Published on April 25, 2023 by Morgan Black
In August 2022, senior Bill Mouchette became the third consecutive Samford University student to be selected for the American Enterprise Institute’s (AEI) Young Scholar Awards Program. Mouchette, a senior economics and finance double major from Gallatin, Tennessee, was chosen as one of six undergraduate students in the country to participate in this prestigious program. In April, after months of work, Mouchette defended his research in front of a panel of AEI scholars and fellows at the organization’s headquarters in Washington, D.C.
The program, administered by AEI’s Initiative on Faith & Public Life, fosters high-quality academic research and writing by awarding scholarships based on the student’s demonstration of promise in their field of research.
Under the guidance of a faculty adviser at their school, and with the support of AEI scholars and staff, selected students conduct year-long academic research projects on a topic of public policy, economics, law or political philosophy.
In his research, Mouchette analyzed the effects of career and technical education (CTE) on factors affecting male high school graduates and their communities. He measured factors such as the male labor force participation rate, male health outcomes, gross domestic product (GDP), and volunteer activity to hopefully identify whether CTE education can help reinvigorate young men from falling out of the labor force or into deaths of despair. The analysis between CTE education and volunteer activity helped identify whether increased CTE education can help rebuild inner cities and small towns alike.
He said, “Throughout my research, I studied a topic deeply affecting our nation, gained insight into the humility that research provides, and worked closely with Samford faculty and national scholars whom I admire. After finishing my research, I had the opportunity to defend my work in front of the nation's greatest economists studying education such as Bryan Caplan and Nat Malkus at AEI in Washington, D.C. I will forever be thankful to AEI for providing me this opportunity and to Samford for inspiring me to strive ever to bring glory to God in all things.”
In 2020-21, Hannah Florence completed her research on the declining levels of social capital among Baby Boomers. In 2021-22, Sydney Rennich completed research examining the relationship between social capital, institutions and geographic mobility in the United States to determine the forces preventing geographic mobility between socioeconomic groups.
Professor of Economics Art Carden served as Mouchette’s research adviser. He said, “For the third year in a row, a Samford student has represented us well before a distinguished panel of researchers. Bill has put in a lot of hard work on something that started as an intermediate macroeconomics paper, and it’s delightful to see his hard work pay off.”
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. The Wall Street Journal ranks Samford 1st nationally for student engagement and U.S. News & World Report ranks Samford 66th in the nation for best undergraduate teaching and 104th nationally for best value. Samford enrolls 5,683 students from 47 states and 19 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.