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Miami elects African-American associated student government president

04/28/1998

OXFORD, Ohio -- Hard to believe that Miami University sophomore Nathan Estep, at age 20, is already a decade into his political career.

"It was one of the few things in which I've always had an interest," Estep says, "even when I wasn't as focused as I am now. I love the idea of helping people whom I've never met. I don't think there is anything more powerful than that."

Estep, a Columbus native, has come a long way since--at age ten--he passed out flyers for the Democratic National Committee during the 1988 election. Miami's undergraduates recently elected him president of the Associated Student Government for the 1998-99 school year.

That he received a whopping 74 percent of the vote is certainly laudable. But, the election was historic for another reason: Estep is just the third African-American to be elected ASG president at Miami.

"The world of the future is not homogeneous; it is diverse," said Dr. Myrtis Powell, vice president for student affairs at Miami. "It is about learning to live together respectfully. Miami's student body seems increasingly to understand this. The election of Nathan Estep as student government president is one more sign of positive change."

Estep is unfazed by the monumental nature of his victory. After all, there is work to be done--expanding Miami's Student Counseling Services, adding an Ivy League-style "reading day" before exams and organizing a leadership conference, for starters.

"Often times people are not always ready to see individuals who have not historically held leadership position hold them," he said. "For some, this is difficult. You meet people who are open minded most of the time, but who are still struggling with their stereotypes. Fortunately, they are in the minority at Miami."

At St. Charles High School in Bexley, Estep excelled academically and had his pick of colleges. He chose Miami because "very few institutions of higher learning--especially those with 16,000 students--offer the opportunity to have personal relationships with administrators and faculty," he said.

"Beyond that," Estep continued, "the social relationships that I have developed here would not have been possible anywhere else. I am convinced of that. My only regret is that I only have two more years to study at this very special place."

Estep, who has interned for U.S. Reps. Bobby Rush of Chicago and John Kasich of Columbus, state Rep. Otto Beatty Jr. of Columbus and the Ohio Commission on Minority Health, hopes to spend his summer working for State Treasurer Ken Blackwell's campaign for secretary of state.

After graduating from Miami in two years, Estep hopes to attend graduate school at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government.

For additional information contact David Thomas at (513) 529-7592.

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