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2017 Dyer Fellows

Bethany Bebik ImageBethany Bebik is a Coastal Carolina student from Spartanburg, S.C., who studies public health with a minor in women’s and gender studies. Bethany is passionate about sexual health, sexuality and gender. As a part of her fellowship with the Dyer Institute for Leadership and Public Policy, she will be studying the accessibility of condoms and dental dams on local college campuses. With sexually transmitted infections still a large issue in South Carolina, it is pressing that this be addressed. 

  • Research topic: Accessing STI prevention on college campuses


Celeste Benson imageCeleste Benson
 is a Coastal Carolina University student originally from Greensboro, N.C., who studies public health. Her interests include public policy, advocacy, health promotion and disease prevention. After completing her degree, she hopes to attend law school and pursue a career in public interest law. Her research as a fellow with the Dyer Institute for Leadership and Public Policy will focus on opioid overdose prevention policies recently adopted throughout the United States. These policies, which are intended to prevent deaths from opioid overdoses, allow for increased access to Naloxone, a drug that reverses the effects of opioids. Through policy analysis and a thorough review of current data and statistics, she hope to assess whether or not these policies are, in fact, preventing opioid overdose deaths, while also further investigating what, if any, modifications could be made to simultaneously target addiction prevention.

  • Research topic: Opioid overdose prevention policies adopted throughout the United States


Maggie Carr ImageMaggie Carr is a Coastal Carolina University student from Baltimore, Md., who studies intelligence and national security and psychology. She is a member of the varsity women’s lacrosse team and Alpha Delta Pi. Maggie is passionate about counter-terrorism and the radicalization process of individuals. As part of her fellowship with the Dyer Institute for Leadership and Public Policy, Maggie will be investigating the efforts of the local government to implement counter violent extremism programs in order to promote deradicalization through nonviolent means and engaging radicalized individuals or individuals at risk for radicalization in alternative ways. She hopes to define the significance of community engagement and resilience required to execute effective CVE programs. Her career aspirations include working in the intelligence community and eventually earning her master's degree in security studies. 

  • Research topic: Community engagement and resiliency through counter violent extremism programs


Rachael Houston ImageRachael Houston is a Coastal Carolina University student from Manassas, Va., who studies political science and communication. She is interested with the intersection of media and politics. As part of her fellowship with the Dyer Institute for Leadership and Public Policy, Rachael is investigating digital privacy rights. Her research will examine the lack of government regulation regarding digital privacy and reveal how companies are currently exploiting people’s digital data for financial gain. Upon graduation, Rachael plans on attending graduate school for American politics with a focus in political behavior and political communication. 

  • Research topic: The exploitation of and personal rights relating to digital privacy


Maria Karahalios imageMaria Karahalios is a Coastal Carolina University student from Asbury, N.J., who studies political science and sustainability. As part of her fellowship with the Dyer Institute for Leadership and Public Policy, Maria will research successful sustainability initiatives in order to develop a plan specific to the business sector of downtown Conway, S.C. Through her research, she plans to give local business owners the tools to strengthen their community economically, ecologically and socially. Upon graduation, Maria seeks to further her education by attending graduate school and volunteering abroad with the Peace Corps. 

  • Research topic: Powering the future sustainably through access to community-based tools


Ariel Lasher imageAriel Lasher is a Coastal Carolina University student from Upstate New York who plans to be a public interest attorney. As part of her fellowship with the Dyer Institute for Leadership and Public Policy, Ariel will research current policies and regulations surrounding access to clean and safe drinking water for Americans. Assessing current policies and standards, Ariel seeks to determine advancements and changes that can be made to improve the current situation regarding access to clean and safe drinking water, such as that of Flint, Mich. In addition, Ariel will examine court precedent in hopes of concluding whether clean water is a constitutionally protected right. 

  • Research topic: Policies and regulations surrounding access to clean and safe drinking water for Americans

2016 Dyer Fellows

John Baldwin ImageJohn Baldwin is a Coastal Carolina University student from Maryland who studies political science with a focus on domestic politics. As part of his fellowship with the Dyer Institute for Leadership and Public Policy, John will research the under-representation of the electorate regarding gun control laws at both the state and federal levels of government. Using data points from different states, John hopes to compare the gun laws, analyze crime statistics on gun violence and draw conclusions as to the understanding of which approaches work best to satisfy the need for public safety in the face of personal freedom.

  • Research Topic: Firearm Regulations: Closing the Loopholes

Nicholas Blair ImageNicholas Blair is a Coastal Carolina University student from Portsmouth, N.H., who studies finance. Nicholas is passionate about resource economics and hopes to attend a graduate program in which he can further expand his knowledge and experience in that field. As part of the Dyer Institute for Leadership and Public Policy, Nicholas will be investigating the flaws in flood insurance rates and subsidies with the goal of identifying solutions designed to make policies more economically and ecologically sustainable. His career goals include becoming a university professor as well as consulting with power utilities regarding their renewables portfolios.

  • Research Topic: Risky Shores: An Analysis of Southern Flood Insurance

Kelsey Callahan ImageKelsey Callahan is a Coastal Carolina University student from Pennsylvania who plans to be a teacher. As part of her fellowship with the Dyer Institute for Leadership and Public Policy, Kelsey will research whether or not LGBTQ students within the CCU community feel prepared to enter a heteronormative workforce. This is an important and timely issue because of the recent advancements in personal rights for those who identify with the LGBTQ community. Upon graduation, Kelsey plans on teaching middle school social studies and English in the greater Myrtle Beach area eventually earning a master’s degree in literacy.

  • Research Topic: Questioning Attitudes: Surveying LGBTQ+ Students About Their Concerns as They Enter the Workforce

Kelly Shelton ImageKelly Shelton is a Coastal Carolina University student from South Carolina who studies political science and philosophy. Kelly is passionate about sustainability and the environment. As part of her fellowship with the Dyer Institute for Leadership and Public Policy, Kelly will research the use of public trust resources such as navigable coastal waters, submerged wetlands and beaches. Her research will examine citizens’ rights to natural resources in the face of climate change and offshore drilling. 

  • Research Topic: Public Trust Resources, Sustainability, and Sacrifice Zone: A Case of Georgetown, South Carolina