Join Us

All Emory students, regardless of prior experience, are welcome to join the competitive debate team at Emory University. Traveling and representing Emory University in intercollegiate competition is a unique opportunity to learn the fundamental skills of academic debate: argumentation, research, organization, and public presentation.

To be an active member of the intercollegiate debate you must be an enrolled undergraduate in good standing, be willing to commit to service projects such as community debate programs in Atlanta, and assist with hosting the annual Barkley Forum for High Schools.

If you are interested in learning more about becoming a part of the academic debate at Emory University, please email

More Than a Debate Team

Barkley Forum membership includes other benefits beyond the opportunity for personal achievement in competitive debate. The Barkley Forum also provides:  

  • extensive academic counseling,  
  • volunteer internships with local interscholastic debate programs,  
  • academic internships through Emory's Division of Educational Studies for a variety of research and teaching experiences,
  • opportunities to work with Barkley Forum alumni in law, business, and government internships, and  
  • service oriented leadership opportunities with the Atlanta Urban Debate League, the Emory National Debate Institute, and the Barkley Forum for High Schools, garnering valuable teaching, administrative, and supervisory experience.

Commitment to Diversity

While the Barkley Forum has experienced remarkable competitive success, the Forum has also remained committed to making debate opportunities available to those denied and deterred from participating in prior eras. In particular, the Forum has remained committed to the increased participation of women in debate.

Susan Cahoon was the first woman to represent Emory in the elimination rounds of the NDT in 1967, marking the beginning of an era in which Emory women would compete in the elimination rounds of the NDT more than ten times, culminating in Kate Shuster's 1996 national championship. Ten women have won national championships while at Emory including Susan Cahoon, (DSR-TKA, 1967) Kate Shuster, (NDT champion with David Heidt, 1996), Kenya Hansford (American Debate Association [ADA] champion with Anjan Sahni, 1997), Anne Marie Todd (CEDA champion with Vic Tabak, Dan Fitzmier and Stephen Heidt, 1997), Rania Nassredine (ADA champion with Scott Phillips, 2002), Vicki Suarez-Palomo (ADA champion with Mike Greenstein, 2005), Aimi Hamraie and Julie Hoehn (first all women NDT champions, 2007, photo below), Kristen Lowe (ADA champion with Viveth Karthikeyan, 2017), and Eugenia Giampetruzzi (ADA champion with Zahir Shaikh, 2020).

NDT Champs

The Barkley Forum has also encouraged the growth of female participation in debate by supporting workshops for women in debate, publishing materials for coaching women in debate, mentoring female coaches at the high school and collegiate level, and providing scholarships for young women to attend the Emory National Debate Institute.