Exploring Complex Solutions for a Complex World Fellowship

An online, semester-long program for high school students interested in understanding political, economic, and social life. This program is part of the Don Lavoie Fellowship.

Applications for the 2024-2025 academic year are due September 30, 2024. The early priority deadline is July 31, 2024.

Application review will begin after the deadline and we anticipate decisions will begin to be announced approximately eight weeks after the deadline.

Details

The total award of up to $750 includes: 

  • A stipend
  • All required readings for online events
  • Advice on research, college, and career

Qualifications

In order to be accepted into the Exploring Complex Solutions for a Complex World Fellowship program, you must be both of the following:

  • Enrolled in highschool  
  • Be at least 16-years-old by the start of the fellowship

About the Fellowship

The Exploring Complex Solutions for a Complex World Fellowship is a competitive, renewable, and online fellowship program for high school students. Fellowships are open to students from any high school program (whether public, private, or home school) who are interested in understanding political, economic, and social life. This program is part of the Don Lavoie Fellowship. Exploring Complex Solutions Fellows attend a series of online activities, including an online discussion portal and online reading discussion sessions led by various Hayek Program scholars that introduce them to the complexity of the world around us, the challenges of planning, and the importance of trade-offs. Fellows will join a network of Mercatus students, alumni, faculty, and scholars who are conducting and engaging with cutting edge research in contemporary political economy.

Each cohort participating in this online program will participate during one semester of the academic year. Each participant will receive copies of the books to be discussed, which may include Applied Mainline Economics by Matthew D. Mitchell and Peter J. Boettke; Do Markets Corrupt Our Morals? by Virgil Henry Storr and Ginny Seung Choi; Community Revival in the Wake of Disaster by Virgil Henry Storr, Stefanie Haeffele, and Laura E. Grube; Doing Bad by Doing Good by Christopher J. Coyne; and National Economic Planning by Don Lavoie. Those selected to participate in the fellowship can expect to directly interact with Mercatus Center scholars who hold doctoral degrees in economics political science, and sociology, read approximately 100-page selections from each of the 4 books assigned, and to spend roughly 2 hours of time each week participating in asynchronous, online discussions with other high school students and Mercatus Scholars on the reading selections and supplemental materials. Participants will gain experience thinking critically about key issues and participating in discussions with others from a variety of backgrounds. This experience will help prepare students for college and provide an opportunity to receive academic advice from scholars and staff.

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Have more questions? 

    Students enrolled in high school at a public or private institution or in homeschool, who will be at least 16 years of age at the start of the fellowship, and are interested in understanding political, economic, and social life are encouraged to apply.

    Yes, if accepted into the program, your parent or guardian must also provide their permission for you to participate in the Exploring Complex Solutions for a Complex World Fellowship Programming.

    Yes, the Exploring Complex Solutions for a Complex World Fellowship is open to any student interested in learning about the complexities of the world around us.

    Any student of any nationality enrolled at any high school, in the US or abroad, and is at least 16 years old at the start of programming is eligible to apply for the Exploring Complex Solutions for a Complex World Fellowship. The program will be conducted entirely online.

    To apply to the Exploring Complex Solutions for a Complex World Fellowship, click the “Apply” button above or below, and complete the online application, including:

    • Short essays about:

      • Your high school and extracurricular career so far

      • The disciplines you are interested in studying for college

      • Your political, economic, and social interests

      • What you hope to get out of the program

    • A current resume/CV (optional)

    The fellowship will focus on two major activities:

    • Online reading group sessions: Fellows will meet virtually four times throughout the semester in organized reading groups to discuss books written by Hayek Program Scholars. All online reading group sessions will be held outside of regular high school attendance hours.
    • Online discusion portal: The main discussion forum will include videos, podcast episodes, and readings on the key ideas of the complexity of the world around us, the problems of planning, and the importance of trade-offs and prompts for written discussion.

    Exploring Complex Solutions for a Complex World Fellows are required to have internet access to participate in this program.

    Specific dates are subject to some variability and are communicated to successful applicants.

    Exploring Complex Solutions for a Complex World fellows are required to:

    • Be enrolled in high school

    • Be at least 16 years old by the start of the fellowship

    • Receive permission from a parent or guardian

    • Have access to computer equipment and internet capabilities to participate in the fellowship

    • Attend and actively participate in all aspects of the scheduled online programming including:

      • Regularly logging into the discussion portal to discuss the curriculum with scholars and other students in the program

      • Submitting a thoughtful question in the discussion portal on the required readings on time

      • Participating in 4 scheduled 60-minute online discussion sessions with students and scholars

      • Reading the required material so they are prepared for the online group discussion sessions

      • Preparing questions or comments to bring up during the discussion

      • Joining the scheduled sessions on time

      • Completing a short evaluation survey following each module

    • Be honest, responsible, fair, and civil in all interactions through the program

    Fellows are responsible for making sure the program has up to date contact information, including email and valid postal address. Readings will be distributed electronically (if applicable) and by post in advance of each online reading group discussion. Supplemental materials including podcasts, videos, and journal articles, will be posted in the online discussion portal for fellows to access as appropriate throughout programming.

    Successful fellows dedicate 2-3 hours each week to their participation in Exploring Complex Solutions. It is true, however, that you will get out of this experience what you put into it.

    Yes, the Exploring Complex Solutions for a Complex World Fellowship is a supplemental program and fellows may hold jobs, other fellowships, and participate in extracurricular activities during their time in the program.

    Each fellow is responsible for making the appropriate verifications of their eligibility to receive funding from the Mercatus Center. Fellows should check with their guardians, home departments, international student offices, or private foundations (as appropriate) to verify their eligibility. Fellows are responsible for any taxes on the honoraria provided for participation in the Exploring Complex Solutions for a Complex World Fellowship.

    Yes, Exploring Complex Solutions for a Complex World Fellows are eligible to apply to those Don Lavoie Fellowship once they are accepted to an undergraduate program. Those who continue their studies in graduate school are also encouraged to apply to the Mercatus Center's graduate student fellowship programs.

    Yes, please do.

    Dr. Don Lavoie was the David H. and Charles G. Koch Chair of Economics at the School of Public Policy, George Mason University. He received a BS in Computer Science from Worcester Polytechnic Institute in 1973 and a PhD in Economics in 1981 from New York University. His research focused on the use of knowledge in economic and organizational contexts. He is best known as the author of two books published in 1985, Rivalry and Central Planning and National Economic Planning: What is Left?, which elaborate on the “Austrian” school’s critique of centralized economic planning.

    Don Lavoie was the embodiment of an academic entrepreneur, having been an active faculty member of the economics, public policy, and cultural studies PhD programs at George Mason University as well as innovator in teaching methods, interdisciplinary collaboration, and the pursuit of understanding in social science. He also advanced a teaching philosophy founded on a deep engagement with texts and discussions where students and teachers from multiple disciplines learn from, respect, and collaborate with one another. He was fascinated by and experimented with new technologies, including hypertext and online class discussions, where students could engage with texts in new ways, communicate with one another, and determine much of their own path of study. Lavoie’s intellectual curiosity and integrity has been an inspiration and guiding force for his students and their students, and his pedagogical philosophy has influenced much of the curriculum and activities critical to Mercatus fellowship programs. With this fellowship, we aim to continue his legacy by utilizing online discussion platforms to expose more students to the Mercatus approach to political economy and policy analysis.

    For more information see: https://donlavoie.org/

    Email [email protected] regarding general questions about the Exploring Complex Solutions for a Complex World Fellowship or questions about your application materials or application status.

    Ready to get started?

    Confirm your qualifications

    In order to be accepted into the Exploring Complex Solutions for a Complex World Fellowship program, you must be both of the following:

    • Enrolled in high school 
    • Be at least 16-years-old by the start of the fellowship