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UPIKE students go ‘Inside Washington’

March 28, 2016 12:00 AM
Pikeville, Ky.
As the nation turned their attention to the Iowa Caucus and the 2016 presidential hopefuls, seven students from the University of Pikeville traveled to Washington, D.C., to learn about politics from the nation’s capitol and political epicenter. The Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars presented two Inside Washington seminars beginning with “Pursuit of the Presidency” and followed by “Politics and the Media.”

“The experience brought government to life,” said Blake Medley, a senior history and political science major from Lexington, Ky. “It opened my eyes to a lot of new things. I felt it was essential for me to attend the seminar to be a better teacher someday.”

Joining Medley on the two-week seminar were fellow students Chad Conway of Louisville, Ky.; Matt Robinson of Jenkins; Michael Lewis of Newport, Ky.; Anna Kowalok and Lauren McGuire of Pikeville; and Damir Karapandzic of Danville; along with Nancy Cade, Ph.D., chair of the division of social sciences and Davenport distinguished professor of history and political science.

The seminar provides firsthand experience and perspective into campaign 2016 through a combination of lectures from prominent guest speakers, panel discussions, site visits and small group dialogues. University of Pikeville students heard from the reporters covering the 2016 election, former members of Congress, high-level Congressional staff and leaders of special interest groups. Speakers included Howard Dean, former Vermont governor; Grover Norquist, president, Americans for Tax Reform; Jessica O’Connell, executive director, Emily’s List; Charlie Cook, editor and publisher, Cook Political Report; Frank Spring, political director, Truman National Security Project; Sean Spicer, communications director, Republican National Committee; Dan Glickman, senior fellow, Bipartisan Policy Center; and Chris Matthews, host of MSNBC’s Hardball.

During their whirlwind look into “Politics and the Media,” students had an insider’s perspective on what it’s like to cover a campaign and how the media plays a role in relaying information to voters.

“The speakers went into detail into what they do, the preparations, who they contact … there is no break and it’s a 24-7 job,” said Chad Conway, a senior history political science major. “A lot more goes into it than I thought. So much preparation goes into a 30-second commercial or a six-second clip that goes on the Internet.”

“It was incredibly interesting to learn how much social media can influence a campaign,” said Medley. “It has the influence to change this country.”

Students also took part in site visits and tours of Washington including a full tour of Capitol Hill and a D.C. bus tour.

“This was a one-of-a-kind experience,” said Medley. “It really brought my future forward and made me think.”

UPIKE students have participated in The Washington Center seminars since 2000. Cade has served as a faculty advisor and mentor for the organization since 2004, including two national political conventions, three presidential inaugurations and 21 seminars. Honored by The Washington Center in 2007 as a “Faculty Leader of the Year,” she is the campus liaison for the program and a member of The Washington Center’s Academic Seminars Advisory Council.

Pictured, from left, front row, Lauren McGuire and Anna Kowalok. Second row, from left, Nancy Cade, Ph.D., UPIKE professor of history and political science and Michael Lewis. Third row, from left, Matt Robinson, Blake Medley, Chad Conway and Damir Karapandzic.

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