Student Spotlight
Meadows for (Student) Congress

The Henry Clay Center’s annual Student Congress, held annually in Lexington, Kentucky, is designed to acquaint a new generation of leaders with celebrated 19th-century Kentucky statesman Henry Clay. The conference brings together  up-and-coming seniors—one from each state and the District of Columbia—to learn about state and federal politics and about the role of a statesman. This year, UIndy political science major Mark Meadows was chosen to represent Indiana.

‘A politician thinks of the next election. A statesman, of the next generation’ —J. F. Clarke

“I was contacted by Dan Stoker, UIndy director of Student Services,” Mark says. “He recommended me to U.S. Senator Richard Lugar, who nominated me for the spot. Every person who attended the conference was appointed by their senior U.S. senator.”

The week-long conference was packed with activities to educate young leaders in the practice and theory of statesmanship. The students spoke with ambassadors, federal judges, and professors from the University of Kentucky Law School and the Patterson School of Diplomacy. The guest speakers and presentations enabled the students to see what they’ve been learning and studying being put into action.

“The last night there was a presentation on the role of the Speaker of the House, moderated by John Harwood of CNBC,” Mark says. “It included former speaker Nancy Pelosi, Dennis Hastert, and current speaker John Boehner. It aired on C-Span 2, which was pretty cool.”

Rubbing elbows

Other highlights included meeting Burmese refugee Myo Myint, subject of the HBO documentary “Burma Soldier,” and one other political notable—the first-ever female Speaker of the House.

“Nancy Pelosi was on my flight back home. Once we landed I got to talk to her and shake her hand. It was
a pretty surreal moment.”

Along with studying Political Science, Mark is very involved on campus. Now in his senior year, he is president of UIndy’s branch of College Republicans and works for the Office of Annual Giving.

He credits UIndy for preparing him for the prestigious conference, which gave him the chance to spend a week surrounded by political icons and prospective politicians.

“My political science classes gave me the knowledge I needed to understand and appreciate all of the subjects,” he says, “and of the importance of being a statesman.”

What was his favorite aspect of the Student Congress?

“The best part of the whole week was meeting 50 people who had similar interests—and getting to listen to all the great speakers.”

—Sarah Stierwalt ’13