The sun beamed down on the JW Marriott Cancun Resort and Spa in Cancun, Mexico, as students from all across the globe gathered together for the Undergraduate Research Competition, hosted by The Association of Private Enterprise Education (APEE). Among them was PBA’s very own Gabriel Parke, a 2023 graduate who majored in Business Management and Entrepreneurship. Parke received third place in his research presentation titled, “The U.S. Congress: Trading Just Inside the Line.”
A native Floridian, Parke knew he wanted to attend a university near the water. He visited numerous colleges in high school, but as soon as he stepped foot on PBA’s campus, his search was over. “It was like a light bulb went off, and I just knew this was the place,” said Parke. “I had been praying about it, and I knew this is where God wanted me to be. God has really blessed me during my time at PBA, and this award is included in that. I am so grateful for this opportunity with the Rinker School of Business.”
APEE is an association of teachers and scholars from colleges and universities, public policy institutes, and industry with a common interest in studying and supporting the system of private enterprise. The Undergraduate Research Competition encouraged research on the association’s general themes of political economy, private enterprise education, and free markets, although research on any topic was certainly welcomed. APEE helps foster a deep appreciation for private enterprise and its role in society, and it brings together bright minds from across the country, allowing them to showcase their groundbreaking research.
Parke initially heard about the Undergraduate Research Competition from his professor, Dr. Scott Pearson. Once he decided to enter the competition, he began brainstorming potential research topics. He had been interning at a financial investment firm, and he noticed that several bills were proposed to ban trading for Congress altogether. Out of that came the idea for his topic, “The U.S. Congress, Trading Just Inside the Line.”
“I had a theory that there was a way to take public information that is reported by Congress itself, and determine whether or not representatives are insider trading with the knowledge that they receive as being congressional members,” Parke explained. “I looked into the legal parameters, and I wanted to see if it could be proven that members of Congress were actually insider trading.”
Parke’s third place achievement is a testament to his outstanding research, rigorous methodology, and compelling presentation skills. “I want to give all the glory to God – to Him be the glory, not me,” said Parke.
In addition to the APEE award, Gabriel Parke also received PBA’s Outstanding Graduate Award from the Marshall E. Rinker Sr. School of Business, which he was honored for at Commencement. This achievement takes into consideration grades, extracurriculars, involvement and community service.
“I was honored to be awarded. I was actually really working hard for it, and I was actively trying to represent the business school well and be a light. I was really blessed that I won.”
He has post-grad plans to start a territorial sales job in Orlando, Florida at one of the largest chemical manufacturers in the world. He will be working with companies like Publix, Walmart, Amazon, and more. “I am really happy about it,” Parke said. “I have been praying about this job for a long time and it has been in the works for a few months.”