workshops: 16

Cory Ackerman

Cory Ackerman


School Affiliation: Fairmont Preparatory Academy

Title: Director of Debate

Number of Years at School: 1

High School/College Debate Experience: 4 years high school policy, 2 years college policy

Coaching Experience: Assistant Director of Debate at Rutgers Newark, Senior Coach at Asian Debate League, Senior Instructor at Capitol Debate, Assistant coach at Lake Highland Prep, Director of Debate at Fairmont Preparatory Academy

Other Relevant Info: Coached the 2016 Middle School Nationals Champions, fluent in Mandarin

Years Previously Taught at other workshops: Asian Debate League summer workshops, Capitol Debate summer camps

Matt Stannard

Matt Stannard

School Affiliation: Climb the Mountain Speech & Debate, formerly University of Wyoming, J.D. Wyoming College of Law
Title: Outreach Coordinator at Climb the Mountain Speech and Debate, former Director of Forensics at University of Wyoming
Number of Years at School: 11
High School/College Debate Experience: policy debater throughout high school and college, West Jordan High School (Utah), Weber State University
Coaching Experience: 15 years coaching all debate events at University of Wyoming, CSU-Long Beach, and College of Eastern Utah
Other Relevant Info: Coached NPDA/NPTE national parliamentary debate champions, regional and district championships in NDT/CEDA, elimination round participants at NDT, CEDA, NPDA, NPTE
Years Previously Taught at other workshops: Wyoming Forensics Institute 8 years, Sun Country Forensics Institute 6 years, Emory National Debate Institute 1 year, Asian Debate Institute 1 year, Ehwa Women’s University Debate Workshop 1 year, Iraq Debate Institute 1 year
Harry Ren

Harry Ren


Harry has debated for Cranbrook for four years. He has amassed 3 career bids to the TOC and appeared in outrounds of many tournaments including UK, Bronx, Dowling, NDCA, and Jack Howe. He also semifinaled at the peach state classic, finaled at the University of Michigan Tournament, and finaled at the 2018 Michigan state tournament.

Rebecca Bosslet

Rebecca Bosslet


School Affiliation: Enreach Education

Title: Debate and Public Speaking Coach

Number of Years at School: 1

High School/College Debate Experience: Participated in Public Forum in high school

Coaching Experience: 1 year as a coach at Enreach Education in Shanghai.

Bio: IHSA Varsity State Quarterfinalist in 2010, I’ve judged IHSA state for three years and also judged at other NSDA and Illinois local tournaments. I also have volunteered with William Fremd High School’s debate team (Palatine, IL)

Stella Connaughton

Stella Connaughton

School Affiliation: Bronx High School of Science

Title: Director of Research for Bronx Science debate team

Number of Years at School: 4 (soon to be college freshman)

High School/College Debate Experience:

Competed in Public Forum Debate for four years. Qualifier to the Tournament of Champions in Public Forum for two years, participating in outrounds in tournaments such as Apple Valley, Sunvitational and the Florida Blue Key. 

Coaching Experience: Taught at UDL workshops for one year. I have worked with middle school public forum debaters for almost two years and frequently volunteer in my local community and circuit to make debate an activity that can be accessible by all.


Max Albert

Max Albert


School Affiliation: College Student

High School/College Debate Experience: 4 years participating in Public Forum debate ● 1st speaker in NJ Public Forum debate. Since I became captain (2014-­2015) and garnered the ability to travel and debate nationally, my experience includes: ● Top 32 internationally: International Public Policy Forum (Still ongoing) ● Octofinalist at Blue Key (TOC bid) ● Quarter finalist at Malcolm A. Bump Memorial Tournament ● Quarter finalist at Princeton Classic (TOC bid) ● 5th speaker at Princeton Classic ● Semi­finalist at Ridge Debates (TOC bid) ● 3rd speaker at Ridge Debates

Sonny Patel

Sonny Patel


School Affiliation: University of Chicago Lab Schools, Chicago IL
Title: Head Debate Coach
Number of years at school: 2
Debate experience: 4 years high school policy debate at Maine East, Park Ridge Illinois. 2 years college debate in modified public forum style, A. Craig Baird Debate Forum at the University of Iowa
Coaching Experience: 2 years policy coach at University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, 2 years public forum coach at William Fremd High School, Palatine IL.

Other Relevant Info:
Sonny has coached top speakers and teams to elims at several national circuit policy debate tournaments across the US, as well as coached teams to elims and finals at Illinois State championships in public forum.
2016 – Assistant coach of the year, Illinois Communication and Theatre Association
2013 – Oral presentation: “Debate as a graduate medical pedagogy,” AMSA National Convention medical conference, Washington DC.
2012 – Moderator, Public debate at the University of Illinois at Chicago on the Affordable Care Act, debaters included past presidents of the American Medial Association, Physicians for a National Health Plan, Chicago Medical Society, and the Rosalind Franklin School of Medicine

Daniel C. Garrison

Daniel C. Garrison


Daniel Garrison is a returning instructor with 8 years of debating and coaching experience. He recently graduated with a degree in marketing and is preparing to get his master’s in education. Daniel (who commonly goes by Garrison) believes that debate is one of the few HS/MS activities that truly creates well rounded and educated students that are prepared for the real world. He returns every year to HDCSW because he is glad to be apart of a debating workshop that educates students on a variety of subjects with a world view through critical thinking and assessment, not just discussing and debating the topic.

High School/College Debate Experience: Former debater at Holy Cross School (3yrs), 3-year public forum debater. Also participated in several other debate and speech events (Congress,OO,DUO,EXT).  Member of the inaugural United States World Schools debate team or “USA Debate” Class of 2014.

Coaching Experience: Minimal Coaching during HS, a semester coaching at Holy Cross during college, and several months as a digital coach with 3PSpeech.  

Years Previously Taught at HDCSW: 4

Harrison Giovannelli

Harrison Giovannelli

Name: School Affiliation: The Bronx High School of Science

Title: Team Captain

Number of Years at School: 4 years

High School/College Debate Experience: 4 years of Public Forum Debate

Coaching Experience: Helped coach middle school students for 4 years through the NYC Urban Debate League

Years Previously Taught at other workshops: 2 years (at middle school debate camps in NYC)

Towsif Ahasan

Towsif Ahasan

Towsif has worked previously at the Harvard Debate Camp Summer Workshop for three summers, and coached the Boston Latin Debate School Public Forum Debate Team for over three years. He has also worked as a sales operations analyst for John Hancock, and as a research assistant at the Global Resilience Institute. Towsif has also earned his B.S. in economics and business, with a marketing concentration, in 2018.

Emma Smith

Emma Smith


School Affiliation: Nova High School

Title: Middle School Coach, Public Forum Captain

Number of Years at School: 4 High

School/College Debate Experience If Any: Emma has earned 5 TOC bids and appeared in late outrounds at numerous tournaments throughout her time in high school debate including semifinals at Crestian and The Sunvitational, quarterfinals at the Florida Blue Key, and octofinals at The Barkley Forum. She has also placed 3rd at the Blue Key Round Robin, placed 2nd at the Crestian Round Robin, finished in 15th place at NSDA Nationals, earned top varsity speaker at the 2019 Harvard Invitational, and has been ranked as high as 19th in the country.

Coaching Experience: Emma served as Middle School PF Captain during her junior year to build a successful Public Forum team at Nova Middle School and helped coach her team’s novices to win the FFL Novice State Championship two years in a row.

Jon Williamson

Jon Williamson


School Affiliation: Piper High School, FL

Title: Director of Forensics & Social Studies Teacher

Number of Years at School: 1

High School/College Debate Experience: 4 years HS policy, 2 years college policy, 1 year college

Coaching Experience: 2006-2012 – coached policy debate teams in WA and CA 2012-2015 – coach / director of forensics at Oxford Academy, CA (policy, parli, PF, congress) 2016-2017 – Assistant Director of Forensics – Flanagan HS (PF, congress) 2017-2018 – Assistant Director of Forensics – Nova HS (PF, LD, congress) 2018-2019 – Director of Forensics – Piper HS (All Events)

Other Relevant Info: Coach – 2008 Washington State Champion (Policy Debate) Competitor – 2010 NPDA National Quarter-Finalist (Parliamentary Debate) Coach – 2015 NSDA National Champion (Congress-Senate) Coach – 2017 TOC/NSDA Octo-Finalists (Public Forum) Coach – 2018 Florida Novice State Champion (Public Forum) Coach – 2018 NSDA Double Octo-Finalists (Public Forum)

Years Previously Taught at HDCSW: 1

Years Previously Taught at other Workshops: 3

Yaseen Mozaffar

Yaseen Mozaffar

School Affiliation: University of Oklahoma, Parli Debate Team Captain

High School/College Debate Experience: 4 years of competing in high school Public Forum (Illinois State Champion 2016 & 2017), 2 years of competing in collegiate parliamentary debate (Oklahoma State Champion 2018, National Parliamentary Tournament of Excellence qualifier 2018, ranked as high as #19 nationally)

Coaching Experience: 2 years of coaching/ judging high school PF & LD, helped coach 2018 Illinois State Champs in PF

Lily Kozak


School Affiliation: Temple University

Title: Undergraduate Student

Number of Years at School: 2

High School/College Debate Experience If Any: Public Forum Debate State Champion, Illinois High School Association, 2016 & 2017. Illinois All-State Speaker, 2016 & 2017. PF Captain, Carl Sandburg High School, 2016 & 2017

Coaching Experience: Assisted in high school coaching for ICTA & IHSA 2018

Years Previously Taught at HDCSW: None

Years Previously Taught at other workshops: 4, Carl Sandburg High School Novice PF Workshop

Register for 2020

Applications open October 15th and are due by January 31st, 2020.