DURANT, Okla. (KTEN) — When Texoma students get the chance to meet elected officials this summer through the Fears Fellowship program run by the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, they won't have to travel far thanks to work led by Southeastern Oklahoma State University political science professor Conner Alford.

"Two years to get the program down to Durant," he said. "Ryker Baughman and my other students have been very very active."

After attending the fellowship in a previous year, Baughman — an SOSU junior and student body president-elect — returned to SOSU's campus set on bringing it closer to home

"I think that it's a fantastic thing that the college Republicans are bringing this opportunity here to them," he said. "I think it's going to give those people in the Capitol a better understanding of what we're truly feeling at Southeastern Oklahoma."

For more than 200 students like Baughman who have completed this program, it lets them learn about politics outside the classroom.

"It really opened my eyes to not only just conservative ideals, but also the libertarian ideology, and made me more aware of the things that maybe I overlooked or maybe I didn't completely understand," Baughman said.

State Rep. Tammy Townley, Sen. James Lankford and Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt have all made appearances at Fellowship events.

"Basically equips them to answer the question: 'Why am I a conservative?' 'What do I believe?' 'What does that mean?' and, 'How can I support those beliefs?'" Alford said.

The conference runs through July; the application deadline is June 12.