Student Papers/Scholarships

The generosity of Mr. Fowler has made possible an annual research paper competition to recognize outstanding student papers dealing with recent U.S public policy.

"Public policy" is defined as a plan or course of action designed to influence the content, quality or extent of governmental activities-or private sector activities, profit or nonprofit-of significant public interest. The policy may be local, state, U.S. national or international in its impact. It may deal with the history of such a policy, the administration of the policy, or itself be a policy proposal.

Paper Specifications

The deadline to submit a proposal for a paper is April 1 each year. This proposal should be an abstract (250 words maximum) and an outline (2 pages maximum). Proposal should be submitted electronically to Dr. Andreea Mihalache-O'Keef (

Two clean, unbound typed copies (one without your name) plus an electronic copy of the finished paper must be completed and delivered by Spring Reading Day, preceding final exams for the semester. Papers should be 5,000-15,000 words in length and follow a recognized documentation format. Papers should be submitted to Dr. David Taylor 115 Administration Building.


The following prizes may be awarded:

  • "Excellent Papers" will be awarded $2,000, or a $4,000 graduate scholarship.
  • "Distinguished Papers" will be awarded $1,500, or a $3,000 graduate scholarship.
  • "Superior Papers" will be awarded $1,000, or a $2,000 graduate scholarship.

Winners may wait three years to use their prizes. Papers are evaluated by a multidisciplinary panel whose members have no previous involvement with the papers submitted for judging. The panel's judgment on awards is final.

Award Winning Papers

Award-winning papers are available in the Fowler Archives Room of the Fintel Library. Recent winning titles include:

  • 2018, Kasey Reese, Dietary Supplement and Health Education Act 1994: This is No Fairy Story and No Joke
  • 2018, Kasey Reese, Determining Local Policy Success: Examining the Role of Political Experience
  • 2018, Emily Searles, The Tens of Thousands of Years Policy
  • 2017, Daniel Osborne, '17 I Alone Can Fix It: Trump, Mussolini, and the Crisis of Authority: The Zealous Effect of News Media Bias on the 2016 Election through Immigration and Economic Inequality
  • 2017, Brieanah Gouveia, '17 Paradise Lost: the Controversy behind US Federal Recognition of Native Hawaiians
  • 2017, Wesley Knowles, '17 Shadows from the Past: On the Institutional History, Constraints, and Failures of the National Parks System in Sub-Saharan Africa
  • 2017, Bridget Rose, '17 After A Modest Proposal: Why the United States Has Been Unable to Enact Further Maternity Leave Benefits Post Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993
  • 2016, Daniel Osborne, '17 Good Satisfied Help: Memory, Paternalism, and a North Carolina Textile Company Town
  • 2016 Zahava Urecki, '16 Satirical News Programs are No Joke:How Satirical News Programs Impact the American Public Policy Process through Agenda Setting
  • 2016, Conner Sprinkle, '16 An Exploration of a Law Enforcement Program for Young Adults with Disabilities: Views from Parents and Job Coaches and the Role of Stigma
  • 2015, Alexander Berryman, Living "Car-less" or Close to It: Rural Transportation, Economic Volatility, and the Need for Relevant Social Policy

  • 2015, Lydia Delamatta, Discrimination Stops Here: How Education Affects Gender Political Equality Across Democratic Nations

  • 2015, Theodore Ellis, Consumer Characteristics in the Market for Organic Food

  • 2015, Hayley Field, Exploring Adjustment among Refugees in the Roanoke Valley: A Critical Perspective on Durkheim's Concept of Anomie

  • 2014, Timothy Cywinski, How Does Foreign Direct Investment into Resource Extracting Industries Affect the Environmental Welfare of the Developing World?

  • 2014,  Alexandra DeLaricheliere, Childhood Obesity Intervention in Public Schools: Comparing the Influence of Nutrition Education Programs and Policies on Academic Performance and Nutritional Behavior Change in Southwest Virginia and the Republic of Palau

  • Nitra Eastby, Avoiding "Eternal Dishonor": The US Motivations behind Voluntary Repatriation in the Korean Armistice, 1950-1953

  • 2014, Katherine Frisch, An Analysis of the Rally 'round the Flag Effect: International Conflicts, Presidential Approval Ratings, and Multilateralism

  • 2014, Samantha Garst, Risky Business: a panel study on the effect of government policies on FDI in post-conflict countries

  • 2013, Margaret Anderson, The Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program: An Analysis of Policy Successes and Failures

  • 2013, Alea Bier, Does the Drinking Age of 21 Really Benefit Society? Evaluating the Effectiveness of the Uniform Drinking Age Act

  • 2013, Katherine Holland, Creating Equality through the Subsidization of Higher Education

  • 2013, Olivia League, There Will Be Blood: HIVictory in the Intravenous Drug User Community through Clean Needle and Syringe Exchange Programs

  • 2012, Travis Andrews, Renewable Portfolio Standards: Good Goals, Bad Economic Policies?

  • 2012, Cristian Chis, Capitalism on the Rise: Effects of Politics and Policy on U.S. Foreign Direct Investment in Central and Eastern Europe

  • 2012, Cristian Chis, A 'Special' Alliance: The Evolution of European Foreign Policy and its Impact on the Transatlantic Alliance (1945-2005)

  • 2012, Meghan Brinkley, Photo Identification Laws: A Failed Attempt to Address the Myth of Voter Fraud While Stripping Citizens of the Right to Vote

  • 2011, Anne Whitesell, Online Mobilization and Maintenance: A Study of Women's Interest Groups

  • 2011, Anne Whitesell, The Influence of Interest Groups on Federal Education Policy

  • 2010, Emily Huston, The Election Law Glass Floor?

  • 2010, Laura Jennings, Feminist Theory and Maternity Leave

  • 2010, Sarah Nuernberger, The Acronym Invasion: Development Work in Northern Uganda

  • 2010, Sarah Seufer, An Analysis of Female Political Candidates

  • 2009, Emily HustonThe Help America Vote Act of 2002: Well Intentioned Reforms, or Misguided Mandates?

  • 2009, Samantha SterbaAre Stimulus Checks an Effective Fiscal Policy Tool?

  • 2008, Laura Hamilton, Flexibility versus Flexicurity: A Comparative Study of the American and Danish Welfare States in the International Economy

  • 2007, Aaron Cook, Affirmative Action in Higher Education

  • 2006, Laura Riddlebarger, Dynamics of Influence: Who Sets U.S-Cuba Policy?

  • 2006, Tomasz Jemczura, The Essence and Reality of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act

  • 2006, Ashlyn Myers,Social Factors Contributing to the Growth of Alternative Medicine in the United States

  • 2005, Jenna Zamesnik, Detroit's Italians and the Public School Amendments of 1920 and 1924

  • 2005, Andrea Blackwelder, Managing Diversity: The Business Imperative

  • 2005, Justin Watkins, State and Local Development Incentives: To the Winner Goes the Spoils?

  • 2004, MacKenzie BubCanada: The Prescription for Lower Drug Prices

  • 2004, Jennifer Erickson, An Examination of Judicial Activism and Restraint on the Rehnquist Court

  • 2004, Jennifer Erickson, Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996

  • 2003, John Michael HullGuarding Against Uncertainty: Energy Research and Development Policy in the U.S.

  • 2003, Daniel Presgrave, The Economic Impact of Virginia's Explore Park

  • 2002, Christine LambrosThe Juvenile Drug Court Program in the United States

  • 2002, Amber Teitt, Political Trust and Promise Keeping in the United States 1977-2000

  • 2002, Amber Teitt, Public Policy in the United States: Chemical and Biological Warfare

  • 1998, Susan L. Wallace, Toward Construction of a Theoretical Model: Explicating the Disproportionate Identification of African American Students in Special Education

  • 1998, Joshua Nathaniel, The Thin Ice on Which We Walk: The Relationship Between the Human Population, Killer Microbes and Public Policy

For information about this program, please contact:
Dr. Andreea Mihalache-O'Keef, Department of Public Affairs
(540) 375-5297
West Hall 202