UKIC / Office of China Initiatives / Academies / Public Speaking

Public Speaking

About the UK High School Public Speaking & Debate Camp

The UK High School Summer Public Speaking & Debate Camp offered by UK Intercollegiate Debate provides a unique opportunity for students to learn how to utilize research strategies and collect evidence to craft arguments in a cross-cultural environment. The Office of China Initiatives works with Intercollegiate Debate to recruit high school student applicants from China to participate in this camp, for which no prior experience is required. Furthermore, an optional English placement test is available for participants from China, so that camp instructors can tailor activities to their language needs.                                      

Through a combination of labs and guest lectures, students will learn how to analyze and adapt to various audiences by developing speech content appropriate to different contexts and settings. Additionally, the opportunity for students to engage with high school campers from Kentucky will foster a greater understanding and appreciation of diversity, thereby enhancing all students' skill sets in communication. Ultimately, this camp experience helps strengthen students' confidence to effectively deliver their arguments to diverse, live and distant audiences.

Intercollegiate Debate then partners with the UK Office of China Initiatives (OCI) and UK Confucius Institute (UKCI) to offer an East Coast Tour option at the end of the camp! During the tour, students will visit the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Columbia University in New York City (NYC), New York. Students will also take city tours of both Boston and NYC!


  • For interested high school students in China, contact Kathryn T. Bliss, OCI Coordinator, at

  • For interested students in the U.S., visit:

  • Camp Dates: July 8-20, 2018

  • East Coast Tour Dates: July 21-25, 2018

  • Camp Location: Lexington, Ky.

Cost Overview

  • Camp pricing includes the full cost of instruction, housing in a secure dorm, weekend activities, transportation for UK activities, 10 lunches on UK campus, and 2 banquets.
  • East coast trip pricing includes 1-way flight, hotel and breakfasts, tour guides service, city and university tour fees, bus transportation, and also 1 lobster dinner.
  • Camp Registration Deposit (non-refundable): $250  
  • Camp and tour price available upon request.



Sample Itinerary of a Day at Camp

  • 9 am: Lecture — Introduction to Research

  • 10-12 pm: Group Work on Topic Research

  • 12 pm: Lunch (Provided)

  • 1-2 pm: Lecture — Speech Organization & Oral vs. Speech Writing Skills

  • 2 pm: Lecture — Delivery Skills

  • 2:30 pm: Break

  • 3 pm: Group Work on Speech Delivery

  • 4-5 pm: Group Work on Developing Informative Speeches about the Topic

Camp Senior Faculty

Kelsey Moore, Head Instructor

Kelsey is a doctoral student in the College of Communication and Information at the University of Kentucky. Her research focuses on instructional communication and how the area of communication can be used to foster teaching and learning. She teaches courses in composition, public speaking, and interpersonal communication. Kelsey has extensive experience with camps teaching everyone from middle school and high school students to professionals. Last summer she taught public speaking at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.

Amar Adam, Assistant Instructor

Amar is captain of the UK Debate team and a Singletary Scholar. He is a senior majoring in Economics and Political Science with a minor in Arab Studies. For the past two years Amar and his partner have been ranked in the top twenty teams in the nation. He has extensive teaching and coaching experience including four years teaching at the Northwestern Summer Debate Institute. Amar will be joining the Kentucky coaching staff this May.

Dave Arnett, Senior Faculty

Dave is the Director of Debate at the University of Kentucky. On 15 separate occasions his teams have been ranked in the top 16 and three times he has coached the top ranked team in the country. Dave was selected the Ross Smith National Coach of the Year in 2009 and voted runner-up for Coach of the Decade. He was voted the 2015 American Debate Association coach of the year. He is the Director of five national college and high school tournaments including the Tournament of Champions which annually host over 700 participants from 35 states and four countries. Before serving in his role at Kentucky, Dave was the Director of Debate at UC Berkeley for twelve years. He has over twenty years' experience teaching and directing summer camps including Northwestern, Berkeley, Stanford, Kentucky, Gonzaga, and Emory.

Camp Guest Lecturers

Trevor Wells

Trevor Wells, one of the Miller Wells firm's founding partners, focuses his law practice in the appellate courts, both state and federal, of the two states where he is licensed to practice law, Kentucky and Indiana. Trevor works with former judges and justices and assists other attorneys to file compelling briefs and deliver powerful and convincing oral arguments. Trevor will be working with students on making persuasive arguments in any context and understanding legal arguments.