Program Committee Election

Please help choose citizen members for the Humanities Council Program Committee. The Program Committee oversees all direct programs and grants of the Humanities Council. This includes reviewing grant applications and making funding recommendations to the Humanities Council board of directors. Your vote gives the public a voice in our grants and program decisions. Review the candidates below, then visit the online ballot to make your choices. Vote for four of the candidates below:


James J. Broomall, Jefferson County, is an associate professor of history at Shepherd University, and director of the George Tyler Moore Center for the Study of the Civil War.  In addition to numerous journal articles, he is the author of Private Confederacies: The Emotional Worlds of Southern Men as Citizens and Soldiers, and co-editor of Rethinking American Emancipation: Legacies of Slavery and the Quest for Black Freedom.  Broomall is currently working on a book project titled Battle Pieces: The Imagery and Artifacts of the American Civil War. He, his wife Tish, and their three children—Simon, Henry, and Addy—live in Shepherdstown.


Amanda Phillips Chapman, Gilmer County, holds a PhD in Critical and Cultural Studies from the University of Pittsburgh and has taught at the University of Alabama and the University of Pittsburgh. Currently, she is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Language and Literature at Glenville State College.


Patrick Corcoran, Raleigh County, has a background in history and library/information science, specializing in archives and special collections.  Having lived in eight West Virginia counties, he has consistently engaged with his respective local history authorities, currently serving as an at-large Board Member for the Raleigh County Historical Society.  Corcoran has experience in AmeriCorps national service, archaeology, archives, clinical management, legislative duties, librarianship, newspapers, retail, and small business ownership.


Rachael Meads, Jefferson County, is the Assistant Director of Student Engagement at Shepherd University where she environmentally engineers learning opportunities for students and the greater community.  Meads teaches Appalachian culture, music, and ethnomusicology in Shepherd’s Appalachian Studies program, is the founder of the Appalachian Heritage Festival at Shepherd, and a is board member for the Center for Appalachian Studies and Communities.


Sam Petsonk, Fayette County, is a Beckley-based lawyer focusing on labor and employment law, black lung disease, public education, and other matters of community concern.  A native of Morgantown, West Virginia, Sam is past president of the West Virginia Employment Lawyers Association, and worked for U.S. Senators Robert C. Byrd and Carte Goodwin in Washington, DC. He earned degrees from Washington & Lee University School of Law and Brandeis University. Sam is a proud, lifelong bluegrass and old-time musician. He lives with his wife, Stephanie Tyree, and their sons, Teddy and Levi.


Jason Phillips, Monongalia County, is the Eberly Professor of Civil War Studies at West Virginia University.  An active researcher and graduate advisor, Phillips has published three books and directed over twenty doctoral dissertations and Master’s theses. His most recent book is Looming Civil War: How Nineteenth-Century Americans Imagined the Future (Oxford University Press, 2018).  In 2020, he was recognized as an Eberly College Outstanding Researcher of the Year.  He is an incumbent and eligible for re-election.


Gabriel Rieger, Mercer County, teaches Medieval and Renaissance English literature at Concord University. He directs the Appalachian Shakespeare Project.  Gabriel lives in Athens with his wife and two children.  Dr. Rieger’s research interests include Shakespeare, Thomas Middleton, early modern literature and cultural studies with a particular emphasis on Jacobean tragedy, as well as gothic literature and the horror story.  Rieger is an incumbent and eligible for re-election.


Cast your vote by March 1.