Friday, December 29, 2006

Scholarship Application Essay, aka My Vision

I left university in 1997 to take a position working with at-risk children at Agape Corner Boarding School in Durham, NC. I became a 7th grade math teacher and house staff, responsible for cooking and other chores, and sharing a room with the students. I remained at Agape Corner for the next seven years teaching several subjects at multiple levels including math, literature, grammar, history, bible, Spanish, ethics, high school biology, and economics. I also was given administrative responsibilities including co-principal and acting principal positions. I was responsible for evaluating and recommending curriculum, student discipline, facilities management, and recreational development.
I was first asked to teach economics in 2003, and was provided with a textbook. I had no background in the subject and began reading the book in preparation for my classes. I was enchanted. The models provided by economics shed new light on all that I had previously studied and taught. I was particularly amazed at the relationship economics has to ethics and law, and the insights gained into history. When teaching history through the lenses of law and economics, “following the money” and the power instead of the battles, my students showed renewed interest. I became enthusiastic about the subject, and enjoyed sharing my excitement with my classes.
I realized that we were learning concepts which were extremely practical and powerful which I had not learned in my primary education, though I attended an excellent college prep school and had two years of university. I wondered how many others had never learned the principles economics and common law had to offer and began to develop a vision for teaching practical economics in a new way, reaching new populations. I needed more formal education to achieve my goals.
I applied and was re-admitted to NCSU in the fall of 2005. Sometime during that year I learned of the Accelerated Masters Program, and decided to pursue it. I intend to demonstrate initiative and competence by excelling in this program in order to improve my chances at gaining admittance to a top rated school for a Ph.D. in law, ethics, or economics. I plan to take the highest level courses for which I am qualified and to consistently challenge myself. Beyond the core curriculum I have interests in the theory and philosophy of economics as well as the history of economic thought.
The catallactic methodology of Austrian Economics meshes well with the pacifistic renunciation of force embodied by the Christian Ethics of Dietrich von Bonhoeffer, John Howard Yoder, and more recently Stanley Hauerwas, whom I sat under informally for a semester at Duke University. The unique nature of American institutions owes largely to the development of common law and constitutionally limited government in England. I believe a systematic approach for those adhering to the peculiar Christian ethic as described by the above theologians, informed by Austrian Economics (which has struggled, and will ultimately fail in my opinion, to identify an ethical imperative for its foundation), and the institutions of common law which have their foundation in the Anglo Judeo-Christian heritage, most particularly the book of Judges, is possible.
My long term vision is to have access to teach at any mainstream university and to write extensively in academic forums on the relationships among these various disciplines. I would also like to develop a workshop or seminar to share the useful principles of this system with the many people who have never had any formal education on these models. Finally, I would like to engage the population at large through journalism, books, and other media outlets.
My dedication to this pursuit is demonstrated by the courses I have opted to take since returning to school, and my recognition on the Dean’s list all three of these semesters. I strive for excellence, and to make the educational experience as fruitful for those around me as for myself.


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