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SHEPHERDSTOWN, W. Va. — Shepherd University students lunched with West Virginia
gubernatorial candidates Moore Capito, Chris Miller, and Mac Warner on April 17 at a
meet and greet organized by the Stubblefield Institute.

Stubblefield Institute Executive Director Ashley Horst explained, “We had an
opportunity, where we knew we would have at least three of the Republican candidates
in the Eastern panhandle. The candidates have frequently talked about retaining our
upcoming generation in the state and so this was a great opportunity for that
generation to interact with these candidates.”

To kick off the conversation, senior and graduate students presented their
student research to the visiting candidates. The presenters were seniors Brianna Eskew
and Cassidy Joy, along with graduate students Shelby Daugherty, Kevin Murphy, and
Aly Nazarok.

Daugherty, a master’s student in College Student Development and
Administration, shared highlights of her research about the importance of supporting
students’ sense of self-authorship. “With new wars raging throughout the world,
environmental catastrophes glooming over all horizons, and political polarization
perpetuating the plague on human rights, new world leaders who are confident in
themselves and their ability to work with others across differences are needed now
more than ever,” said Daugherty in her presentation to the candidates and fellow
students.

Candidates listened with interest to the student presentations and then each
offered a few words about their perspectives on West Virginia and their visions for the
future.

Horst said it was particularly beneficial to students to have an event exclusively
for them. “This was a chance for students to be able to approach candidates in a
manner that is accessible to them, that is not intimidating, where they are not
competing with others more experienced in political conversations. It really opened up
an opportunity for them to get to know the candidates and get to know what is
important to them, to really talk to the people who might very possibly be representing
them by this time next year.”

Some students took the opportunity to speak also with campaign staff who were
in attendance. A key on-campus function of the Stubblefield Institute is to encourage
students interested in political communication careers, including in positions such as
speech writers, campaign managers, and political strategists.

Evan Lee, campaign manager for Miller, noted that everyone starts their career
at entry level. His advice to students is, “Say yes to the opportunities that come your
way. It is the only way to gain experience.”

Shepherd University Students Lunch with Candidates

From left to right: Shepherd University student Genevieve Blodgett, WV gubernatorial candidates Mac Warner, Chris Miller, and Moore Capito; Stubblefield Insititute Executive Director Ashley Horst, Shepherd University graduate student Kevin Murphy