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Communication and new media students attend Dinner with Strangers

ISSUED: 13 March 2020
MEDIA CONTACT: Valerie Owens

SHEPHERDSTOWN, WV — Four Shepherd University communication and new media students recently spent the evening at the Shepherdstown home of Andy Ridenour and Mary Watters for a Dinner with Strangers. Students who attended were Shaunna Redman and Dominique “Niqe” Mosey, both of Martinsburg; Madeline McClellan of Harpers Ferry; and Amanda Barber of Charleston.

“I had a great time during Dinner With Strangers,” Barber said. “Andy and Mary prepared a wonderful dinner—and they were so kind. It was an honor to have participated in this event.”

“I very much enjoyed hearing about both Andy’s and Mary’s careers,” Mosey said. “Life has a way of throwing a wrench in your plans, so it was interesting to hear about the different fields they worked in and the work they continue to do. I would absolutely recommend any prospective future students participate in this event.”

“I loved having the opportunity to participate in the Dinner with Strangers program,” McClellan said. “As we were leaving we all joked about how we were no longer strangers, but friends. Andy and Mary were very welcoming and the conversation never stopped flowing once it started. Andy was very adamant about how we could always reach out to them if we ever needed anything.”

“Dinner with Strangers was a great opportunity that I’m glad I was able to participate in,” Redman said. “Andy and Mary both accomplished so much and have a lot of creative spirit! It still amazes me how much they’ve both done. I highly recommend anyone who is given the opportunity to participate in Dinner with Strangers to do it. I’m so glad I did, and now I have new friends to talk to and gain advice from.”

Ridenour is retired from West Virginia Public Broadcasting, where he had worked in news and was the co-founder and executive producer of Mountain Stage, a two-hour music radio show that airs on more than 240 stations nationally and internationally.

“We had a great time,” Ridenour said. “We talked a little biz, school, what their goals are, and life. They were delightful, fun, and appropriately confident. It was insightful for us to have time with members of this generation. I like the program. I think it is great to have it in our community. Meeting the students gives us another connection to the school. For them it’s another connection to people outside of their school environment in the community.”

Watters, a playwright, lyricist, creative director, writer, and former corporate communications and creative director, said she enjoyed spending the evening with the students and found them to be delightful.

“Their enthusiasm for the work was evident and points to students who will be well-suited to jump into situations with good training and experience behind them,” Watters said. “I was most impressed with their enthusiasm for the profession. It seemed that a number of interns and entry-level communications candidates I’d interview didn’t have a passion for the business. If they maintain their level of curiosity and desire to keep expanding their experiences—and reflect/learn from them—they’ll do well in the business. Thanks to Shepherd for sending us such a great bunch of students!”

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