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Announcing: 2022 Summer Associates Program Cohort

We are pleased to announce the cohort of students who will be participating in the Initiative on Faith & Public Life’s 2022 Summer Associates Program. During the upcoming summer, these ten undergraduates will intern in DC, participate in a week-long Summer Honors Program course, live in holistic Christian community with fellow participants, receive mentorship from mid-career professionals, and discuss bi-weekly readings related to Christian work, calling, and engagement in the public square. You can read more about each of these exemplary students below:


Mr. Spencer Burress is a junior political science major in the honors program at Baylor University. He has had the privilege of being on the Dean’s Honor List at Baylor University every semester, being a member of the Alpha Lambda Delta Honor Society, and serving as the Service Chairman of his fraternity, Phi Kappa Chi. A committed follower of Christ, Mr. Burress helps to lead a connection group through Highland Baptist Church. He currently works as an Experience and Admissions Representative for Baylor University, and he has served as a camp counselor and unit coordinator at Kanakuk Kamps for the last two summers. Mr. Burress is from San Clemente, California, though he stays true to his Texas roots.

Ms. Ashley Cheeseboro is a 2022 graduate of Calvin University, receiving a BA in political science and economics. During her time at Calvin, Ashley served as a Resident Assistant, Campus Involvement and Leadership Intern, Center for Intercultural Student Development Ambassador, and on the Political Dialogue and Action Club leadership team. She is passionate about serving her community and seeks to do so through involvement at her church and local soup kitchen. Fueled by a desire to empower those at the periphery of society, Ashley hopes to pursue a career in public policy/administration.

Mr. Giovanni Del Piero was born in Sacramento, California, and is a current sophomore at the University of Dallas. He has attended numerous conferences held by various political organization, including Young Americans for Freedom, The Institute of Religion and Democracy, and has participated in the Academy of the Heritage Foundation. He is pursuing a major in politics and a double concentration in ethics and theology. He writes for the UD Newspaper and the “Crusader Standard” journal, and is planning on being an officer of UD’s Thomistic Institute. He also works for the President’s Office at the University of Dallas. He has had articles published in publications such as OnePeterFive and Public Discourse.

Mr. Samuel Dutschmann is a rising senior at Baylor University from McGregor, TX studying classics, political science, and theology. His primary academic focus is public theology through the lens of the Church Fathers, the late Byzantine era, and Russian emigres during the 20th century. Additionally, Mr. Dutschmann takes interest in moral theology, natural law, and agriculture. In the past, he has worked as a research assistant to Dr. David Corey studying socialist political philosophy and as an intern with The Dallas Morning News’s editorial board. Mr. Dutschmann is also a member of the choir at St. Andrew Orthodox Church and the editor-in-chief for Baylor’s Collegiate Network paper, The Standard. 

Mr. Thomas Gilmore is a current junior from Westchester, New York, studying at Ave Maria University and pursuing a double major in politics and economics. Aside from serving on the AEI Executive Council as chair, Thomas is a Teaching Assistant for the American Civilization course, a position that allows him to share his affinity for Tocqueville with students. Thomas also interns with the James Madison Institute where he is responsible for organizing campus events.


Ms. Alyssa Leston is a 2022 graduate from Gordon College, earning a BA in both theatre arts and English language and literature with a concentration in creative writing. At Gordon College, Alyssa is a member of the Global Honors Program, works as a dispatcher for Gordon Police, and runs a late-night comedy club as executive producer. Passionate about the power of language and the arts to evoke change in the world, she is a member of the nationwide Sigma Tau Delta English Honor Society, works as a donor correspondent for her college, and is a freelance ghostwriter for various companies online. Alyssa is from Harlingen, Texas, where she graduated from the Teen Academy Program with the FBI and spends her summers performing at the local community theatre.


Ms. Alexandra Oliver is a sophomore honors student at Anderson University majoring in political science and history, with a minor in Public Policy. She is originally from Cypress, Texas, but enjoys living in South Carolina during the academic year. At Anderson University, Ms. Oliver has taken on many leadership roles, including working as a College Ambassador for the College of Arts and Sciences and coordinating community outreach for RUF, a campus ministry. Ms. Oliver has experience in policy research, with a strong interest in criminal justice issues. Due to these interests, Ms. Oliver has worked as a policy debate coach for high school students, teaching them specifically about the American criminal justice system. She has also written a research paper on the relationship between prison education and property crime, which she presented at the 2022 Carolinas Conference at Winthrop University. Ms. Oliver is excited for further opportunities to pursue policy change.


Ms. Thidarat Phoosit grew up in Vancouver, Canada and is a recent graduate of Trinity Western University. She majored in social sciences and human services with a minor in international development. During her undergrad, Ms. Phoosit worked at her university’s Wellness Centre. She also interned at Fraser Valley Aboriginal Child and Family Services and Food For The Hungry Canada, where she learned the importance of taking the individual and their social system into account for holistic and sustainable development to occur.


Born in Arizona, Ms. Danielle Popson traded cactus covered mountains for the green tree lines of Tennessee to attend Union University. She is a junior economics major with a unique minor that contains classes in political science, communication, and graphic design. In addition to holding leadership positions in Student Government, Enactus, and AMA, she competes on the university debate team and enjoys how it provides an opportunity to explore important cultural conversations while offering a challenge for creative critical thinking. Ms. Popson has also competed to receive awards like the Mia Guion Award for Excellence as a Washington Media Scholar. Outside of academics, Ms. Popson enjoys opportunities to use economics to help individuals in practical ways. Her time is filled working for local entrepreneurs and she is also a licensed real estate agent in her home state.


Mr. Cooper Shull is from Ringgold, GA and is a junior finance and economics major at Samford University in Birmingham, AL. Currently he serves as a member of the AEI Executive Council at Samford and served as a blog contributor for AEI’s Faith and Public Life during the fall 2021 semester. He is an active member of the Samford community and serves in numerous leadership positions including an officer for the Ambassador Program. He spent three months studying abroad in London where he took courses, interned at a consultant firm, and visited 8 countries. You will find him spending his free time with friends, going for runs, or watching baseball.