Public Speaking Institute - Advanced

Held at Stanford University, the Advanced Public Speaking Institute is designed for high school students who are already comfortable speaking in public and are prepared to make their voices heard. 

Students have access to our most experienced speech and debate faculty, trusted instructors and coaches who gently push the students to hone their speaking abilities and excel in their persuasive pursuits. Furthermore, students have the unique opportunity to explore the seat of free speech in Berkeley and the surrounding Bay Area. Possible excursions include a trip to the famed soapbox center of campus, Sproul Plaza, comedy clubs, theater events, and slam poetry nights, in addition to non-academic trips to sporting venues, beaches, and movie theaters.

Click the tabs below to learn more about this program.

All students participate in regular group lectures and exercises that cover advanced speech writing techniques and principles of rhetoric and argumentation in their Core Rotation, a biweekly morning tutorial that will help students progress as skilled speakers- no matter their chosen focus.

The camp emphasizes public speaking across genres, allowing students to apply speech writing, delivery and argumentation skills across a range of public speaking activities and electives. Participants construct their own personal program by choosing a “Speaker’s Focus” from a variety of advanced classes, examples of which are listed below. Students will also have the opportunity to sample other genres in shorter elective versions of these workshops. At the end of the program, students will have a chance to deliver their best speeches in a cross-genre showcase for an audience of family and friends.

Speaker’s Focus and Elective Examples

  • Case in Point: Mock Trial Workshop: In the mock trial elective, the classroom becomes a courtroom, and students learn to be lawyers. Given materials from a hypothetical court case, participants will construct cogent arguments to win over even the most doubtful judge and jury! Students will learn the art of cross-examination, employ critical legal reasoning and deliver winning trial speeches.

  • Vote for Me! Campaign Speeches: Political speeches are the principal way politicians and campaigners clarify their platform and inspire future vision in voters. In this elective, students will analyze effective political speeches in history and will author and deliver their own speech in order to win the trust and influence of fellow participants.

  • Model UN: Tackle international political conundrums as a UN delegate! Participants will learn the rules and motions of UN procedure; they will caucus for causes of global import and weigh moral matters against their country’s welfare; they will learn to write effective resolutions and position papers and defend them in front of an entire international community!

  • Word Up! Poetry Out Loud: Poetry, with its pauses, melodies, and rhythms, is a medium meant to be heard. In this unit, students will have the opportunity to memorize and recite great poems. A final Slam battle will determine which participants have mastered voice projection, articulation and dramatic interpretation.

  • Broadcast Journalism and News Reporting: The best journalists know how to combine substance and style, and this unit prepares students for broadcast reporting by helping them master investigative reporting techniques and fine-tune the public speaking techniques, such as tone, inflection, eye contact, and movement, that are essential for effective on-camera communication.

  • Negotiations: The Art of Getting What You Want: Some say, “you don’t get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate.” Using a variety of negotiations simulations, students participate in role-playing and learn about win-win situations, win-lose situations, and much more.

  • Stand-Up Comedy: Learn from real, practicing comedians the art of writing jokes and skits, study how humor works and why and work on developing your own stand-up comedy routine and getting ready to “take the plunge” at an open mic!

  • Dramatic Improvisation: Through a series of inventive improv games, students learn how to let loose, have fun, and truly keep an audience engaged. Instructors guide students through dramatic exercises that reinforce fundamental public speaking skills such as poise, volume, eye contact, and movement.

  • Commercial Appeal: Business Presentations and the Art of Advertising: For all those who aspire to land a spot on The Apprentice or The Big Idea, this elective prepares students to give “pitch-perfect” professional presentations. Working in teams, students will create either an entrepreneurial business plan presentation or an ad pitch to be delivered in a business symposium at the end of the program.

  • Competitive Policy Debate: Often referred to as “The Iron Man Contest” of speaking and academics, competitive policy debate is the most intellectually challenging activity for high school students, with a national circuit of hundreds of schools participating. Learn to research a topic, analyze the benefits and costs of public policy, use evidence in your advocacy and cross-examine your opponent. Ultimately students will learn to “think like a debater.”

Camps for rising 9th-12th graders have three options:

  • Online Camper: For detailed online course descriptions and daily schedules, click here for East Coast timezone and click here for West Coast timezone.
  • Extended Day: Extended Day Campers attend camp from 9am to 9pm seven days a week (except check-in and check-out days, which are half days), with lunch and dinner provided in the dining hall each day.
  • Overnight: Overnight campers check-in after lunch on the first day of camp and check out before lunch on the last day of camp. All meals and shared dorm accommodations are provided.
Program Grades Location Start Date End Date Price Options Register

Sample Schedule PSI 4th-8th

8:00 am Breakfast in the dining hall (overnight campers)
9-9:15 am Extended day camper check-in
9:15 am Delivery class
12:00 pm Lunch in the dining hall (included for all campers)
1:45 pm Debate class
5:30 pm Dinner in the dining hall (included for all campers)
6:30 pm Evening elective classes
8:00 pm Evening recreation 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. Staff assignments vary by program and location. Some of our recent staff members for this program include:

Brianna Broady, MA - Camp Director and Instructor

Brianna Broady is a lecturer with a Master of Arts in Communication Studies from California State University, Northridge in Southern California.  Brianna teaches classes at several Southern California colleges in Communication Studies in her primary areas of interest: performance studies and intercultural communication studies.  A seasoned debater and coach, Brianna has brought extensive experience to her roles as both a public speaking instructor and camp director for Education Unlimited since 2012.  

As Director of Individual Events for Santa Monica College, Brianna coaches students in competitive public speaking in a variety of disciplines. During her undergraduate years at California State University, Northridge she competed in events ranging from informative speaking to programmed oral interpretation. Brianna was the first person in the history of the school to qualify for the prestigious National Individual Event Tournament of Champions all four years that she competed.

John Kephart, PhD - Camp Director and Instructor

Dr. John Kephart III is an associate professor at California State University, Northridge.  Dr. Kephart has a PhD in Rhetorical Theory and Criticism from the University of Southern California.  A member of the Education Unlimited team since 2008, Dr. Kephart has served as instructor, director and curriculum designer.  He helped to develop the curriculum for both the A+ Pre College and A+ High School summer camp programs.  Dr. Kephart has a teaching philosophy that values students’ active engagement in their own learning; he focuses on encouraging students to find their own voice and perspective on contemporary issues, helping them to be more avid learners, and more engaged citizens.

In addition to his faculty position, Dr. Kephart is also the director of the speech and debate program at CSU Northridge; he has over 16 years of experience coaching debate competitors of all ages.  A Los Angeles native and avid Dodgers fan, Dr. Kephart received his Masters of Arts and Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Studies from The University of Southern California.

Jessica Kwack, MA - Instructor

Jessica Kwack is a teacher at California State University, Northridge, where she also received both her Master of Arts and Bachelor of Arts Degrees in Communication Studies.  Since 2014, Jessica has taught the Fundamentals of Public Speaking as well as Argumentation. In addition to her position at CSU Northridge, she also teaches as an adjunct faculty member at several colleges across Southern California.  Jessica also serves as the Assistant Coach of the Matador Speech and Debate Team at CSU Northridge, focusing on individual events such as informative and persuasive speaking.

Jessica has been with Education Unlimited since 2015.  A native to the Los Angeles area, Jessica loves the sun, the movies, and her home basketball team, the Los Angeles Lakers.

Robert Loy, MA - Instructor

Robert Loy is an assistant professor of Communication Studies at Los Angeles Pierce College. He holds a Master of Arts Degree in Communication Studies from California State University, Northridge. Since 2014, he has been a lecturer at CSU Northridge in the areas of public speaking and argumentation.  A director with Education Unlimited since 2013, Robert has dedicated time throughout his career to ensure youth gain access to knowledge and skills to prepare them for college and career success.

Robert has received recognition throughout his academic career, most notably the Outstanding Teaching Associate Award and Outstanding Graduate Student Award of 2014 during his time at CSUN.  He has tutored for Project GRAD Los Angeles and worked with students in the Los Angeles Unified School District AVID Program. In his free time, Robert enjoys going to various baseball stadiums (Dodger Stadium is so far the best), visiting Disneyland/California Adventure and eating at new food truck venues.

Wiliam Russel - Instructor

Bill Russell has spent his entire adult life learning how to craft arguments and present them most effectively. After a successful career as a college debater where he finished among the top ten teams at the National Debate Tournament three times, Bill spent nine years as the assistant director of Debate at Dartmouth College. During that times his teams won a national championship, and qualified twenty-one teams for the elimination rounds (Sweet 16) of the national tournament. Bill has over twenty years of experience teaching argumentation, debate, and public speaking to high school students at summer educational camps. Bill has spent the past twelve years practicing law, bringing his skill for argument development and presentation to a different audience. During that time he has helped in briefing a successful Supreme Court appeal in the most important securities fraud decision in the last thirty-five years.  

Marina Shew - Instructor

Marina Shew is a law student at Columbia Law School in New York City.  She has dual Bachelor’s Degrees in Philosophy and Political Science from Clemson University in South Carolina.  In both high school and college, Marina was the president of her respective debate teams, taking on leadership, teaching, and mentoring roles for younger students. She's also taught both debate and public speaking in Beijing, China. She has experience in several styles of public speaking, from debate to mock trial to ethics bowl.

Marina is looking forward to getting to know students on a personal level and working with them individually to find their voice and refine their public speaking skills. In her teaching, she aims to create a friendly, comfortable, and approachable environment where everyone can work collaboratively to achieve personal improvement. In addition to her love of the law, Marina enjoys international travel to experience different countries and cultures.  She also enjoys swing dancing, which she teaches in her spare time.

Stephen Buettler - Camp Director

Stephen Buettler is an instructor and public speaking expert with dual degrees in literature and philosophy from Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  In addition to roles as lecturer and curriculum director at the university level, Stephen has over 15 years of experience teaching and consulting for high school speech and debate programs.  Stephen has been Camp Director of the Education Unlimited Summer Camp Program at Georgetown since 2014.

Stephen has additional experience in logistics coordination; he has consulted for numerous production and event planning companies throughout the Pacific Northwest region of the United States.  His work in this field allows him to combine his passion for communication with a desire to make large scale events more sustainable and community-focused.

Hershini Gopal - Instructor

Hershini is an experienced paralegal and mock trial competitor bound for UCLA School of Law in the fall of 2018.  She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Environmental Science and Policy from the University of Maryland. During her undergraduate years, Hershini worked for the United Nations Environmental Programme in Washington D.C. where she helped prepare for the 2015 Paris Climate Summit.  She also spent two years working as a paralegal for the Department of Justice. In addition to her work in D.C., Hershini was also a Mock Trial competitor for the University of Maryland for three years, and upon graduation she returned to her hometown of Denver, Colorado where she coached her former high school mock trial team to the state finals.

As a Colorado native, Hershini enjoys skiing and warming up afterward with vast quantities of chai.