Fowler Student Research Competition


Starting in 2022, the generosity of Mr. Fowler makes possible an exciting new opportunity to showcase and reward excellent student research on U.S. public policy.

The new Fowler Student Scholar Competition allows students of any major to pursue policy research in an immersive, eight-week summer research experience on campus.

While completing their summer project, Fowler Scholars benefit from faculty mentorship, a $3,000 stipend, a summer course credit, and free campus housing.


To reflect the breadth of Mr. Fowler’s public service and engagement in public policy, the Fowler student research competitions have defined "Public policy" 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.

The list of award-winning papers at the bottom of this page showcases the diversity of potential topics.


Roanoke College students from any major who have an interest in researching any aspect of public policy should apply. Past participants came from a wide range of disciplines, such as History, Environmental Studies, Business Administration, and Literary Studies, along with Economics, Political Science, Criminal Justice, or International Relations.

Students may apply to both Summer Scholars and Fowler Scholar in the same year. However, a student cannot hold both awards simultaneously. The Summer Scholars and Fowler Scholar applications are judged separately, by different panels of judges.


Submit cover sheets, project proposals, and faculty mentor endorsement forms by March 15, via e-mail, to Dr. Andreea Mihalache-O’Keef (



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

Between 1985 and 2018, the competition received student paper submissions from a wide range of disciplines (e.g., history, international relations, economics, political science, environmental studies, literary studies, and modern languages) and was awarded generous prizes in the form of graduate fellowships.

Recent winning papers:

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

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