Published on October 29, 2021 by Morgan Black  
AEI fall 2021

This fall, Samford University economics students engaged in several events, on and off campus, that provided them opportunities to learn from and network with leading industry professionals.

The American Enterprise Institute’s (AEI) Faith & Public Life Initiative hosted its Fall Summit in Washington, D.C., October 1. Samford students Anna Claire Noblitt, Sydney Rennich, Jensen Sutton, Anna Vance, and Anna Wood joined others from Christian colleges and universities across the country to hear lectures by AEI Senior Fellow Yuval Levin, Christianity Today Journalist Russell Moore, and Benjamin Storey, the Jane Gage Hipp professor of politics and international affairs at Furman University. They also participated in panel discussions such as those titled “Strengthening the Institution of the Family” and “How the Pandemic Transformed Work, Community and Place.”

In addition to attending the Fall Summit, Noblitt had the opportunity to intern for AEI this summer and Rennich is participating in the institute’s Young Scholars Program, making her the second Samford student to be selected to such a prestigious opportunity.

Professor of Economics Art Carden said, “Through internships, conferences, and their sponsorship of the campus group, AEI has provided students with valuable opportunities to grow in their faith while they grow in their understanding of the principles of a free and prosperous society. To their credit, our students have been up to the challenge.”

students on trip

On October 28, the same group, in partnership with Samford’s Finance and Economics Women (FEW) student organization, hosted Rania Al-Bawwab, an economics doctoral candidate from Middle Tennessee State University. During her visit to Samford’s campus, Al-Bawwab discussed her paper “Zakat: A Case Study of Constraining Free Riding in Charity,” which explained how the third pillar of Islam (zakat) creates mechanisms that make it harder for people to “free ride” on others’ generosity. Al-Bawwab was able to dive deeper into her story with the students during a casual networking dinner.

“Rania’s story and insight was a gift to those of us who were able to meet her at Samford,” Noblitt said. “We learned about the vast differences in conventional and Islamic finance and were inspired to hear her perspective as a native of Jordan. I think I can speak for the group when I say this was a topic, we would not have learned about without the opportunity to have respectful intercultural and inter-religious conversation.”

Opportunities such as these affirm the university’s top ranking for student engagement by the Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.