The Gunston School Hosts Panel of Experts on 2016 Presidential Election


On Friday, October 28th, a distinguished panel will gather at Gunston for “Electing the President: A Conversation,” a special election edition of its annual In Celebration of Books program, which will begin at 8 a.m. in the Field House. Headmaster John Lewis, who teaches American Government, will moderate as guests weigh in on the history, politics, demographics, and theater of presidential elections in the United States.

Panelists include Adam Goodheart, Director of the Starr Center for the American Experience at Washington College and New York Times bestselling author for 1861: The Civil War Awakening; Dr. Melissa Deckman, Chair of Washington College’s Political Science Department and a specialist on women in politics and author of the recently published Tea Party Women: Mama Grizzlies, Grassroots Leaders, and the Changing Face of the American Right; political historian Dr. Matthew Dallek, Associate Professor at George Washington University and author of Defenseless Under the Night: The Roosevelt Years and the Origins of Homeland Security; and Dr. Michele Volansky, Chair of the Department of Theatre and Dance at Washington College. Volansky recently attended the campaign rallies and events of six presidential candidates to research the dynamics of the candidates’ interactions with audiences. Her article, “All the World’s a Campaign,” was published in American Theatre magazine.

After the panel concludes at 9 a.m., students will break out into smaller “Election 101 Seminars,” where they will have the opportunity for further conversation with the panelists in a town hall format. Other seminars will focus on campaign advertisements, polling and voter turnout, and the Electoral College and gerrymandering. The morning program will conclude with a public forum-style debate by members of Gunston’s Debate Club, who will be addressing the following resolution: “Resolved: On balance, it is more important to vote for a candidate based on their policy positions rather than their personal conduct.”

In the afternoon, members of Gunston’s Model United Nations Club and Debate Club will lead a variety of teach-in sessions for students on a wide range of issues, including climate change, trade policy, immigration, third party candidates, and healthcare, among others. The day’s program will conclude with a mock election.

The morning panel is free and open to the public. For more information on this event, please contact Amanda Newell at

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