Dyer Fellows - Coastal Carolina University
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Dyer Fellowship Program

The Edgar Dyer Institute for Leadership and Public Policy brings together a group of Coastal Carolina students from all colleges and degree programs to participate in the Dyer Fellowship Program.

The Edgar Dyer Institute for Leadership and Public Policy engages students in active learning opportunities where they gain knowledge in various areas of policy research. Students connect academic theory to practice, becoming engaged civic-minded citizens.

Dyer Fellows receive a monthly stipend and their expenses paid for a spring trip to Washington, D.C. They also meet regularly with a dedicated faculty adviser to guide their research throughout the semester.

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2023 Dyer Fellows

Jessica Cedeno is a senior from Conway, SC, majoring in public health with a concentration in healthcare administration. She is a member of the HTC Honors College, the Health Promotion Honors Society (ESG), and the Pre-Health Professions Association. Cedeno is interested in helping others understand health issues that could affect their lifestyles and educating them on how to embrace healthful behaviors for themselves and their families. As part of the Dyer Fellowship, Cedeno will research childhood obesity in South Carolina public schools. She aims to develop a policy that allows schools to work one-on-one with parents and students by providing nutritional and physical activity check-ups. The goal is to decrease childhood obesity rates throughout South Carolina. After graduation, she plans to attend graduate school and study healthcare administration.

Research Topic: Addressing Alarming Childhood Obesity Rates in South Carolina Middle Schools: The Importance of Structured Recess, Club Sports, and Physical Education

Katelyn Cilino is a senior from Brick, NJ, majoring in sustainability and coastal resilience with a concentration in science and ecosystems. She will also earn a minor in environmental science. Cilino is passionate about a variety of environmental issues and their solutions. Cilino works with Sustain Coastal as a student educator on sustainability initiatives. Cilino is the founder and President of CCU's Sustainability Club and a member of the Green Team’s Zero Waste Initiative. As part of the Dyer Fellowship, Cilino will examine the local-level ordinances that prohibit the single-use plastic items, such as grocery bags, and hopes to shed light on the benefits of such ordinances on the local eco-systems. Upon graduation, Cilino aspires to be a high school environmental science teacher or a sustainability manager in the business or educational sector. Research Topic: The problem of single-use plastics and the effectiveness of local-government in prevention of their use.

Connor Denny-Lybbert is a senior from West Columbia, SC. He is majoring in political science with a minor in political and economic thought. He has a strong interest in finding sustainable solutions for public transportation in suburban and rural areas. As a Dyer Fellow, Denny-Lybbert will be investigating ways to improve and expand public transportation options and alternative means of transportation in Conway, SC, with the goal of increasing accessibility to these services and reducing reliance on cars. After graduation, he plans to explore graduates studies in the law and or political science.

Research Topic: Investigating Public Transportation Solutions at Coastal Carolina University

Keegan Gregg is a senior from Melbourne, FL, majoring in intelligence and national security studies. He is passionate about finding a policy for American energy that looks to serve the American people now and in the future. As a Dyer Fellow, Keegan will research how a well-rounded energy policy can be implemented to best utilize all forms of emerging technologies. Keegan is exploring job opportunities within the intelligence community  as well as graduate studies in business administration. He hopes to one day continue he work as a financial analyst in the private sector while pursuing a career in intelligence.

Research Topic: Looking Forward – America’s horizon on Energy Policy

Diana Hernandez is a senior from Myrtle Beach, SC, majoring in health administration. She has a passion in for health analytical data and, as a result, she will focus on the opioid crisis in Horry County using data analysis and visualization programs to highlight areas of need and provide solutions. CCU will serve as an area of study to assess the current resources and expanding care by promoting equity. Upon graduation, Hernandez hopes to work to expand access to medical services and care within the community and to further her education in graduate school.

Research Topic: The Opioid Crisis and Crime in Chicago: A Data Analysis

Brogan Hurd is a junior from Baltimore, MD, majoring in intelligence and national security with a minor in German. Hurd is a part of the Women in Intelligence and National Security student group and the sorority of Alpha Xi Delta. For her fellowship, Hurd will examine the legal authorization for collecting metadata from U.S. citizens and businesses for intelligence means. Her research will review current and past laws, as well as whistleblowers and their role in the developing events leading to ethical and security issues the nation faces today. Hurd strives to achieve a balance between the need to protect the privacy of Americans and the need to navigate the digital age all the while protecting the United States’ classified information systems. After graduation, Hurd plans to attend law school.

Research Topic: Data Privacy, Data Security, and Minimization in the United States

Avery Mcilwaine is from Alpharetta, GA, and is a recreation and sport management major with a minor in Spanish. She is also a team captain of CCU's women’s lacrosse team. As part of her fellowship, she will research how the verbiage of Title IX of the Patsy T. Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act applies to policies and regulations regarding transgender athletic participation. She will analyze the potential need for new policies from the governing bodies of collegiate athletic programs to address discrimination while still protecting the rights of female athletes. Additionally, her research will further explore the implications of amending Title IX based on a motivation of athletics when the amendment was initially aimed at educational purposes more broadly.

Research Topic: Title IX Today: Analyzing the Policies and Regulations Regarding Transgender Athlete Participation

Tyler Rielly is senior from Myrtle Beach, SC, majoring in both political science and in applied statistics. Rielly is interested in data analysis and believes appropriate data visualization and analysis can lead to solving public problems at the local, state, and federal levels. As a Dyer Fellow, Rielly is researching trends in voter demographics and will analyze methods to increase voter turnout. Rielly believes viewing previous election records on variables such as turnout and geography could bring to light voting barriers for distinct population groups in South Carolina. After graduating, Tyler plans to attend graduate school and study data analytics.

Research Topic: Solving the problem of voter turnout

  • Dyer Fellows, Washington, DC 2018 - March 2018

    2018 Dyer Fellows Go to Washington, DC

    (From Left to Right): Nicholas Smith, Emily Taylor, Alexandria Putman, Allie Sheets, and John Quinn)

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  • Dyer Fellows visited Washington D.C., where they were invited to tour the capitol grounds with Congressman Tom Rice.

    Touring U.S. capitol grounds with Congressman Tom Rice

    The Dyer Fellows visited Washington D.C. where they were invited to tour U.S. capitol grounds with Congressman Tom Rice.

  • Dyer Website Etiquette Dinner (1018x729)

    Fellowship students attend etiquette dinner.

    The Dyer Institute hosted and etiquette dinner for all CCU fellowship students. The event was led by Debbie Connor, PhD., Vice President of Campus Life and Student Engagement.

  • The Dyer Fellows visited the Wild Blue Ropes Team Building Course in Charleston. The goal of the trip was to focus on team building and team bonding.

    Wild Blue Ropes Team Building Course

    The Dyer Fellows visited the Wild Blue Ropes Team Building Course in Charleston. The goal of the trip was to focus on team building and team bonding.

  • The Dyer Fellowship program annually holds a Research Symposium for the Fellows to present their year long research project. Each student focuses on a public policy topic of their interest.

    Dyer Research Symposium

    The Dyer Fellowship program annually holds a Research Symposium for the Fellows to present their year long research project. Each student focuses on a public policy topic of their interest.

  • Workshop

    Interactive Workshops

    The Dyer Fellowship program hosts a series of workshops for Fellows which cover important matters such as how to create and execute surveys, write policy briefs and craft press releases.

Research Topics

Icon - SustainSustainability and Environment
Analysis of southern flood insurance policies
Beach policy analysis of South Carolina
Clean and safe drinking water policies and accessibility
Climate change and flood mitigation in South Carolina
Future of sustainably through community-based tools
Impacts of flooding on socially vulnerable regions of Horry County
Public trust resources and sacrifice zones 
Sea level rise in Georgetown County, SC
Single-use plastics and prevention policies

Icon - Family Family, Education, and Poverty
Causal factors of basic need insecurity among college students
Community Development Block Grants in South Carolina
Childhood obesity and the need for recess and physical education
Parental leave and the need for improvements
Teacher retention in South Carolina’s “Corridor of Shame”

Icon - Gender Health and Gender
Examining sexual health education 
LGBTQ+ students’ concerns as they enter the workforce
Implications of marijuana decriminalization
Improving health outcomes for rural communities through literacy
Opioid crisis and crime 
Opioid overdose prevention policies and their effectiveness
STI prevention on college campuses
Transgender health care policies in the US prison system
Title IX policies/regulations regarding transgender athletes

Icon - Vote Elections, Voting, Governance
America’s horizon on energy policy
Election security reform in South Carolina
Firearm regulations and how to close the loopholes 
Gerrymandering’s effects on public voting
Inefficiencies and shortfalls of the US Postal Service
Judicial selection vs election 
Solving the problem of voter turnout

Icon - PhoneMedia, Privacy, and The Digital Age
American’s media bias and ‘fake news’ phenomenon
Data privacy, security, and minimization in the US
Exploitation of personal rights and the lack of digital privacy 
Media literacy and reducing negative effects of the internet 
Privacy laws and their impact on the US intelligence community
Privacy rights in the digital age of autonomous computing systems

Icon - Chart Community and Policing
Community engagement and resiliency 
Dismantling the school-to-prison pipeline
Eliminating cash bail in SC 
Inequality driven by the cash bail system among minorities 
Pedestrian safety and the need for school zones on college campuses
Police brutality effects on mental health 
Public transportation solutions for Coastal Carolina University