PULLMAN, Wash. — Senior liberal arts major Jen Leahy of Bothell represented Washington State University last weekend at the annual student symposium hosted by the Center for the Study of the Presidency, a non-partisan think tank devoted to studying the presidency.

Leahy, sponsored by the Thomas Foley Institute for Public Policy and Public Service, was one of nearly 300 students from across the United States at the three-day conference in Washington, D.C. Leahy says there were few representatives from the West. Besides WSU, only Berkeley, Stanford and University of Southern California sent students. “I think that makes WSU’s representation at future symposia even more important,” Leahy says.

The title of the symposium was “Presidential Leadership and Civility in a Time of War.” Prominent scholars and field specialists spoke on increasing civility between the executive and legislative branches, first ladies and mothers, important characteristics of a leader during war, case studies of presidential leadership, and how to communicate America’s identity and interests to the world.

Leahy says the subject of her favorite presentation was getting beyond basic tolerance to achieve true religious pluralism, a lecture by Rev. Dr. Gaddy, director of the Interfaith Alliance. “Dr. Gaddy expressed that merely tolerating spiritual differences is not enough; Americans must foster a national acceptance of all faiths and defend the right of every American to practice the faith of their choosing, or to abstain from religion completely.”

Leahy hopes to attend the conference next year as a Center Fellow. “Sharing ideas and experiences with students across the country was invaluable,” Leahy adds. “I was extremely privileged to represent WSU considering the depth and quality of our Political Science Department.”

Leahy is graduating with a liberal arts degree and a minor in political science and sustainable development and hopes to attend graduate school to pursue an advanced degree in International Affairs.

For more information on the symposium: www.thePresidency.org.