Public Speaking Workshop

Public Speaking, Argumentation,
& Leadership Workshop


June 21st – June 27th, 2020

(Residents should arrive June 21st and depart on June 27th. Commuters should plan to check in on June 21st and attend daily, 9am-5:30pm, June 22nd-26th.)


Cost: $1500 (Commuter), $2500 (Residential)
$100 discount before April 1st
$100 discount for Georgetown faculty/staff

About the Program

Georgetown Debate is pleased to announce the Public Speaking, Argumentation & Leadership Workshop for 2020!

This program is perfect for students looking to learn and practice the fundamentals of logic, persuasion, and refutation, and to build confidence speaking in front of others and thinking quickly on your feet in a supportive, non-competitive environment.

Public speaking is a critical skill valued highly across professions, yet most schools offer no training or practice in this area. Many people rate speaking in front of others as one of their top fears!

This workshop offers students the chance to develop and hone their abilities in a skillset that’s guaranteed to be useful in every aspect of life and beneficial to future opportunities, from college applications and job interviews to family gatherings and informal presentations. We will break down the barriers to speaking in front of others through a variety of structured activities designed to build and enhance fundamental logical and rhetorical skills. And, because practice makes perfect, students will have the opportunity to give speeches in a low-stakes environment guaranteed to build confidence!


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Dr. Lee Pierce, Visiting Assistant Professor in Communication at SUNY Geneso

Lee is an advanced scholar and teacher of rhetoric and persuasion who has taught public speaking and argumentation at the middle school, high school and collegiate level for over 10 years, including 5 years as an instructor for the Duke University Talent Identification Program (TIPS) Public Speaking, Advocacy, and Leadership Institute, and 3 years leading public speaking and argumentation workshops at Harvard University. She has a Ph.D. in Communication Studies from the University of Georgia and was awarded the Outstanding Dissertation Award from the National Communication Association.


Dr. Mikaela Malsin, Director of Debate at Georgetown University

Mikaela has worked with students of all ages and experience levels on the skills of public speaking and argumentation. As the director of debate at Georgetown University, she coaches students to compete at the highest level of intercollegiate debate.

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Unique Curriculum (Why Us?)

The Georgetown PSAL Workshop offers a unique curriculum that provides several benefits many similar programs do not:

  • Specializes in one-on-one public speaking development with intense focus on crafting quality ideas, excellent delivery, disposition, and genre.
  • Based on the award-winning college course designed and taught by Dr. Pierce for the last few years, which has helped students achieve everything from Fulbright awards to acceptance to top-tier graduate schools to competitive grants for business start-ups.
  • Examples of lectures include “Overcoming Stage Fright,” “Speech Organization,” and “Audience Adaptation.”
  • One of the smallest student-to-faculty ratios of any such programs in the country. Given that dedicated focus, we are able to offer two features that other camps do not: 1.) video-based self reflection (we use an analysis tool from University of Minnesota entitled VideoAnt); and 2.) resume and cover letter development as well as a college career path plan.
  • Dr. Pierce brings unique expertise as a public speaking instructor who actually performs regularly in public for large, general audiences. Her performances include two TEDx conferences for up to 3,000 people and hosting for the New Books Network Channels in Media and Communications and Language.
  • Additionally, she specializes in leadership development for women, LGBTQ+, and minoritized students, and is a Geneseo Ally for Social Justice and Diversity.

Camp Schedule

The workshop will run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day, with a lunch break. Evenings will include recreational activities for residential students, with options for additional one-on-one work with instructors.

Sample Day

9 am: Lecture – Fundamentals of Public Speaking

10:30-12pm: Group work and drills

12pm: Lunch (provided)

1-2pm: Lecture — Speech organization & oral vs. speech writing skills

2pm: Lecture — Delivery skills

2:30pm: Break

3pm: Group work on speech delivery

4-5pm: Group work on developing informative speeches on a specific topic

Questions? E-mail Mikaela Malsin at, or check out our FAQ page for information about logistics.