Hope College senior Emma Nyhof of Holland will be traveling to Washington, D.C., on April 20 to present research in economics that she has been conducting as one of only six students nationwide to receive a competitive 2017-18 Values & Capitalism Young Scholar Award.

An initiative of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), the program seeks to foster high-quality academic research and writing by awarding $5,000 tuition scholarships to up to six Christian undergraduate students — preferably rising juniors or seniors — who are studying public policy or economics.  Students are awarded scholarships for demonstrating significant promise in their field of research and a commitment to AEI’s mission of expanding liberty, increasing individual opportunity and strengthening free enterprise.

Applying for the scholarship includes submitting a proposal for pursuing a rigorous, original research project on an issue of public policy or economics mentored by a faculty advisor during the year that the scholarship is provided.  The recipients present their research to a panel of experts at AEI’s headquarters in the spring, with the completed work also published on the Values & Capitalism website.  Nyhof will be presenting her work on Friday, April 20.

Nyhof has been investigating how behavioral economic theory may explain some of the decision-making surrounding the “benefits cliff” — the high effective marginal tax rates faced by benefits program participants when they increase their work hours.  She hopes to suggest specific ways to amend means-tested welfare programs that would smooth out the benefits cliff and ultimately help people reach self-sufficiency.  She is being advised by Hope faculty member Dr. Steven McMullen, who is an associate professor of economics and director of Klesis, a program that mentors students considering an academic career with an emphasis on Christian vocation.

Nyhof is majoring in economics and psychology.  She is a 2014 graduate of Holland Christian High School and the daughter of Jaron and Vicki Nyhof of Holland.

The other five 2017-18 scholarship recipients are from Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee; Hillsdale College; Providence College in Rhode Island; Seattle-Pacific University in Washington; and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.