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K-State Today

May 15, 2017



K-State evaluation professional, doctorate student to take part in Mercatus Center Frédéric Bastiat Fellowship program

By Division of Communications and Marketing

Katie Allen in Washington, D.C.

A Kansas State University graduate student has been accepted into the prestigious Mercatus Center Frédéric Bastiat Fellowship program at George Mason University. This one-year selective, competitive program is for graduate students from any university and in any discipline who are interested in public policy.

Katie Allen, project development specialist with K-State's Office of Educational Innovation and Evaluation who is seeking a doctorate in educational leadership, will receive a total award of up to $5,000 that includes a stipend and travel and lodging to attend colloquia hosted by the Mercatus Center. Bastiat Fellows are eligible to apply for conference and research support. They can also reapply to the fellowship each year of their studies.

The fellowship's aim is to introduce students to the Austrian, Virginia and Bloomington schools of political economy as academic foundations for pursuing contemporary policy analysis. Fellows will explore how this framework is utilized to analyze policy implications of a variety of topics — such as the markets and society, innovation, crises, fiscal issues, and regulation — during a series of colloquia where they will interact with Mercatus scholars that work on the cutting edge of policy analysis.

The program consists of assigned readings focused on political economy followed by four full-day colloquium spread across the academic year to discuss and engage with Mercatus Center scholars and other fellows. Fellows in the program come from many disciplines including economics, law, political science and finance.

"I am interested in education policy, particularly the actors and motivations that influence the policy process and decision-making," Allen said. "This fellowship will provide me with an opportunity to learn more about the intersection of society, markets and the state that undergirds education reforms such as school choice, privatization of education services, consolidation and merit pay for teachers."

Because the Mercatus Center is a leading academic think tank, Allen said the experience also will provide a firsthand look at how special interest groups are successful in advocating for their policy positions.

"During the program, I will have the opportunity to engage with a group of scholars who have very different viewpoints and knowledge, which, I believe, will broaden my view of the role of government in education and society," Allen said.

As an evaluation professional, Allen said she is interested in learning new theories and methods of inquiry that can be applied to real-world situations.

"As a doctoral student, I am interested specifically in education policy at the state level in Kansas and am currently looking at current reform efforts that tend to be promoted by free-market, small government special interests while opposed by education leaders and average citizens. The fellowship program's focus on real-world problems is extremely attractive to me, as I view policy analysis as a purposeful task that can be utilized to better inform policy advocates in improving public education."