ISSUED: 4 March 2020
MEDIA CONTACT: Valerie Owens
SHEPHERDSTOWN, WV — About 150 high school students from Berkeley, Jefferson, and Morgan counties in West Virginia, and Frederick County, Maryland, attended the first Stubblefield Institute Shepherd University Student Leadership Academy on March 2.
After hearing from keynote speaker Mac Warner, West Virginia secretary of state, the high school students participated in a simulation of a virus pandemic. Professors from Shepherd’s Department of Political Science, Global Studies, and Geography, and members of the Debate and Forensics Team and Model United Nations helped facilitate discussion about how to handle a pandemic.
“I think the students really dug into the different policy choices,” said Dr. Samuel Greene, assistant professor of political science. “We talked about groupthink and why groups might make bad decisions. The students really took that to heart and we had a good talkback session after the simulation. I was impressed with the depth of answers. I think it was a really positive event and something we hope to build on in the future.”
“I’m really excited about it,” said Dr. Stephania Slocum-Schaffer, associate professor of political science. “I think there’s a lot of potential. I was very impressed by the student talkback and the ideas that students brought to the table. I think that there are lots of opportunities to develop relationships going forward.”
The founders of the Stubblefield Institute, Bonnie and Bill Stubblefield, were on hand to observe.
“This reconfirms the faith we have in the youth of the day,” Bill Stubblefield said. “Watching the discussion among them and how well they were able to analyze and address the questions that had been posed to them was exceptionally impressive. I think we certainly witnessed the leaders of the future today. It was both stimulating and heartwarming watching these young people do as well as they did.”
Stubblefield Institute director David Welch said this first collaboration between a Shepherd department, the Institute, and area schools exceeded every expectation he had.
“I was especially impressed by how seriously the high school students took the simulation exercise,” Welch said. “We are really surrounded in our area by a group of very bright young people. Hopefully some of them will come to Shepherd.”
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