Jenna Beadle is a 2012 graduate of Ashland University and the Ashbrook Scholar Program. She completed her Master of Arts in Public Policy and Administration from The Ohio State University in 2019. She is the Director of State Policy for the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation, which is the largest general farm organization in the state. She advocates for her members on issues like energy, transportation, education, and economic development to the Ohio General Assembly.
HOW HAS YOUR EDUCATION IN THE ASHBROOK SCHOLAR PROGRAM IMPACTED YOUR LIFE?
It taught me how to think. It is easy to read about how the Founding Fathers established our form of government, but there are a lot of questions that arise from the Founding: Why did they give us a republic? With what other forms of government was democracy competing? Is it the best form of government? What is the importance of self-government and how is it possible to achieve? So much is lost in history when we only study facts and dates and miss the rich discussions of natural rights, the social contract, liberty, the relationship between man and its government, the influence God has on man, statesmanship, and many others. We must think through these principles just like our predecessors did; only then can we understand the importance of our Republic and hope to keep it.
WHAT DIFFERENCES DO YOU SEE BETWEEN YOURSELF AND COLLEAGUES WHO WERE NOT EDUCATED BY ASHBROOK?
Political conversations with individuals who were educated by other institutions often have a shocking lack of depth. The Constitution is almost never mentioned when discussing policies and principles, which creates what I would call “party relativism.” Colleagues debate each other and seemingly “win” by overwhelming one another with manipulated data and political correctness as opposed to actually exchanging ideas and arriving at truth. When you discuss ideas with others, there is a risk of being proven wrong or changing your mind so many avoid such conversations at all costs, but I believe that is the only way to possibly know what is best for your country, state, or the individual.
HOW DID YOUR ASHBROOK PROFESSORS IMPACT YOUR EDUCATION AND YOUR CAREER?
Dr. Jeff Sikkenga had the greatest impact on me academically by demanding my best instead of someone else’s best. He understood my individual potential and challenged me to reach it. He didn’t provide the answers for me; instead, he asked good questions in response to mine and got me to think through an issue on my own, assisting me along the way by guiding me in the right direction.