Public Forum Debate

Click here to sign-up for an UTNIF 2019 program today!

Session 1 | June 30th – July 12th, 2019

Session 2 | July 19th – July 31st, 2019

Residential tuition is $2,000 (includes dorm stay & all meals); Commuter tuition is $1,765 (must live <35 mi. from UT)

The only difference between the two sessions are the dates – a camper should attend either Session 1 or 2, but not typically both.

WOW! Our UTNIF PF graduates have been busy! UTNIF Public Forum campers went on to win top speaker awards and/or to earn bids to the Tournament of Champions at competitions across the country, including: Grapevine HS (TX), Ridge (NJ) Princeton (NJ) Scarsdale (NJ) Villiger – St. Joseph’s (PA) Bellaire (TX) Myers Park (NC) Hockaday (TX) Glenbrooks (IL) Katy Taylor (TX) Apple Valley (MN) Winston Churchill (TX)

UTNIF Public Forum workshops are designed for students of all skill levels and they will be placed into the appropriate instructional group at the discretion of the curriculum director at the start of the program. Less experienced students will be introduced to the foundations of argument construction, presentation and speaking, tournament preparation, and in round strategy.  Students with more experience will finely hone debating skills and work with the unique structure of the PF activity to develop strategic approaches to victory. All students will give many practice speeches, have practice debates, rebuttal re-dos, and do stop/start skills drills. All students will participate in experience-appropriate discussions and background seminars on rotating PF topics. The goal is to train students to seamlessly incorporate sound argument and persuasion skills into competition rounds. Students will learn to how to incorporate evidence into their speeches without becoming dependent upon it. All students will receive the individualized instruction, encouragement, and resources they need to come away from the workshop much improved.

Students attending UTNIF camps must be at least 13 years of age to stay as residents in the dorm. Students who are not 13 may be able to attend as commuters, with prior permission from the camp director. 

Note: Staff listings from 2018 and subject to change for 2019 sessions.

UTNIF Public Forum Curriculum Director 2016-2018

Our Public Forum Curriculum Director is Joseph Uhler of Westlake High School in Austin.  This is Joseph’s third year at Westlake and his students have already earned multiple Tournament of Champions bids in PF.  Joseph was previously the Director of Forensics at Anderson High School for over a decade.  His students at Anderson reached elimination rounds at TFA State, UIL State, NFL/NSDA Nationals, and the Tournament of Champions.  In 2010, Joseph’s students were in the final round of the Tournament of Champions in Extemporaneous Speaking.  In 2011, one of Joseph’s students won TFA State in Congressional Debate (House), and in 2015, one of Joseph’s students won TFA State in Original Oratory. One of his Public Forum teams was invited to the Harvard Round Robin.  Anderson consistently finished in the top five overall sweepstakes at the UT Longhorn Classic and finished in the top ten in overall sweepstakes at TFA State five times under his leadership.

The UTNIF PF instructors are dedicated to making you a better debater through a rigorous and engaging curriculum designed to build and enhance your skills. Participants in UTNIF PF will have the chance to be heard and critiqued by judges and coaches from within the PF field as well as across the forensics spectrum. 2018 Instructors included:

Kirsten Nash is the director of forensics at Hendrickson High School in Pflugerville, Texas. Under Kirsten’s leadership, the Hendrickson team has established itself as one of the top programs in the nation, including many appearances in elimination rounds and UIL state championships.

Clara Kraebber debated for four years at Hunter College High School and graduated in 2018. As a competitor, she was the champion of Villiger and Lakeland, a finalist of Scarsdale, and a semifinalist at Harvard and Princeton. She also competed in the Bronx Science and Harvard Round Robins, and qualified to TOC in her junior and senior years. Clara was the novice director of her school’s public forum team, and coached students who have already bid as sophomores. She has also coached at numerous other schools throughout NYC. Clara loves to teach debate, and is thrilled to work with students this summer!

Jerry Yang is a graduating senior and serves Plano West Senior High School as the team captain in Speech and Debate. Competing in Public Forum, Jerry championed the Harvard Tournament in 2018 and advanced to octo-finals at the Tournament of Champions his junior year, shattering ceilings and setting new precedents for a Texas debate team. Outside of debate, Jerry loves trying out new fashion styles, flirting with philosophy/economics, and dancing to his own rhythm. More importantly, Jerry is passionate about working with and tutoring his peers, hoping to translate that fire into teaching and guiding the future.

Olivia Hardage competed in public forum debate at Westlake High School. Although Olivia only competed in debate her junior and senior years, she qualified for TFA State and advanced to the elimination rounds of Churchill within her first year. This year, Olivia serves as captain of the Westlake team, has qualified for TFA State, earned a bid to the Tournament of Champions, and broke at multiple national tournaments such as Churchill and The University of Texas. Olivia will be attending the University of Texas Austin next year and will be studying government.

Andy Stubbs is a debate consultant in the Houston area and works with the Houston Urban Debate League. He previously competed in cross-examination debate and advanced to the tenth round at NSDA Nationals twice in addition to receiving a speaker award there in 2007. Andy has coached PF teams into invites to the Stanford and Berkeley Round Robins.


Anindu Rentala won International Public Forum at NSDA Nationals and was a runner up at UIL State in LD. He competed in Public Forum for four years at Anderson HS in Austin, TX and was the team captain and he now attends Dartmouth College. He is a four-time TFA State qualifier and qualified for NSDA Nationals in 2016. Anindu excelled on the national circuit, reaching Quarterfinals and Semifinals at UT, Doubleoctofinals at Glenbrooks, and Quarterfinals and Octofinals at Grapevine. In 2016, Anindu received a speaker award at all but two tournaments.

Hanh Do She has been a judging coordinator, assistant speech and debate coach, and consultant to countless high school teams and students across the state of Texas and her students have advanced to outrounds at the Tournament of Champions, the TFA State tournament, and have qualified for NSDA nationals and UIL State. Her teams have been invited to participate in the Stanford and Berkeley Round Robins.


John Mast is the Debate Coach at Stephen F. Austin High School in Austin, Texas.  He has coached students to the elimination rounds of the Tournament of Champions and TFA State.  He has had students qualify for NSDA Nationals in all of the debate events, including elimination rounds. His students have been in elimination rounds of major national tournaments including St. Marks and the Glenbrooks.  John’s students have been invited to multiple round robins across the United States.


Cale McCrary currently coaches Corona del Sol public forum debate in Arizona, and formerly served as the captain of Saint Mary’s Hall speech and debate in Texas. As a competitor, Cale was consistently ranked top 30 in the country for Public Forum, achieving late out rounds at national tournaments like Harvard and Grapevine. In his first year as a coach, Cale has had teams acquire multiple bids and qualify to the Tournament of Champions, notably with a win at the Golden Desert Tournament. Cale studies International Politics and Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Utah Honors College.


David Morales competed in Public Forum for four years at Plano Senior High School. He is a four-time TFA State qualifier, reaching the Octafinals his sophomore year, Semifinals his Junior year, and Octafinals again his senior year. David and his partner qualified for the TOC their senior year and broke at every tournament during that year. In addition to winning the Hockaday Invitational and reaching the Quarterfinals at the Blue Key Invitational, David also was a member of the IPPF World Championship team in 2016. He is very excited to join the UTNIF PF staff!


Lizzie McCord debated for four years at Hunter College High School in New York. As a competitor, she was ranked as high as eighth in the country. She acquired eight career bids to the Tournament of Champions, reached quarterfinals of Big Bronx (2015, 2016), finals of the Lexington Invitational (2017), co-championed the Princeton Invitational (2015), and broke at the 2016 ToC. Lizzie now coaches for St. Mary’s Hall in San Antonio, TX, where three of the teams she coached qualified to TFA state. She is a freshman at Harvard University studying history.


Alina Shivji competed in Public Forum for four years at Colleyville Heritage High School. In addition to winning the St. Mark’s Heart of Texas Invitational her junior year, Alina also advanced to the semifinal round at the University of Texas Longhorn Classic. She has reached elimination rounds at prestigious tournaments such as the Apple Valley Minneapple, the Cal Berkeley Invitational, and TFA State, and qualified for the Tournament of Champions and the National Speech and Debate Association’s National Tournament. Alina looks forward to working at UTNIF this summer.


Carlos Gregory competed for Hendrickson High School for 4 years. He reached out rounds of TFA state 3 years straight. He competed at the Extemp TOC his sophomore and Junior year. Carlos reached out rounds at Harvard as well as every bid tournament in Texas including Bellaire, Grapevine, Plano West, Hockaday, UT and championing Churchill. Carlos also competed in the silver division of the tournament of champions where he reached quarterfinals and octafinals his Junior and senior year respectively.

Public Forum Curriculum Core Areas of Focus

1 – Core Expertise: Research, Flowing, and Speaking: Stylistic approaches and judge preferences vary by area. However, having superior evidence, addressing important arguments made by your opponents and your partner, and speaking better than your opponents are universal skills. Improving in these areas will immediately make you more successful. Each day debaters will participate in a series of drills designed to hone, improve, and advance their core debate skills. Students will also be provided with drill session handouts and notes for practice during the season and to share with teammates at home.

2 – Argument Development: Elements to Advanced Techniques: Debaters will learn and practic a variety of argument strategies. These approaches include components of an argument, analyzing and developing link chains, offensive vs. defensive arguments, logical fallacies, and weighing arguments.

3 – Case Construction – A Thematic Approach: Winning debaters begin with winning cases. Debaters will be exposed to and encouraged to try several different casing strategies. These strategies include using definitions and resolutional concepts to craft logically consistent cases.

4 – Speech-Specific Best Practices – A Formula for Success: Debaters should have specific goals for every speech in a Public Forum round. These goals include identifying and refuting your opponent’s key arguments as well as understanding and executing your team’s strategy. Debaters will participate in several practice rounds and drill sessions focused on maximizing the effectiveness of every rebuttal, summary, and final focus.

5 –Argument Integration – Using and Refuting Policy and Lincoln-Douglas Debate in Public Forum: Many times debaters cross-over from Policy or LD into Public Forum. This creates challenges for conventional Public Forum teams, especially if they are not exposed to or trained in dealing with the more technical aspects of their debating counter-parts. In addition to learning how to refute these positions, debaters will also learn how to package and present these same strategies in a manner appropriate for their area.