Philosophy wasn't my first choice. I think my first choice was probably either political science or a paralegal degree cause that just kind of makes the most sense when you're thinking about law school. But after doing some research it shows that law schools are looking for students with diverse backgrounds like English and philosophy because they need students who have the ability to critically think and to build logical arguments. Philosophy helped me train the mental skills I needed – like critical thinking, logic and argumentation – that I would need for all of the practices of law. I think philosophy was probably the best major I could have chosen to prepare me for that.
The biggest impact on my success at Clarion was the supportive faculty. Dr. Phillips was my advisor. I took every class I could with him just because I knew I'd get a quality class out of it and that if I ever had questions his office was always open.
I didn't always want to go to law school. I have a very broad base of interests in entertainment, sports, movies, music and games. But I was always good at arguing. You grow up with three brothers you just kind of develop that as a skill. It kind of made sense for me once I was able to connect law school with my interests. That's kind of where I developed the idea of wanting to do intellectual property law, which deals with all of those industries like entertainment and music and sports. And once I started looking into that and looking into law schools within the state that dealt with IP law and had an IP background or an IP law focus that's when I found Duquesne. After I visited, I just loved it. It really felt like home to me.
I chose to major in history for my bachelor of arts degree because I have always, since I was in elementary school, been interested in the past. It was not actually until my senior year at Clarion that I found my area – the French Caribbean.
During my senior year at Clarion, I completed an Honors Thesis under the direction of Dr. McIntyre. This research paper was focused on Haiti and the syncretic religion of Vodou. It was through the process of conducting research for this paper that I realized that the French Caribbean is the area I wanted to continue studying. While at Clarion, I also completed French I through IV with Dr. Elisabeth Sauvage-Callaghan, which has been very beneficial to my academic career. As my current research focuses on the colonial French Caribbean, having some background in the French language has been very beneficial for me.
By the fall of my senior year when I was applying for Masters programs at other universities, I knew that I would continue my academic journey until I had succeeded in obtaining a doctorate and that I wanted to teach college students rather than high school. I would certainly say that the faculty at Clarion University were key to my success today. Without their guidance and advice, I would likely not have been accepted into, let alone succeeded at, a Research 1 Institution such as the University of Georgia. I received full funding there as a teaching assistant in the history department.
In addition to my Master of Arts in History that I will soon obtain from UGA, I am also finishing a Graduate Certificate in Women's Studies this semester. After completing my doctorate in possibly five or so years, I hope to obtain a position at a university where I'll teach classes on topics such as gender and race, and classes on the pre-modern Atlantic World, Early Modern French History, and the Caribbean and Haiti.
Choosing a school that will impact your future is never easy. There are many things that help contribute to deciding what school is best for you. There are the finances, the campus atmosphere, and most importantly the education. Clarion has helped me out with all three and that is why I chose to attend here.
I come from a very small town right outside of Harrisburg, PA. I wanted to go to a school that was far away from home but was still in-state. I was a part of the R. Benjamin Wiley Harrisburg Partnership Program, which is a program for high school students designed to give opportunities to work with different university staff and faculty to help with academic skills needed for college. Throughout this program I visited about seven state schools, but only one really felt like home and that was Clarion University.
Clarion University was the only school who reached out to me after I completed the partnership program. The admissions staff, the peer counselors I had, and the director of the program made sure that I was comfortable in transitioning to the college lifestyle. They made me feel like I belonged here, and they accepted me as soon as I got here. The education I received from Clarion during the summer of my stay was excellent. The teachers knew my name and they were able and willing to help me if needed. They made sure that I would not fall behind. I remember as soon as I got home I told my mom, "Clarion might be the school for me." We started looking at the tuition and knew it was within reach. I applied to the university and within four weeks I got my acceptance letter. I was so happy. Arriving here on campus for that fall was a little nerve-wracking. I didn't really know anyone and I wasn't sure if I would make friends or like any of my classes. After a few months of taking classes, joining organizations, and finding who I was, I knew this was the place for me.
Four years later looking back I realize that Clarion is the reason why I am the person I am today. I am more confident, much wiser, and ready to head into my career. I have been involved with many organizations, made many friends, and have taken part in undergraduate research. My resume has doubled from when I was in high school. I have met so many people and have made so many connections that I can take with me when I graduate. Clarion University has impacted my future but in a good way. I am proud to say that I will be the first person in my family to graduate college and I owe it all to Clarion University.
Kaylar Moser is a rising junior at Clarion University, majoring in political science and minoring in French and history. Moser currently serves as a co-captain of Clarion University's dance team, and she is the secretary of Clarion's College Democrats.
Through her personal achievements and cooperation with Clarion University, she has attended the National Education for Women's Leadership Pennsylvania program at Chatham University in Pittsburgh. The intensive week-long program aims to empower and advocate for women as political activists and leaders in political fields. College students are invited to undertake political leadership roles throughout the program. Moser recounts an especially powerful role of "introducing the PennDOT secretary in a speech given at a dinner in the Governor's mansion."
The following semester, Moser gained a prestigious internship with the American Legion in Washington, D.C., through the Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars. Moser worked alongside employees of the American Legion in the Veteran's Affairs sector familiarizing herself with current and proposed laws and bills affecting veterans throughout the U.S.
She was enrolled in a college course on U.S. Foreign Policy as well as taking online courses through Clarion University concurrently. The internship subjected her to interaction with U.S. policymakers and a diverse pool of fellow interns from throughout the world; this interaction left her with the impactful realization that "while 'all politics are local', no one lives in a vacuum and the trials and concerns, as well as joys and celebrations, of people globally are surprisingly connected."
Moser hopes to continue her successes beyond Clarion University with plans to enroll in a graduate school with a master's program in international relations. She aspires to work in the U.S. State Department or a similar position allowing her to politically engage with foreign entities.
State Rep. Donna Oberlander
Rep. Donna Oberlander (R-Clarion/Armstrong/Forest) will continue her strong advocacy of rural issues in the 63rd District by advancing within the leadership ranks of the House Republican Caucus in Harrisburg, as she was elected today to serve as chairman of the House Majority Policy Committee.
As Majority Policy Committee chairman, Oberlander will conduct hearings about important issues, gather testimony and information from key stakeholders and work with her colleagues in the House Republican Caucus to develop policies to address those issues. Key issues of the Policy Committee in the past few years have involved rural broadband accessibility, the opioid epidemic, job creation and economic development, among a host of others.
She is the first woman to be elected to that leadership post in the House Republican Caucus.
"As Policy Committee chairman, I'll be at the forefront of developing policies for a number of issues important to people across the state and especially here in the 63rd District," Oberlander said. "I am grateful for the support of the people back home and my colleagues who've encouraged me along the way and in my previous leadership role. By taking on this new leadership role, I'll be able to guide policy development so that the legislation being crafted in Harrisburg reflects the priorities of the people of Pennsylvania."
Leadership elections were held Tuesday at the state Capitol and included all returning House Republican lawmakers, as well as 19 new first-time members.
The Policy Committee thoroughly examines the variety of issues identified as key priorities by House Republican members, which then helps drive the caucus' policy agenda for the upcoming legislative session.
"I'm excited to serve in this instrumental position to work with members from around the Commonwealth and help bridge the differences among our geographically diverse regions," said Oberlander. "That cooperation will allow us to develop consensus on the issues of the day and really make a positive difference for all Pennsylvanians."
Oberlander served as caucus secretary for the past two legislative sessions.
The new House leadership team will also consist of Speaker-designee Mike Turzai (R-Allegheny), Majority Leader Bryan Cutler (R-Lancaster), Caucus Whip Kerry Benninghoff (R-Centre/Mifflin), Appropriations Chairman Stan Saylor (R-York), Caucus Administrator Kurt Masser (R-Columbia/Montour/Northumberland), Caucus Chairman Marcy Toepel (R-Montgomery) and Caucus Secretary Mike Reese (R-Westmoreland).
The new leadership team will be installed when the House begins the 2019-20 session in January.