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WVU experts available to speak about policy issues during legislative session

This is a photo looking up at the West Virginia State Capitol from the side that faces the Kanawha River. In the middle of the frame are columns. The gold and blue dome is against a gray sky.

WVU experts are available to speak about a range of state issues during the 2023 Regular Legislative Session in Charleston. (WVU Photo/Shauna Johnson)

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West Virginia University is home to experts who can provide insightful information and context enhancing reporting through the 2023 Regular Legislative Session opening Jan. 11.  

Additional experts are available through the WVUToday Experts Database


Jorge Atiles, dean of extension and engagement and director, WVU Extension. Collaboration between communities and key partners, outreach and programming addressing needs of West Virginians in all 55 counties. Tara Curtis is the contact for Dean Atiles. 304-293-7996;  

William Franko, associate professor, political science, Eberly College of Arts and Sciences. Political and economic inequality and class politics in the U.S. 304-293-9533,

Karen Kunz, associate professor, public administration, Eberly College of Arts and Sciences. Public policy, public financial management, fiscal policy, budgeting, advocacy, financial markets regulation and civil disobedience. 304-293-7972; 

Christopher Plein, professor, public administration, Eberly College of Arts and Sciences. Public policy formation and implementation, social and health policy, rural development and community transition, and West Virginia-specific public policy and public administration. 304-293-7974;

Sam Workman, director, Institute for Policy Research and Public Affairs in the John D. “Jay” Rockefeller School of Policy and Politics, and professor, political science, Eberly College of Arts and Sciences. Public policy, regulation and how governments use information. 304-293-9306;   


Stephanie Coleman, program director, Low Income Taxpayer Clinic, College of Law. Tax law. Coleman is based in Charleston. 304-205-6908;

John Deskins, director, WVU Bureau of Business and Economic Research, assistant dean for outreach and engagement, associate professor, economics, John Chambers College of Business and Economics. Economic development, small business economics, labor force participation, rural economic development, state economy, government tax and expenditure policy. 304-293-7876;   

Brian Lego, research assistant professor, WVU Bureau of Business and Economic Research. Energy economics, housing policy, housing and local economic growth and regional economic indicators. 304-293-7829;    

Patrick McGinley, professor, College of Law. Natural resources law, land use and zoning law, constitutional law, administrative law, media rights. 304-293-6823;   

Heather Stephens, director, WVU Regional Research Institute. Effect of policies across regions, energy, environmental and regional economics. 304-293-5639;

Danny Twilley, assistant vice president of economic, community and asset development for the Brad and Alys Smith Outdoor Economic Development Collaborative. Ascend WV, talent attraction and retention, outdoor community development, outdoor recreation asset development, business development and workforce development.

Elaine Waterhouse Wilson, professor, College of Law. Tax law and policy. 304-293-7802;   


Matthew Campbell, associate professor, education, College of Applied Human Sciences. Teacher recruitment and retention, teacher education and development and mathematics education. 204-293-4714;    

Erin McHenry-Sorber, associate professor, education, College of Applied Human Sciences. West Virginia educator shortage, educational policy, rural schools and communities, and research on rural schools and equity. 304-293-2090;  

George Zimmerman, assistant vice president of enrollment management, University Relations and Enrollment Management. Post-secondary education landscape, college enrollment and student recruitment. 304-293-1087;   


Jonathon Beckmeyer, assistant professor, College of Applied Human Sciences. Family systems and dynamics, policies affecting youth and families. 304-293-3049;   

Valarie Blake, professor, College of Law. Health care law, health care disparities, health care fraud and abuse, medical ethics and health insurance. 304-293-8639; 

Dr. Judith Feinberg, professor, infectious diseases, School of Medicine. Substance misuse, harm reduction and opioid overdoses. Cassie Thomas is the contact for Dr. Feinberg. 304-293-3412;  


Mark Koepke, professor, physics, Eberly College of Arts and Sciences. Clean energy and plasma-aided manufacturing. 304-293-4912;   

Shikha Sharma, professor, geology, Eberly College of Arts and Sciences. Energy, environment and shale gas. 

Sam Taylor, assistant director, WVU Energy Institute. Energy development, energy geosciences including geothermal, hydrogen storage and carbon dioxide storage, transportation energy utilization, renewable and nonrenewable energy research, clean energy and advanced energy technologies. 304-293-6032; 

Paul Ziemkiewicz, director, West Virginia Water Research Institute. Mine drainage, water quality, watershed management, biofuels, rare earth elements and industrial site restoration. 304-293-6958;


Joseph Jones, visiting assistant professor, media ethics and law, Reed College of Media. Media ethics. 

West Virginia University experts can provide commentary, insights and opinions on various news topics. Search for an expert by name, title, area of expertise, or college/school/department in the Experts Database at WVUToday
The 2023 Regular Legislative Session runs from Wednesday (Jan. 11) through March 11.

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