“Dean took the time to look for an important gap in the literature and collected great data to answer the question. He found very important data, of which I was unaware, that has improved the understanding of the role of H1B visas in our labor markets.” 

That is the testimony of Dr. Christopher Bolinger, who supervised Dean Farmer `22, a political science and economics student who was selected for the 2021 Presidential Fellows Program at the Study of the Presidency and Congress (CSPC). 

The university-wide fellowship is made possible by the generous contributions of  Dean’s Advisory Council member Nate Morris, CEO of Rubicon and founder of the Morris Foundation. His gift established CSPC’s Nate Morris Fellowship at the University of Kentucky.

Farmer participated in a series of virtual leadership conferences and wrote a research paper on a topic of his choice - the impact of H-1B visa beneficiaries on the wages of domestic workers. His outstanding paper was recognized by the CSPS and awarded the James R. Moffett Award for the Most Original Paper on the Modern Presidency.  

“Dean is a bright student who is committed to both his community and our country,” said Bollinger. “He is deeply interested in ensuring that our country’s public policy is formed by careful understanding of the issues and both the intended and unintended consequences.”

What sparked your interest in the Presidential Fellows program?
I first heard about the Presidential Fellows program from a few of my professors. Dr. Darshak Patel, Dr. Wendy Liu, and Dr. Serenity Wright all helped introduce me to the program, and I am incredibly thankful for all of their help up to and throughout the Fellowship application process. Of course, I also would not have had this opportunity without the support and assistance of Mr. Nate Morris, to whom I am also incredibly grateful. Because I am interested in government, politics, and public policy, I realized that I wanted to be a part of this program!

How does the program align with your career goals?
After graduation, I hope to go to law school. I believe that a complete understanding of the American legal system involves an understanding of the processes by which laws are created and the effect of laws on the public. In this regard, the program lines up perfectly with my career interests.

Would you recommend the program to others? 

Absolutely. It was a phenomenal experience. All the events were virtual this year, but I still had the opportunity to conduct very exciting research and meet incredible people!

What did you appreciate most about participating in this program?
Without question, the people that I had the opportunity to meet! I got to speak with amazing policymakers and government officials. I also got to know the other Fellows, who are all absolutely brilliant. 

What is the most valuable thing you’ve learned from this experience?

I gained a greater appreciation for the processes and considerations necessary in policymaking in the United States. Actually getting to speak to current and former American legislators, government officials, leaders in the private sector, and other policymakers allowed me to gain a more comprehensive understanding of governmental processes in the United States.