The Stover Scholars took their annual trip to Washington, D.C., from March 23-24, meeting with prominent figures in government, business, politics and other professions. After arriving back on campus, many of the Stover Scholars impacted Waynesburg University by talking to their friends and others at the university about what they learned, the interesting places they saw and the people they met with on this year’s trip.
What the Stover Scholars learn on these trips relates to all different majors and helps them in their future careers said Dr. Larry Stratton, director of the Stover Center for Constitutional Studies and Moral Leadership. Stratton, who plans the Stover Scholar D.C. trip every year, hopes to see the benefits of the trip pass on to other students at Waynesburg University.
“Whenever any student at Waynesburg does something, it expands the network and the reach of the university,” said Stratton. “The experiences and conversations about the experience hopefully will encourage students to set their sights on being leaders in the political, economic and legal worlds.”
Stover Scholars have met with more than 100 prominent leaders over the six years and seven trips the program has taken to D.C. This year, those leaders included Georgetown University Law Center Professor Randy Barnett, Republican U.S. Representative Tim Murphy, U.S. Court of Federal Claims Judge Victor Wolski and Fox News Political News Correspondent and Host Tucker Carlson.
Melissa Sargent, director’s assistant for the Stover Program, believes that meeting leaders from a variety of different careers helps students in their everyday life and future careers.
“We meet with individuals across careers,” said Sargent. “They’re not all politicians, they’re not all business leaders, and I think that it really helps students get comfortable speaking, asking questions, making eye contact, those important things that you need to do in life, getting a job and moving up in a career.”
This year was freshman Stover Scholar Harrison Scott’s first D.C. trip with the group. One of his favorite parts about the trip was a private tour of the National Archives by historian Jessie Kratz, where the Stover Scholars saw the Declaration of Independence, The Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
“I was just thinking, wow, Ben Franklin’s hand wrote that,” said Scott, speaking about seeing the historic signature on the Declaration of Independence.
Sophomore Stover Scholar Olivia Schultz-Falandes, who also went on the trip, said she also especially enjoyed seeing the National Archives, since she is a history and political science major.
“Just standing in the same room with these, like, 300 year old documents is such a surreal experience,” said Schultz-Falandes. “It’s absolutely surreal, the opportunities that come about from visiting these various places in D.C.”
This is Schultz-Falandes’ second trip to D.C. with the Stover Scholars. She said the trips are difficult to compare.
“They’re definitely different in the people that we get to meet and the experiences that we have with each trip,” Schultz-Falandes said.
Schultz-Falandes believes that the Stover Scholar D.C. trip impacts the whole university.
“Even though it’s not open to all students, as it’s just a Stover Scholar experience, that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t touch other students,” Schultz-Falandes said, “because it does, through the way we communicate our experiences to other students and our professors.”