Doug Squire, a teaching instructor in the WVU Department of Mathematics since 2006, was selected for the Leadership West Virginia Class of 2019.
A native of Charleston, West Virginia, Squire is among nearly 60 professionals of various industries across the state to be chosen for the eight-month program, which begins March 21.
“The goal is to get people who have a commitment to West Virginia together. It’s professionals in all different fields. They could be doctors, lawyers, educators, construction workers,” Squire said. “Part of it is to see what’s happening in different areas around the state, and part of it is to network with people you might not otherwise have contact with.”
Leadership West Virginia selects a group of community leaders from different careers and regions of the state to participate in a series of monthly trainings addressing issues facing West Virginia. The sessions take place in different communities across the state, and experts with different points of view lead the discussions.
The program is an opportunity to build knowledge, network with various industry professionals and remain informed about challenges facing the state. Topics for this year’s sessions include economic development, health care, education and the justice system.
“I’m excited about the opportunity to meet those other professionals and to see what’s going on in other areas of the state,” Squire said. “I think it will be a really positive experience.”
Though Squire is eagerly anticipating his experiences with Leadership West Virginia, he sees the program as an important opportunity to help his students network for future job opportunities rather than a way to further his own career.
“A lot of college students don’t have access to people who are in the field that they actually want to pursue. If somebody is an accounting major or somebody is thinking about law school, they have access to the professors here who are in those fields, which is great. But they don’t necessarily have a contact who is actually an accountant or who is actually a lawyer, who they can see themselves being in five or 10 years,” Squire said. “I’m hoping that when I have a student who is interested in, say, accounting or meteorology or whatever they’re interested in, that I will have a connection to someone in their discipline.”
Squire credits his passion for teaching in part to his experiences at Governor’s Honors Academy, an annual three-week summer program for rising high school seniors. The program is comprised of 180 of the best students in the state and is designed to supplement high school curricula with more complex studies involving art, science and culture. Squire attended the program in 1998, and currently serves as an instructor there.
“It was a really good experience for me as a student,” Squire said. “I had a pretty positive experience in high school up until then, but it completely changed my outlook on school and what I wanted to do in my career.”