Master's Students Shine at National Conference in D.C.
By Bob Dickson
A pair of Master's College students were honored at the American Enterprise Institute's Purpose and Prosperity Conference last month in Washington, D.C.
Andrew Collins, a junior communications major, and James Grunwald, a freshman political science major, earned first place and honorable mention honors, respectively, in AEI's Common Sense Concept blog writing contest.
Ten TMC students and about 60 students overall attended the conference, which ran from June 9-11. TMC professors Dr. John Stead (history and political science) and Dr. Alex Granados (intercultural studies and international business) traveled with the group. Jack Cox, TMC Vice-President for Public Affairs, spearheaded the college's involvement in the event and joined the team in D.C.
The conference was motivated by what AEI leaders called "a mission to engage with students in exploring the moral nature of the free enterprise system," and featured some of the nation's top economic and political thinkers such as AEI president Arthur C. Brooks, former principal deputy commissioner of the Social Security Administration Andrew G. Biggs and Alex Brill, former chief economist and senior adviser to the chairmen of the House Ways and Means Committee.
Throughout the conference, students attended sessions that challenged their thinking on timely issues such as faith and public policy, the environmental agenda, faith and law, energy policy and the morality of democratic capitalism.
"This conference resonated with me because it dealt with the compelling issues of my generation," Grunwald wrote in his blog. "…Back in my California, conservative views are understandably unpopular. But now that I understand how much these issues matter and how they can be defended, I'm inspired to become more active in politics."
Collins wrote that, "Each session set up a clear framework through which to view matters of public policy and faith. Arthur Brooks redefined the way I look at the debate over capitalism … Every speaker, in fact, clearly sketched out the present political situation in their respective fields."
Stead, who has taught at Master's since 1970, sees the conference as an excellent way to supplement the TMC experience.
"It gives students a broader intellectual challenge," he said. "Students can be exposed to alternative policy options that don't make it into the regular press. Most importantly, they are able to see how the information they're getting squares with the Bible. They gain a greater ability in economics and in the political arena, where they can bring Christianity to bear."
Stead said one of the highlights of the experience was the group's invitation to visit the offices of Congressman Buck McKeon (25th District of Calif.), Chairmen of the House Armed Services Committee. There, TMC students met for about an hour with McKeon's Chief of Staff, Robert Cochran.
"The students got to meet and interact with people who are experts in their field," Stead said. "It was a great way for them to see the things they learn in the classroom put into action."
Wrote Collins: "For an aspiring journalist like myself, this is huge, because now I know better how to categorize and study all these areas of public policy. I've learned what it means when Republicans talk about reforming Social Security, or when Democrats talk about renewable energy.
"Better yet, I have taken a few more steps toward the one thing that hopefully all of us are looking for: the good old truth. Truth with clarity, fairness, and faith."