Stover Scholars afforded prestigious opportunity with high-ranking Washington, D.C., officials
Fifteen Waynesburg University Stover Scholars were recently afforded a prestigious opportunity to meet with a number of high-ranking officials in the nation’s capital.
“Waynesburg University’s Stover Scholar program is committed to developing leaders who embrace the constitutional principles that guided the Founding Fathers in an effort to positively impact the direction of American politics and law,” said Waynesburg University President Timothy R. Thyreen. “We want our students to be inspired by those who dedicate their lives to public service.”
During the Washington, D.C., trip, the students met with Justice Samuel A. Alito at the United States Supreme Court, where he described the dynamics of legal adjudication and shared his views regarding constitutional interpretation.
“I enjoyed meeting with Justice Alito in Washington, D.C. Having the opportunity to discuss Supreme Court cases with an influential member of the Supreme Court was fascinating and inspiring,” said Madeline Snyder, a senior elementary education major from Jefferson, Pa. Melissa Fox, a senior elementary/special education major from Waynesburg, Pa., shared Snyder’s sentiments.
“As soon as Justice Alito walked into the room, I was in awe and felt a part of history,” Fox said.
Commenting on the opportunity to interact with prominent officials, Stephanie Laing, a sophomore communication major from Nevada, said, “I really enjoyed gleaning such invaluable information from respected and influential political figures. I now have an opportunity unique from my peers to take these prominent figures’ words and advice and apply them to my own ideas for the future.” Laing was not alone in her appreciation for the day’s noteworthy offerings.
“It was surreal to meet dignitaries that are at the height of Who’s Who in American Politics and once seemed far beyond our reach,” said Anthony Cooper, a sophomore sociology (pre-law) major from Lewisburg, Pa.
Following the meeting with Alito, students met with Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey. Toomey discussed his desire to fight for fiscally responsible policies, lower taxes and job creation. Like Laing and Cooper, Karen Moyer, a sophomore sociology (pre-law) major from Conneaut, Pa., recognized the benefits of the day’s hands-on learning opportunities.
“The trip was a valuable supplement to my Waynesburg University education,” Moyer said. The group also met with former Attorney General Edwin Meese III. Meese encouraged students to reflect upon the original intent of the Constitution by challenging them to comprehend the objectives held by the document’s authors. Meese urged the students to consider the ways in which the government is limited by the document’s structure and enumerated powers.
Jacob Waltemeyer, a junior English major from Riverside, Calif., said he was honored to represent Waynesburg University in such an “influential and professional setting.”
“The opportunity to put into practice all that we have been learning through the Stover Program was an invaluable and amazing experience,” he said. “Seeing a more in-depth picture of the political world in Washington, D.C., allowed me to gain a stronger sense of respect and admiration for those who have served or are serving our government.”
Waltemeyer’s “respect and admiration” for political leaders “drove home the purpose of the trip,” said Dr. Lawrence M. Stratton, Visiting Director of the Stover Center for Constitutional Studies and Moral Leadership.
“It was a pleasure to introduce our students to these high-ranking officials. They had the unique opportunity to interact with individuals who daily address the constitutional and geopolitical issues of our age,” Stratton said.
The students also had the opportunity to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first human in space as they discussed cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin’s 108-minute orbital flight with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak at the Russian Embassy.
“Only 20 years after the Cold War, visiting the Russian Embassy was an unprecedented and politically insightful opportunity for the Stover Scholars,” said Daniel Czajkowski, a sophomore criminal justice major from Frederick, Md.