October 27, 2015

Students Selected to Receive Research Fellowships 2014-2015

PBA News

Florida residents Evan Berlanti and Molly Michael have been selected to receive research fellowships from The LeMieux Center for Public Policy at Palm Beach Atlantic University.

Through The LeMieux Center Fellows Program, these two upper-level undergraduate students will pursue an independent study of current or emerging public policy issues concerning individual freedoms, values, rights, religious liberties and institutions in the United States.

Berlanti, a junior from Bokeelia, selected the rhetorical framework used by both sides of the debate on the legalization of medical marijuana in Florida as the research focus of his fellowship. Dr. Francisco Plaza, associate professor of political science, will support Berlanti in his research project.

Berlanti is majoring in history and is a student in the University’s Frederick M. Supper Honors Program. He is the director of new business development for Seongo Inc., in West Palm Beach, an internet solutions and marketing firm that he helped establish. He serves as an executive cabinet member for the University’s Student Government, as a peer mentor, Presidential Ambassador, and resident assistant. He was awarded the first Barbara H. Ferrin Endowed Scholarship, which is goes to one freshman with a high school GPA of 3.5 or higher; a minimum SAT score of 1250 or ACT score of 28; and who plans to major in English, history, political science, pre-law or philosophy. Primarily home-schooled, Berlanti was involved in the dual enrollment program at Edison State College. He was active in Cape Christian Fellowship in Cape Coral as leader of the youth group’s worship band.

The effect of the Patient Protection and Affordable Healthcare Act of 2010 is the topic selected by Fort Myers resident Molly Michael. A senior, Michael plans to focus on the quantitative and qualitative aspects of the legislation in her research. Dr. Linda Raeder, associate professor of political science, will support Michael in her research.

A political science major with a history minor, Michael is a student in the University’s Frederick M. Supper Honors Program. She is a writing coach for the Center for Writing Excellence at PBA and serves as a Presidential Ambassador. She was a legal intern with attorney Scott Hawkins, former president of the Florida Bar Association. She served as a political intern with Florida House member Mark Pafford. Last summer, she was a blogger for Superior Virtual (digital marketing).

The fellows receive a stipend to cover the cost of an independent study course as well as expenses, such as travel, incurred during the course up to $2,500 as well as ongoing guidance for their research project from former U.S. Senator George LeMieux. The application process included submission of a research proposal, résumé and a letter of support for the research from a faculty mentor. Selection of the fellows was based on the application and an interview.

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