Chris Myers discusses being a student trustee for Clarion University
Clarion University senior Chris Myers spent last summer in Washington, D.C., hobnobbing with politicians, strolling on Capitol Hill while America's leaders negotiated the debt ceiling, and enjoying his evening jog at the National Mall, between Capitol Hill and the Washington Monument, where young movers and shakers shook off the day's tensions with pick-up games.
A business economics major from Bethel Park, Pa., Myers was in the nation's capitol for a summer internship with the non-profit sector of the Small Business Development Center at George Mason University, iMADdu, Inc., (I Make a Difference, Do You?). There he focused on development, community event development and project management.
"While in Washington, I knew I needed to take advantage of everything offered," Myers said. "I attended a few think tank events this summer through the Woodrow Wilson Center for Scholars that pertained to my major and education. These events allowed me the opportunity to ask questions of top academics in my field, as well as spend time networking and learning."
Myers, who began his Clarion University academic career as an education major, maintains a passion for the field and policies that affect it.
"I had the pleasure of sitting down with the legislative correspondent to Sen. Robert Casey (D-PA). Something that we discussed a lot was education, especially No Child Left Behind. We discussed how the policy hurts education and the limited success it puts on society," Myers said.
At Clarion University, as well as in Washington, D.C., Myers is a seize-the-day kind of guy.
Myers is the student representative for Clarion University Council of Trustees, the university's governing body, where he has equal authority to the other members. He was elected president of the University Activities Board for the 2010-11 academic year, is a member of the Clarion University Web Advisory Committee, Clarion University Traditions Council, Clarion Student Association Board of Directors and serves as student coordinator of the Sophomore Focus Program and webmaster for the Center for Leadership and Involvement. Myers was one of nine students selected to represent Clarion University at the 2009 National Conference on Student Leadership in Washington, D.C., and he was a developer of the March 2010 Clarion University Leaders in Action conference.
Last spring Myers was involved in planning various parts of Clarion University President Karen Whitney's inauguration, including managing the student celebration.
"When I was given the task, I wanted to create an event where the president would have the opportunity to relax," Myers said. "She came out and had fun line dancing, eating with the students, cracking jokes and having her picture taken with the new mascot. She really did enjoy herself. I'm glad she was able to."
Myers has found his extracurricular activities to be a valuable part of his education. His involvement outside of the classroom has complemented what he has learned in the classroom.
"I've gained an understanding of budgets through (working with) Clarion Student Association and the university budget, and in the classroom I learned the economic theories and principles behind that," he said.
Myers chose Clarion University because of its excellent reputation for educating future teachers, his career goal at the time. Students often change career directions as they refine their interests and define their strengths, and Myers' experiences in the Clarion University classrooms and in his outside employment led to a change of major to business economics.
"I was working at American Eagle in South Hills Village for about two years, and I found that I liked the business part behind what I was doing. We would get briefed every hour on numbers and how to improve them," Myers said.
A required economics course at Clarion cemented his decision.
"I took consumer economics with Professor Lynda Barnes, and I absolutely fell in love with the class. It was fascinating to figure out the thought process behind the decisions you make every day. She talked about the stock market, the best ways to make money and to save money," he said.
After graduating in May, Myers plans to return to Washington, D.C., to begin his career and attend graduate school for political management and strategy.
"I've learned that it is expensive there and sacrifices must be made, but I also know it is worth it to me. I know now where I want to live and what I want to do, which is a fantastic feeling!"