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WVU names 2008 Puskar Leadership Scholars

on Tue, 12/02/2008 - 08:00

What do a member of the West Virginia University College Republicans, a communications studies major and an Air National Guardsman have in common?

Juniors Judy Bransford, Devon Martin and Nathan Sisler have all been selected as this year's Puskar Leadership Scholars at WVU. Established in April 2007 by Morgantown philanthropist Milan "Mike" Puskar, the program supports exceptional students in the leadership studies minor offered through the Eberly College of Arts and Sciences.

Bransford is a public relations major from Maitland, Fla. She is involved in Chi Omega sorority and the College Republicans. After graduation, she plans to apply to law school. She enjoys politics and hopes to work on the 2012 presidential campaign.

"The Leadership Studies Program is fantastic," Bransford said. "When we traveled to our first conference, I felt that we had covered a lot more material than students at other schools. Even though it's a young program, it's a very good program."

Martin is a communications studies major from West Chester, Pa., and a member of the Leadership Studies Student Association.

"I think this scholar program will open doors and help me grow," Martin said. "I love meeting new people along the way."

Sisler is an international studies major from Moorefield, W.Va., and is president of LSSA. An Air National Guardsman who has served as crew chief on a C-5 cargo aircraft, he was named Airman of the Year for the 167th Air Lift Wing Maintenance Group in Martinsburg, W.Va.

Bransford, Martin and Sisler join returning Puskar Scholar seniors Tyler Blankenship, Nelson France, Whitney Rae Peters and Cassie Werner as the second class of Puskar Leadership Scholars.

"I'm so proud of Judy, Nathan and Devon, who have all demonstrated leadership in the classroom, on campus and as employees and volunteers," said Larry Cote, director of the Leadership Studies Program and chair of the Puskar Scholars Selection Committee.

The Puskar Leadership Scholars Program, with funding administered by the WVU Foundation, encourages and supports a wide range of enrichment activities for the Puskar Scholars. These include workshops and seminars, travel and conference attendance, service-learning activities with a leadership component or capstone experiences.

"The program creates new and exciting opportunities to gain important lessons outside of the classroom," said L. Christopher Plein, assistant dean of the School of Applied Social Sciences, chair of the Division of Public Administration and a member of the selection committee.

"Leadership Studies encourages witnessing leadership in action, and the support provided under the Puskar Scholars program enables our students to learn from others who have leadership experience and expertise," Plein added.

Neil Bucklew, professor of management and industrial relations and 20th president of WVU, is the third member of the selection committee.

Puskar is the co-founder and chairman of Mylan Laboratories Inc., one of the largest and most successful generic pharmaceutical companies in the United States. He has been inducted into the Order of Vandalia, WVU's highest honor for service to the institution.