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Announcing: 2018-2019 Values & Capitalism Young Scholars

AEI’s Values & Capitalism initiative is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2018–2019 V&C Young Scholar Awards. We received many impressive research proposals this year from talented students across the country, and from this pool, selected six undergraduates who will pursue rigorous, original research on an issue of public policy, economics, law, or political theory with the oversight of a faculty advisor over the course of the 2018–2019 academic year. As a recipient of the award, each student will receive a $5,000 scholarship toward tuition, and in April 2019, they will defend their research in front of a panel of experts at AEI’s headquarters in Washington, DC. Upon its completion, their work will also be published on the Values & Capitalism website. Congratulations to this year’s V&C Young Scholars, and thank you to all who submitted research proposals.

2018–2019 V&C Young Scholar Award Recipients

Jonathan Deemer is a senior at Union College, majoring in international relations and business administration. Mr. Deemer will examine whether, and how, Sunni Arab states can construct collective security arrangements amid growing Iranian power and potential American disengagement from the region. He will examine the military capacities of these Arab states, possible organizational arrangements for a security alliance, and the lessons existing alliances like NATO might hold for a Middle Eastern collective security system. Mr. Deemer hopes his research will clarify whether the United States’ Middle Eastern allies can take a larger role in securing the region’s stability, without undermining key American interests.

Mary Katherine Lederer is a junior at the University of Notre Dame, majoring in economics and political science. Ms. Lederer will examine the prospects for economic reform in Africa through an in-depth examination of three regional arrangements: Economic Community of West African States, the East African Community, and the Southern African Development Community. She will study if and how these arrangements promote economic growth, institutional reform, and industry diversification among their bloc members. Ms. Lederer hopes her research will clarify the effectiveness of African regional trade agreements, and how Chinese economic intervention could affect these institutions.  

Maya Maley is a senior at Azusa Pacific University, majoring in political science and humanities with honors. Ms. Maley will conduct a study on perceptions of free enterprise, capitalism, and economics in Native American communities. As part of her research, she will conduct interviews with Native American leaders in three federally-recognized reservations in Southern California, and analyze discourse about economics and wealth in Native American media. Ms. Maley hopes her research will help advocates for free enterprise and limited government better communicate their policy goals to Native American communities.

Nicholas Marr is a junior at the University of Notre Dame, majoring in political science and history. As debates over protecting both LGBT rights and religious freedom become increasingly acrimonious and nearly irresolvable absent judicial intervention, Mr. Marr will examine potential avenues for common ground in the aftermath of the Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission decision. In particular, his research will focus on recent legislation in Utah and a proposal from the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities as possible starting points in making these arguments less polarizing and zero-sum. Mr. Marr hopes his research will encourage more balanced thinking about the rights and dignity of both LGBT persons and people of faith.

Emilio Rodriguez is a junior at Trinity Western University, majoring in international relations. Mr. Rodriguez’s project will examine if current refugee and asylum systems in Mexico and the United States sufficiently identify and protect Central American migrants fleeing violence. Drawing on data from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and exploring developments in refugee law, Rodriguez hopes his research can identify pathways to reform North American refugee status determination regimes in light of state breakdown and violence in Central America.

Grant Seiter is a junior at Baylor University, majoring in economics and finance. Mr. Seiter plans to study the extent to which earnings improve for clergy as a result of additional years of education. By comparing this rate of return for schooling among clergy to that of their peers in other professions, his research aims to improve understanding of the incentives, allocation, and remuneration of clergy. Furthermore, Mr. Seiter intends to connect trends in clergy education and compensation to the rise of megachurches and the further concentration of religious communities.

More information about the Values & Capitalism Young Scholar Program can be found here. Applications for the 2019–2020 program will open in Winter 2019.