“My summer at the WDI was an amazing experience. The meaningful discussions and community building activities we had impacted my perception of belonging and community within debate. Through my time there, I developed closer relationships with fellow debaters which is so invaluable given the demanding nature of debating we all face. It was also especially rewarding to meet debaters from all different kinds of backgrounds — younger and older and who did different kinds of debate– which let me think critically about both our similarities and differences. Finally, the methods we engaged in through the scholars program were unique and very cool. Overall, an incredible time full of rigorous thought and building relationships with wonderful people!” -Pauline


Ava Vargason

“Being a scholar at the WDI was an amazing experience. The friendships I made at the WDI was one of the biggest reasons why I continued debating this year. I come from a team that emphasizes competitive success, so the WDI gave me a unique opportunity to build relationships outside of my team. I really wish I had applied to the Scholars program earlier in my college debate career. Having the connections I have now during my first and second years would have made debate more enjoyable and motivating.” -Ava



Meg Young

“My name is Meg Young, and I’m a rising freshman at Northwestern. The WDI College Scholars program combined lab-style readings and lessons with critical discussions about issues facing the debate community and strategies for coalition-building. The highlight of the WDI for me was the conversation about the important of rhetoric and its implications for activism and community-building, because the analysis was not only interesting but also provided me with a more nuanced understanding of issues in debate and the varying perspectives. I encourage people to apply for the chance to both work with Kate and Shanara and also to build close friendships with passionate and engaging people.” – Meg