AEI’s Initiative on Faith & Public Life is pleased to announce the recipients of its 2021–2022 Young Scholar Awards. This year we received impressive applicants from schools across the country on topics ranging from public policy and economics to law and political theory. We selected four undergraduates who will pursue rigorous, original research during the 2021–2022 academic year under the guidance of a faculty advisor and experts at AEI. The students will each 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 2022 Annual Dinner. Their completed projects will be compiled and published both in hard-copy and on the Initiative’s website. Congratulations to this year’s Young Scholars, and thank you to all who submitted research proposals.
Isaac Bock is a junior at Patrick Henry College majoring in government, with a focus on American politics and policy. Mr. Bock will evaluate how the Supreme Court’s “entry fiction” jurisprudence functionally alters due process protections for arriving immigrants in comparison to their admitted counterparts. For the last century, courts have used the “entry fiction” to view immigrants who arrive at the border and are held physically within the United States as legally outside the country for the purposes of Constitutional protection. Mr. Bock will trace this doctrine from its origin to its modern application to determine whether there is a need for a change in Supreme Court jurisprudence or a reform in U.S. immigration law.
Alexander Cline is a junior at Hillsdale College double-majoring in economics and mathematics. Mr. Cline will explore the intersection of political economy and computational complexity theory, investigating the applications of the P versus NP problem in resource-allocation schema. This research will focus on delineating the kind of optimization issues economic agents face and use mathematical techniques to analyze their algorithmic complexity. More specifically, Mr. Cline intends to examine the extent to which NP-complete knapsack problems are scalable. In doing so, he hopes to shed light on the decision-making efficacy of people, firms, markets, and central planning from a computational perspective.
Catherine Corbin is a senior at Gordon College pursuing majors in political science, history, and Biblical studies, with a minor in classical studies. Ms. Corbin seeks to grasp both the origins and the consequences of conspiratorial belief in American politics, positing that a conspiratorial posture is deeply seated within the American identity. She will utilize early-American pulpit jeremiads and various populist reform efforts as vantage points from which to study American political and religious zeal. With echoes of Norman Cohn’s scholarship on flourishing millenarian fantasies amongst the rootless poor in medieval Europe, Ms. Corbin’s study will primarily consider the influence of Christian dispensationalism in concert with the inherent paranoia of democratic liberalism. To contextualize such phenomena as QAnon in today’s public square, her qualitative and theoretical analysis will explore the historical precedent for apocalyptic rhetoric and political monism.
Sydney Rennich is a senior economics and data analytics major at Samford University. Ms. Rennich will examine the relationship between social capital, institutions, and geographic mobility in the United States to determine the forces preventing geographic mobility between socioeconomic groups. Because geographic community is one of the most important influencers of socioeconomic mobility, understanding migratory stagnation is vital for social mobility and economic well-being. Using regression analysis, she will analyze the effect of positive social networks, encouraged by high social capital levels, on an individual’s willingness to move to neighborhoods with better opportunities, and evaluate the role of institutions in facilitating migration.