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Speech and Debate Society Braves Cold and Shines Warm at State Forensics Tournament

Last weekend (Feb 14-15), the Penn State Speech & Debate Society hosted the Pennsylvania Forensics Association (PFA) state tournament. Qinglan Huang, a sophomore and second year member, was the 2nd overall speaker in Parliamentary debate, losing to a student from the University of Pennsylvania. David Zeng, a freshmen, and Melinda Formola, a senior, were semifinalists in Parliamentary debate. Collin Warren, a junior, was a finalist in Impromptu speaking. On their shoulders, Penn State took 2nd overall in the President’s Sweepstakes. This is the first time in decades that Penn State has placed in finals in any event at the state tournament according to PFA records.

The Penn State Speech & Debate Society would like to extend a huge thank you to Mark and Scott from West Chester and Lafayette for running tab, to our wonderful staff in Sparks for helping with logistics, and to the Department of Communication Arts & Sciences and the Center for Democratic Deliberation for their continued support.

McCourtney Institute Announces Spring Media and Deliberation Speaker Series

The McCourtney Institute for Democracy, a fellow center of excellence with the CDD, has announced the spring speakers for its Media and Deliberation Series:

  • Anne Helen Petersen of BuzzFeed News will be giving a talk on “Jennifer Lawrence and the Politics of Cool Girls” on Monday, February 2nd in Foster Auditorium (102 Paterno Library) at 4pm.
  • Ian Spencer and Bret Jacobson, the founders of Red Edge, a digital-advocacy group for conservative causes, will be presenting a talk on "Conservative Advocacy for the 21st Century" on Tuesday, February 17th in Foster Auditorium (102 Paterno Library) at 4pm.
  • Evgeny Morozov, a contributing editor at The New Republic and author of The New Delusion: The Dark Side of Internet Freedom and To Save Everything, Click Here: The Folly of Technological Solutionism, will discuss "An Internet for the 21st Century" on Tuesday, March 17th in Foster Auditorium (102 Paterno Library) at 4pm.

McCourtnet Institute Spring 2015 Speaker Series flyer

CDD to Offer Support for Attendees at Tufts Summer Institute

The Center for Democratic Deliberation, in partnership with the McCourtney Institute for Democracy, invite applicants for grants for graduate students to attend the seventh annual Summer Institute of Civic Studies at Tufts University in Medford, MA, June 15-27, 2015. The institute will be an intensive, two-week, interdisciplinary seminar bringing together faculty, advanced graduate students, and practitioners from many countries and diverse fields of study.

Organized by Peter Levine, Tufts University, and Karol Sołtan, University of Maryland, the Summer Institute features guest seminars by distinguished colleagues from various institutions and engages participants in challenging discussions such as:
- What kinds of citizens (if any) do good regimes need?
- What should such citizens know, believe, and do?
- What practices and institutional structures promote the right kinds of citizenship?
- What ought to be the relationships among empirical evidence, ethics, and strategy?

Applications for the institute need to include your resume, an electronic copy of your graduate transcript (if applicable), and a cover email about your interests.  These should be emailed to Peter Levine at For best consideration, apply no later than March 15, 2015.

The CDD's grants can be used to defer the cost of travel, lodging, and other expenses for students accepted to the institute. Interested students should submit a brief (i.e. one-page) application with a paragraph summarizing their interest in the conference and a detailed budget, indicating the exact amount requested. Applications should be submitted to J. Michael Hogan ( no later than March 9, 2015. Awards will be made pending acceptance to the institute.

For more information about the institute, please see