Summer Think Tank for Public Forum Debate

Summer Think Tank

Hosted on the stunning Stanford campus, our competitive PF program brings together top-tier coaches, a practice-intensive curriculum, and dynamic tailored instruction that will facilitate the skills you or your student need to excel in debate.

National-Level Coaching:

At our camp, you'll have the opportunity to learn from some of the most respected coaches in the country. With years of experience and a proven track record of success at national tournaments, our instructors are dedicated to providing personalized guidance and mentorship to each participant, helping you refine your arguments, enhance your delivery, and master the art of persuasion. Your coaches are currently active in PF and know what argument styles, skills, and formats are needed to excel in your local circuit or nationally.

Practice-Intensive Curriculum:

We fundamentally understand that practice makes perfect. Our curriculum follows the C2A model. We focus on concepts in the morning and then transfer those concepts to application almost immediately. Hence, concept to application or C2A. C2A means you or your student will learn a new rebuttal strategy and have several drills, practices, or activities that will ensure that skill is being developed. Every day is scheduled with this relationship in mind where students should have goals they are measurably achieving as the camp progresses. Feedback is critical to this process as well. Students will receive constant feedback so they can adjust and repeat exercises to grow within the two weeks of camp.

Dynamic Tailoring Means Two Divisions, One Goal:

With separate divisions for novice and varsity debaters, our program ensures that every participant receives instruction and challenges suited to their level of experience. We send out a student survey before camp to adapt our labs and lesson plans. Each of your instructors will get a summary of that survey to better understand how to tailor their respective labs. Whether you're just starting your debate journey or looking to fine-tune your skills at the highest circuit level, you'll find a supportive community of peers and mentors ready to help you succeed.

Don't miss your chance to be part of this unparalleled opportunity to elevate your debate skills, forge lasting connections, and prepare for success on the national stage.


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The Speech and Debate Summer Think Tank offers Public Forum competitors two distinct program options: 


Week 1: Advanced Topic Exploration

  • In-depth Topic Analysis: Varsity debaters will engage in comprehensive analysis of the current debate topics, exploring nuanced arguments, identifying key trends, and evaluating potential strategies for case construction.
  • Advanced Research Techniques: Participants will hone their research skills, delving into specialized databases, scholarly sources, and expert analyses to uncover cutting-edge evidence and develop nuanced arguments.
  • Case Development Intensives: Debaters will participate in intensive workshops focused on advanced case construction, refining their contentions, strengthening their impacts, and incorporating sophisticated evidence and analysis into their cases.
  • Crossfire Mastery: Varsity participants will sharpen their crossfire skills, mastering advanced techniques for strategic questioning, effective rebuttals, and skillful navigation of cross-examination exchanges.

Week 2: Tournament Preparation and Strategy

  • Crossfire Mastery: Varsity participants will sharpen their crossfire skills, mastering advanced techniques for strategic questioning, effective rebuttals, and skillful navigation of cross-examination exchanges.

  • Weighing: Varsity students will master weighing mechanisms in order to prepare better extension documents and prevail in farther out-rounds.

  • Adaptation: We will discuss in depth how to adapt cases, rhetoric, and organization given different paradigms of judges.

  • Tech & Theory: Varsity students will get a Tech & Theory 101 course. They will leave with the basic knowledge of how to avoid theoretical violations and develop their own if needed. They will also be instructed on the structures of how to respond to Kritiks and how they function in PF in 2024.

  • Flowing and Analysis: Participants will deepen their understanding of debate flow, learning advanced techniques for efficient note-taking, accurate analysis of arguments, and strategic organization of information to enhance decision-making in rounds.

  • Tournament Simulation: Debaters will engage in a tournament at the end of camp participating in debates with fellow participants and receiving feedback from experienced coaches to fine-tune their strategies and techniques.

Throughout the camp, varsity participants will have the opportunity to interact with renowned guest speakers, engage in collaborative strategy sessions, and network with fellow debaters from across the country to enhance their understanding of debate theory and refine their competitive edge.


Week 1: Foundations of Debate

    • Introduction to Public Forum Debate: Participants will learn the basic structure, format, and rules of Public Forum Debate, including speech timings, crossfire techniques, and judging criteria.
    • Research Skills Workshop: Debaters will acquire essential research skills, learning how to find credible sources, evaluate evidence, and conduct effective topic analysis. Students will develop their own Research Checklist they can use for any future topic.
    • Case Construction: Participants will explore strategies for constructing compelling cases, including defining key terms, outlining contentions, and crafting impactful introductions and conclusions.
    • Rebuttal Technique: Debaters will practice delivering concise rebuttals and how to structure time allocation between first and second speakers. We will go in-depth on the different types of rebuttal arguments and how to develop an effective block file.
    • Summary and Final Focus: We will introduce to debaters how to collapse or condense argumentation as well as structure the final two speeches in the round with appropriate weighing.
    • Practice Debates and Feedback: Debaters will engage in multiple practice debates, applying their newfound skills in simulated competition settings. Experienced coaches will provide constructive feedback and individualized coaching to help participants refine their techniques and improve their performance.

Week 2: Advanced Techniques and Application

      • Argument Refinement: 

      • Crossfire Mastery: 

      • Weighing: 

      • Adaptation: 

      • Strategy and Flowing: 

      • Tournament Simulation:  

      Throughout the camp, participants will also have the opportunity to attend guest lectures, participate in drills and exercises, and engage in collaborative activities to further enhance their understanding of debate theory and application.

To register for the Public Forum Institute, please follow the below steps

  • Click "Apply Now" on the top right of this screen.
  • Follow the prompts to enter parent and student information on screens 1 and 2.
  • On screen 3, select the following options:
    • Camp Category: Competitive Debate
    • Camp Name: Public Forum 
    • Camp Session: Select the Session you prefer
    • Camp Major: Select Varsity or Novice
    • Price Option: Select Extended Day Camp or Overnight Camp

Program Grades Location Start Date End Date Price Options Register

Sample Schedule Public Forum

8:00 am Breakfast in the dining hall (overnight campers)
8:45-9 am Extended day camper check-in
9:00 am Morning Lecture
10:00 am Morning Lab/Practicum / Practice Rounds
11:30 pm Lunch in the dining hall (included for all campers)
12:30 pm Skills Workshops / Afternoon Lab / Practice rounds
5:00 pm Dinner in the Stanford Dining Hall (included for all campers)
6:30 pm Office Hours (Wk 1) Lab/Practicum (Wk 2) 
6:30 pm Practice Rounds
8:00 pm Fun evening activities 
9:00 pm Extended day camper check-out
10:00 pm Floor check
10:30 pm Room check

Education Unlimited believes in small-group, immersive learning with subject matter experts and experienced teachers. We strive to provide industry-leading instruction to all of our students and hold all staff to the highest possible standards. 
The Public Forum Coaching Faculty are comprised of national championship caliber coaches who have had significant local, state and national competitive debate experience.  Initially confirmed staff include: 

Gabe Rusk, MA - Public Forum Division Director and Lead Instructor

Gabe Rusk is currently the Director of Debate at the Fairmont Preparatory Academy in Anaheim, California and is a member of the National Speech and Debate Association’s Public Forum Topic Selection Committee. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Denver where he attended on a debate scholarship and a Master’s Degree from Oxford University in Comparative Religious Studies. During college, he won 4th place at the national British Parliament championships. While at Oxford he was the Vice President of the Student Union representing all international graduate students and was elected as the equality officer at the Oxford Debate Union. While at Oxford his dissertation focused on the history of the First Amendment. During high school, Gabe was a Public Forum competitor himself winning the prestigious Tournament of Champions in 2010. Gabe has been a coach in Public Forum Debate for over fourteen years. Over that time his students have won or finaled at tournaments like UC Berkeley, UNLV, NDCA, ASU, Glenbrooks, Stanford, Georgetown, UK Season Opener, the TOC and more. In 2024 one of his individual teams had the highest TOC Gold Bid count, 8, by the end of the season. Gabe has also been the director, or senior instructor at over a dozen summer institutes over the last fourteen years including as Curriculum Director. Gabe believes debate and public speaking teach critical thinking and news literacy that are indispensable in the 21st Century and has made it his life mission to spread such skills.

Matthew Stannard, MA - Public Forum Instructor

Matt is a debate coach at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon, and has over 20 years' coaching experience in public forum, lincoln-douglas, cross-examination and parliamentary debate. While coaching at the University of Wyoming, Matt's teams won two national championships and several regional titles. At the College of Eastern Utah, his teams won two community college national championships. Matt has taught debate in the United States, China, South Korea and Iraqi Kurdistan. For the last seven years, he has been a senior instructor at the Harvard Debate Council Summer Workshops. Matt has also worked for several political campaigns and public interest groups as a communication and policy strategist.

Sky Juinio, MA - Public Forum Instructor

Sky Juinio brings a wealth of experience and expertise to the realm of competitive debate instruction. Since 2018, she has been dedicated to coaching competitive debate teams, specializing primarily in Public Forum debate. However, her versatility extends across various debate styles, including Policy, Lincoln Douglas, Parliamentary, and Congressional debates.  Sky's coaching prowess has led to remarkable achievements for her teams, including securing Tournament of Champions (TOC) bids, qualifying for state tournaments, and reaching elimination rounds at prestigious national competitions such as Stanford and Berkeley. Moreover, her students consistently excel as top speakers in their respective events.

Sky graduated with distinction, earning a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from UC Berkeley ahead of schedule. Currently preparing for further education in law school, Sky is deeply committed to her ongoing intellectual pursuits.  

As an instructor at the Summer Think Tank, Sky is enthusiastic about nurturing students' debate skills and fostering an enriching experience during the camp. Her dedication to excellence and passion for debate make her an invaluable asset to our instructional team.

Doug Miller, JD - Public Forum Instructor 

Doug is currently the Director of Debate at Campbell Hall in Los Angeles, CA, and has been involved in speech and debate for more than 25 years, coaching at schools in Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, Florida, and California. He holds Bachelors degrees in Political Science and History from Iowa State University, and a Juris Doctorate from the Washburn University School of Law. As a competitor, he won state championships in Policy Debate and Extemporaneous Speaking, and was both a NFL (now NSDA) national finalist in U.S. Extemp and national runner-up in Extemp at NCFL Nationals. Throughout his coaching career, he has guided his students to sixteen individual state championships across nine different speech and debate events. His Public Forum teams have earned top 3 finishes at the Gold, Silver, and Middle School divisions of the TOC, as well as NSDA, NJFL, and NDCA Nationals. In Policy Debate, he has coached teams to elims at the TOC, as well as helping students win both NSDA and NDCA Nationals. In his spare time, Doug enjoys playing disc golf, and endures the pain of being a Kansas City Royals fan.