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Mancur Olson Scholars selected for spring semester

The Center for the Study of Public Choice and Private Enterprise at NDSU has selected students to participate in the Mancur Olson Scholars reading groups for the spring semester. The program, named after North Dakota native and NDSU alumnus Mancur Olson, is a semester-long interdisciplinary learning and scholarship opportunity open to all students. 

Scholars meet throughout the semester to discuss readings on an important issue. This semester, the center is hosting two reading groups – Regulating Food and Vice and Humanomics. The Regulating Food and Vice group focuses on state and federal regulations and how effective they are at achieving their goals. Topics include genetically modified foods, agricultural economics, drugs, gambling and other vices. Ten students have been selected to participate in the group, and each will receive a $500 scholarship.

Humanomics is an advanced reading group open to students with previous experience in the Mancur Olson Scholars program. Four students will study modern economics through the lens of human relationships. They also will travel to Creighton University in April to attend a weekend colloquium with students from across the region. Participants will receive a $250 scholarship. 

Reading groups enhance the university experience by helping students meet peers from other disciplines, explore new ideas and develop scholarly skills. Participants learn how to express their thoughts and listen to others’ perspectives in an exchange of ideas. 

“The vision behind the reading group was to create a space for students to engage in civil discourse,” said Jeremy Jackson, director of the Center for the Study of Public Choice and Private Enterprise. “There’s a lot of uncivil arguing on social media today, but there isn’t necessarily a place where students are encouraged to listen and discuss challenging ideas in an interdisciplinary setting. That’s what we wanted to be.” 

Students selected to participate in the Regulating Food and Vice reading group include: 

• Calvin Benson, Ham Lake, Minnesota 

• Jasmin Kaempfer, Gettorf, Germany 

• Kole Nichols, Moorhead, Minnesota 

• Gwen Scheresky, Max, North Dakota 

• Jordan Thielman, Buffalo, Minnesota 

• Prajakta Warang, Mumbai, India 

• Reed Petersen, Rochester, Minnesota 

• Turner Gunderson, Eden Prairie, Minnesota 

• Matthew Friedman, Mendota Heights, Minnesota 

• Colby Warzecha, Sartell, Minnesota

Students selected to participate in the Humanomics reading group include: 

• Menah Khodair, Cairo, Egypt 

• Michael Straus, West Fargo, North Dakota 

• Kole Nichols, Moorhead, Minnesota 

• Calvin Benson, Ham Lake, Minnesota 

This is the fourth cohort of Mancur Olson Scholars. Students are selected through a competitive application process. 

The Center for the Study of Public Choice and Private Enterprise produces research and programming on issues relevant to North Dakota and the Upper Great Plains region to advance knowledge of the sources and causes of human well-being and the distinctive roles of entrepreneurship, free markets, philanthropy, private enterprise and public policy. The center is housed in the NDSU Department of Agribusiness and Applied Economics at Barry Hall.

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