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WVU students win foreign policy contest

MORGANTOWN — Student representatives from WVU have won the European External Action Service’s 2018 Schuman Challenge, the second edition of a foreign policy contest for undergraduate students held in Washington, D.C.

Garrett Burgess, a senior Honors student majoring in political science and world languages, literatures and linguistics with a concentration in Russian studies, and Morgan King, a senior Honors student majoring in civil and environmental engineering with a minor in international and comparative politics, placed first among ten teams competing from institutions including the American University, Johns Hopkins University and the US Naval Academy.

Burgess is also an Air Force Reserve Officers’ Training Corps flight commander, a 2017 Newman Civic Fellow, a Gilman International Scholar, a finalist for the prestigious British Marshall Scholarship and WVU’s 2017 Mr. Mountaineer.

King is a member of WVU’s chapter of Engineers Without Borders and the Model United Nations. She is a Mount Vernon Leadership Fellow and has worked for the U.S. Foreign Service Internship Program through the U.S. Department of State. She was also part of a student initiative to create a tribute to “Hidden Figures” human computer Katherine Johnson in the Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources.

At the Schuman Challenge, teams were tasked with formulating, presenting and defending concrete initiatives and measures for transatlantic cooperation to ensure a sustainable reduction in tensions in the Korean Peninsula. In groups of two to three students, they focused on creating resolutions to uphold the regime of nonproliferation and improving human rights conditions.

The challenge took place at the Delegation of the European Union to the United States and consisted of preliminary and championship rounds, in which teams had up to 20 minutes to present and defend original proposals before a panel of senior topic experts and thought leaders in the field. Teams were judged based on the categories of evidence-based analysis, command of subject matter and clarity and power of presentation.

The WVU team was coached by Jay Cole, senior advisor to the president, and Clarissa Estep, director of the international studies program.

“Morgan and Garrett’s victory is another example of WVU students achieving success at the national level,” Cole said. “They demonstrated impressive diligence in their research, skill in their thinking, and poise in their speaking to bring home this championship.”