Collin Finn

Inside State and Local Government:
Leadership and Public Affairs

Dr. Mark Morris teaches in Harrison Hall. — Photo by Jack Paul

Instructor: Dr. Mark Morris is the assistant chair and chief departmental adviser of the Miami University Department of Political Science. Dr. Morris is also the senior project manager for the Center for Public Management and Regional Affairs.

Course material: The course focuses on governments at the state and local level, and how decisions made at the national level can impact them. On the course website, Morris states: “Much of the public policy made in Washington, D.C., shapes the agenda for state and local governments across the United States. From the sobering imperative of homeland security to the fascinating patchwork of interstate highways, streets and roads, public officials must understand the intricacies of the politics and economics inside state and local government. Their decisions will determine how public resources are raised and used to meet public service demands.”

“Inside State and Local Government” students participate in a group project. — Contributed photo

Significance of the course to the students: The material covered in the course is important to the participants because the experience will help them get an idea of what a college class in the realm of political science and public administration will be like. “I don’t think they’ll get it anywhere else,” Morris said of the experience.

Creating the course: Morris created this course to give students the opportunity to sample college material. “The course is a combination of courses taught at the college level, applied to the high school level.”

Location of the course: Last year, the course was held at Harrison Hall, which is home to the Department of Political Science. This year, parts of Harrison Hall are being extensively renovated, so the course is being held at McGuffey Hall instead.

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 Sarah Anne Kauffman: Rising star

Sarah Anne Kauffman stars as the baker’s wife in “Into the Woods.” — Contributed photo

Sarah Anne Kauffman is attending the Summer Scholars program for the second time this year. Last year, Kauffman participated in the “Inside State and Local Government: Leadership and Public Affairs” module, but this year, she is participating in the “Free Trade/Fair Trade: Understanding World Trade from the Local to the Global” module. She is entering her senior year at Grandview Heights High School in Columbus, Ohio. Kauffman is involved in theater productions, Select Vocal Ensemble, Junior Varsity Swimming, Grandview Heights’ literary magazine and the Grandview Heights Varsity Football Team, where she serves as team manager. In addition, Kauffman participates in “Catco Is Kids,” which is a community theater group. “I love doing ‘Catco Is Kids,’” Kauffman said. She intends on making a career out of her musical talents, but she plans on being flexible with her future aspirations. “My passion is to bring the same opportunities of life, success, and love to everyone, and I want to be able to share my love for theater and performing. I want to share opportunity with others whether that is through being in a Broadway production, writing a book, writing speeches for the president, or being on SNL. I just want to bring my love for everything I do to others.”

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Cynthia Miller: Persistent athlete

Cynthia Miller stops for a photo near one of her biking trails. — Contributed photo

2017 will be the second year Cynthia Miller has participated in the second session of the Miami University Summer Scholars Program. Last year, Miller participated in the “Inside State and Local Government: Leadership and Public Affairs” module, and she had such a great time that she decided to come back for a second time. This year, she is participating in the “Free Trade/Fair Trade: Understanding World Trade from the Local to the Global” module, where she hopes to gain knowledge on international trade. She is a rising senior at Wayzata High School in Plymouth, Minn., where she has been involved in cross country, synchronized swimming, and National Honors Society. Miller is also a member of her school’s mountain biking team, which she describes as the sport she is most passionate about because “the team atmosphere just dragged me in. It quickly became so much fun.” She originally joined the team at the beginning of her junior year of high school after she was forced to quit cross country, her preferred sport of two years, due to an injury. Her hard work, dedication, and refusal to give up on athletics has paid off, as she thoroughly enjoys her participation in mountain biking. Miller plans on participating in mountain biking again this year, which will be her final year at Wayzata High School before she leaves Minnesota for college.

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Brendan Keck: Anime fan

Brendan Keck prepares for a Mason High School Orchestra performance. — Contributed photo

Brendan Keck is participating in the “Taking Care of Business” module this year. He is entering his final year at Mason High School in Mason, Ohio, this fall. He is involved in the National Chinese Honor Society, and he plays the cello in Mason High School’s top orchestra. Keck described orchestra as the activity he is most passionate about. “In orchestra, you meet some really cool people,” he said. In his spare time, Keck enjoys playing video games, his favorites being the Left 4 Dead series. He also regularly watches Anime, which is a style of Japanese animation. Anime has become very popular in recent years, with English versions of Studio Ghibli movies directed by award-winning animator Hayao Miyazaki such as Spirited Away and Ponyo being released in the United States by Disney. Keck enjoys anime because the storylines are fascinating and entertaining to him, and he feels the emotion that the creators of the shows intend for the viewers to feel. “Watching Anime is fun,” Keck said. “I picked it up because I enjoy watching the romance. It makes me feel fuzzy on the inside. Otherwise, I just do it to kill time.”

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“Media Matters” Debrief

Over these two weeks, I have learned many things about the field of journalism. From Steve Beitzel, I learned all about how a broadcast room operates, how the equipment works, and the different positions available in the area of TV news. From Emily Williams, I learned about how The Miami Student operates, and how important being involved in organizations like it in college can be. Tess Sohngen told us all about Global Citizen, a news site dedicated to ending world poverty, and Austin Fast shared how the world of TV news is developing material for the internet. From Bethany Bruner, I learned all about the action and thrill that the world of journalism offers through her coverage of the Kirkersville shooting. From Chris Graves, not only did I learn all about a local murder case, but I learned just how passionate people can be about their line of work. Dan Sewell told us about how the Associated Press operates, and he told us about journalistic standards, including the AP motto, “get it first, but first, get it right.” At WVXU-FM, we heard from many people, including Howard Wilkinson, who has a brilliant knowledge of politics, and has my dream job. Mike Horsley showed us the WKRC-TV broadcast studio in action, and he showed us how a broadcast is put together using the biggest stories of the day. Rob Daumeyer of the Cincinnati Business Courier shared enlightening information on how to make yourself more marketable after graduation from college, and what the Business Courier writes about. Shannon Rosenberg shared what it is like to write for Buzzfeed, and Nicole Theodore shared her experiences with Playboy. Molly Shanks shared her experiences in reality TV, and her work on Ax Men, Dancing With The Stars, and Jay Leno’s Garage. Finally, from Professor Newberry and all of the experiences that she arranged for us, I learned that I am interested in pursuing journalism in college. This experience has been unforgettable, and I am thankful that I had the opportunity to attend.

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About the Author

SCOTUSCOLLINCollin Finn is entering his final year at Portsmouth (Ohio) High School. He is an Eagle Scout from Troop 12, president of his National Honor Society chapter, a member of the Portsmouth High School Marching Band, and a member of his school’s Tennis, Mock Trial and Quiz Bowl teams. Finn is politically active, volunteering for Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s presidential campaign during the 2016 Republican primaries, and volunteering for the Ohio Republican Party during the 2016 general election. His efforts resulted in more than 5,000 voter contacts through literature, canvassing and phone banking. Collin loves to travel, and has been to Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Monaco, and Italy, including Vatican City. Finn would like to major in political science and journalism in college, and eventually go to law school. He hopes to gain knowledge on the media and how it functions during his participation in the 2017 Miami University Summer Scholars Program.