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Announcing: 2020-2021 Young Scholar Award Recipients

AEI’s Initiative on Faith & Public Life is pleased to announce the recipients of its 2020–2021 Young Scholar Awards. This year we received impressive applicants from schools across the country on topics ranging from public policy, economics, law, and political theory. We selected six undergraduates who will pursue rigorous, original research over the course of the 2020–2021 academic year under the guidance of a faculty advisor and experts at AEI. The students will receive a $5,000 scholarship toward tuition, defend their research in front of a panel of experts at AEI’s headquarters in Washington, DC, and attend AEI’s 2021 Annual Dinner. Their completed projects will be published as a hard copy compilation, as well as on the Initiative’s website. Congratulations to this year’s Young Scholars, and thank you to all who submitted research proposals.

2020–2021 Young Scholar Award Recipients

Max Bodach is a senior at Ave Maria University pursuing a double major in political economy & government and history. Mr. Bodach will conduct extensive archival research into the history of and ideas espoused within L. Brent Bozell, Jr.’s short-lived Triumph magazine. Specifically, he plans to code the ten year run of the magazine by topics, authors, and other relevant descriptors to engage in content and social network analysis. Mr. Bodach hopes that the study of Bozell’s radical Catholic reaction to the turbulent social, political, and religious change of the 1960s will help religious observers of all political persuasions conceptualize and contest the arguments presented by prominent Catholic postliberal intellectuals like Patrick Deneen and Adrian Vermeule.

Faith Brown is a senior at Hope College, majoring in political science and philosophy with a minor in religion. Ms. Brown will analyze educational due process hearings from the District of Columbia to assess how the 2017 Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District decision has affected special education policy in the nation’s most litigious school district. Prior to the Court’s decision, the legal obligations of schools educating students with disabilities were largely left to the interpretation of local districts. Ms. Brown hopes that tracking Endrew’s impact will illuminate some of the most contested issues in K-12 special education, and provide an updated assessment of D.C.’s special education landscape.

Hannah Florence is a senior at Samford University, majoring in political science and economics with a minor in data analytics. Ms. Florence will research to what extent declining levels of social capital among Baby Boomers will exacerbate the challenges of a growing elderly population. This study will analyze how decreasing levels of social capital impact the ratio of informal and formal care among Americans over 65, as well as evaluate the differentiated healthcare costs of individuals with higher vs. lower social capital. This research seeks to clarify how current retirees will impact the healthcare system and expenditures to Medicare and Medicaid in the decades to come. To conclude, Ms. Florence will present several recommendations for how public policy could potentially address these issues.

Adelaide E. Nyanyo is a Senior at Calvin University studying economics with a minor in business. Using Elinor Ostrom’s framework, Ms. Nyanyo seeks to investigate whether indigenous knowledge and practices can be incorporated into natural resource conservation in Ghana. Through a series of interviews of local Ghanaian leaders and qualitative studies of Native American settlements, Ms. Nyanyo hopes her study will inform how indigenous management practices can be incorporated to inform public policy on natural resource management in Ghana. In addition, she seeks to find if the focus on indigenous management practices for natural resources will provide a good balance between sustainable levels of natural resource management and development.

Emma Posey is a senior at Lee University, majoring in political science and biblical and theological studies. Ms. Posey will provide a qualitative, in-depth analysis of child support policy in the United States. She will utilize the theory of behavioral economics by conducting an ethnographic study of non-custodial fathers in tandem with scholarly research and state-level child support policy reforms. Current child support policy fails to take into account the interrelated economic, social, and cultural factors which contribute to unpaid familial assistance. By diversifying the dialogue and considering the multifaceted reasons for unpaid child support, policymakers and caseworkers alike will be better equipped to effectively serve this population. Ms. Posey intends to present nuanced research which will offer corrective policy proposals that apply the crucial insight derived from understanding the what and why of non-custodial fathers’ actions, beliefs, and mindsets concerning child support enforcement requirements.

Collin Slowey is a senior at Baylor University, where he studies political science, great texts, and film. In his research, Mr. Slowey will address the ethical repercussions of treating domestic politics like war and attempt to formulate a philosophical framework by which to morally evaluate political words and deeds. His work will be mostly qualitative, reasoning analogically from the just war tradition to create something like a just war theory for domestic politics. Mr. Slowey hopes this paper will spur Americans to take the moral dangers of metaphorical war-making seriously and produce some standards to help them navigate those dangers.