In This Section

Dyer Institute News


April 2017: Annual Dyer Research Symposium

Dyer Fellows InvitationDyer Fellows celebrated the end of their semester at the Dyer Research Symposium – the event was an opportunity for Fellows to present their semester-long research to the CCU Community. The 2016-2017 Fellows presented on topics ranging from big data privacy to community-based counter extremism efforts. “The Symposium is a year-end celebration of the fellows’ accomplishments as Dyer Fellows,” says Jacqueline Kurlowski, director of the Dyer Institute. “We were so pleased many CCU community members, including Edgar Dyer, President David DeCenzo, Provost Ralph Byington and Dean Dan Ennis were able to attend the event and support our awesome students.” The purpose of the Dyer Fellowship is to foster experiential learning opportunities and gain knowledge in various areas of policy research. If you are interested in becoming a Dyer Fellow, please visit here


March 2017: Dyer Fellows visit D.C.

Dyer Fellows visit White House in Washington D.C. Fellows prepared to enter the Blue Room of the White House. Photographed (L to R): Celeste Benson, Maria Karahalios, Bethany Bebik, Rachael Houston and Ariel Lasher.Fellows prepared to enter the Blue Room of the White House. Photographed (L to R): Celeste Benson, Maria Karahalios, Bethany Bebik, Rachael Houston and Ariel Lasher.

It is no secret that CCU students love to travel, but if they are interested in public problems and public solutions, there is no better place to visit than Washington, D.C.

“Without a doubt, the D.C. trip is a major highlight of the fellowship program,” says Holley Tankersley, associate dean in the Edwards College of Humanities and Fine Arts. “Students gain so much from the networking opportunities facilitated by the Dyer Institute. This year, students met with staffers and directors from agencies such as the Federal Trade Commotion, the PEW Environmental Trust, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. These are the professionals in jobs that our students hope to one day hold! It’s a tremendous opportunity for networking. As a bonus, these experts weigh in on the students’ policy research projects.”

In addition to seeing the opera Don Giovanni performed at the Kennedy Center, students had a personal tour of the U.S. Capitol building with Representative Tom Rice (R-S.C.), toured the White House, and met with a polling strategist from Anzalone Liszt Grove, the agency who managed President Barack Obama’s and Hillary Clinton’s opinion polling during their respective presidential campaigns. Plus, there was a lot of sightseeing.

Jacqueline Kurlowski, director of the Dyer Institute for Leadership and Public Policy, adds, “For a few of our students, this was their first time in our nation’s capital, and I am glad we could make the experience so special.”


February 2017: Dyer Fellows workshops offering skills training for the real world

A signature element of the Dyer Fellowship is the series of workshops where students are afforded the opportunity to enhance their academic research with real-world, practitioner-based tools. The Dyer Institute hosts four workshops for their fellowship students that cover a series of specialized topics. Workshops are an opportunity for Coastal Carolina University staff and faculty experts to share their professional knowledge with students, and this process is essential. Students do not typically receive training on these types of varied writing styles designed for professional audiences. Workshop coordinators craft interactive content for the fellowship students then move into one-on-one sessions with students to finalize their work. As a result of each workshop, Fellows produces a tangible product, e.g., a survey, brief, etc., which becomes part of the fellows’ policy research portfolio. 

Dyer Institute WorkshopDrew Kurlowski, Ph.D., assistant professor of politics, leads a workshop on survey development.

Workshop topics include:

  • The Survey Development Workshop covers how to craft a survey tool and offers examples of survey methodology, sampling methods and provides students with training on how to avoid surveyor bias. By the end of the fellowship, a fully formed data collection tool (polling/survey) related to the fellow’s policy area will be developed.
  • The Policy Brief Workshop covers how to craft a policy brief and reviews the importance of brief-styled writing and its usefulness when communicating to policy makers and elected officials. By the end of the course, a fully formed policy brief will be developed by the fellows who are able to use and distribute it to the broader community.
  • The Press Release Workshop covers how to craft a press release and gives guidance on press releases and the methods behind effective issue framing in the media. By the end of the course, a fully formed press release will be developed by the fellows.
  • The Professional Writing Workshop covers how to use APA writing style effectively in professional writing. This workshop trains fellows on writing styling and give them the chance to work through APA issues within their own research projects. By the end of the course, students will have developed and effectively formatted an APA-styled research paper and appendices.‌

February 2017: Monthlong lecture series to discuss Europe, China, trade and nuclear proliferation

Dyer Institute Great DecisionsGreat Decisions participants meet for the coffee social prior to the event

The Dyer Institute for Leadership and Public Policy is co-hosting the Great Decisions in Foreign Policy Lecture program with the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, Department of Politics, and the American Studies and Community Outreach office at CCU. Developed and disseminated by the Foreign Policy Association, the lecture program is the oldest and largest grass-roots world affairs educational program of its kind. A series of four lectures will take place during consecutive Saturdays in February, and each lecture is an opportunity to learn, discuss and debate international affairs, national security and U.S. foreign policy.

This year’s topics include “Future of Europe” (Feb. 4), “Trade and Politics” (Feb. 11), “Nuclear Proliferation” (Feb. 18) and “Conflict in the South China Sea” (Feb. 25). The series is for anyone who desires a deeper understanding of the current challenges the United States faces in the world today.

The lectures will be held at the Myrtle Beach Education Center (900 79th Ave. N., Myrtle Beach). A coffee social begins at 9:30 a.m. followed by a 10 a.m. to noon presentation. This event is free and open to the public. The Great Decisions program is offered in conjunction with Coastal Carolina’s American Studies curriculum. Please contact Carol Osbourne at (843)349-2658 for information on enrollment in AMST 302/502 and course credit.‌


January 2017: Dyer Fellows visit South Carolina Supreme Court and General Assembly

Dyer Fellows with Kay HearnFellows enjoy lunch with S.C. Supreme Court Justice Kaye G. Hearn. Photographed (L to R): Ariel Lasher, Maria Karahalios, Justice Kaye G. Hearn, Celeste Benson and Bethany Bebik.

Just days into the first week of the Spring 2017 semester, the Dyer Fellows traveled to Columbia, S.C., for their first experiential learning activity. The morning was spent at the S.C. Supreme Court and the afternoon at the General Assembly. The day’s events proved to be a fruitful experience as students explored state-level policy considerations and examined the judicial process as it relates the organization of government and the separation of powers.

The day began with breakfast with Justice Kaye G. Hearn in her chambers. The group discussed the day’s cases and learned about Justice Hearn’s background and the workings of the state’s highest court. On the docket were three oral arguments regarding contract law, an unreasonable search and seizure potentially violating the Fourth Amendment, and a products liability case as it pertains to comparative negligence. Fellows attended the oral arguments and were specially welcomed and recognized by Chief Justice Donald Beatty at the call to order of court. Following oral arguments, fellows attended a private luncheon with Justice Hearn and her law clerks and continued the discussions about the fellows’ policy interests and how they related to currently pending, or previously heard, cases before the court.

Senator Luke Rankin (R-S.C.) represents District 33, which includes the CCU campus. Sen. Rankin is the chairman of Senate Judiciary Committee and originally developed the idea of bringing the Dyer Fellows to Columbia for a daylong visit. Frederick Wood, chair of the department of politics and faculty coordinator of South Carolina Student Legislature (SCSL), said “Offering students the chance to engage with legislators and their staffs is a valuable and worthwhile experience. For many students, this can spark interest in state-level governance and can open doors to future career paths.”‌


January 2017: Dyer Institute welcomes the new group of Dyer Fellows, Class of 2017

The Edgar Dyer Institute for Leadership and Public Policy welcomes six new Dyer Fellows. During the one-semester fellowship, they will engage in active learning opportunities and gain knowledge in various areas of policy research. These students have diverse fields of interest ranging from public health to countering extreme terrorism. During the fellowship course (POLI-397-Q), the students will connect academic theory to practice and foster the importance of being civic-minded citizens and critical thinkers. Fellows will develop fully formed research papers on a public policy topic of their interests and will receive training on how to craft supplemental resources, including policy briefs, survey tools and a press releases. Students will also participate in group trips to Columbia, S.C., and Washington, D.C.

The following biographies highlight the Spring 2017 Dyer Fellows and demonstrate the caliber of each student associated with the program.

Bethany Bebik ImageBethany Bebik is a Coastal Carolina student from South Carolina 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.

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.

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.

Rachael Houston ImageRachael Houston is a Coastal Carolina University student from Northern Virginia 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.

Maria Karahalios imageMaria Karahalios is a Coastal Carolina University student from New Jersey 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.

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. 


November 2016: The Dyer Institute's data analytics initiative kicks off in full color 

Dyer Institute Maps installation.A Technicolor map installation in Brittain Hall kicks off the Dyer Institute’s new data analytics initiative. The five-series map installation describes median family income, poverty, lack of high school attainment, substandard housing, and veteran population, and will be on permanent display on the first floor of Brittain Hall. The maps, while beautiful to look at, describe nuances in the population at the Census track level. Tracks are sub-county divisions that are roughly equivalent to the size of neighborhoods.

Director Jacqueline Kurlowski says that examining community-level data indicators is an appropriate starting point to understanding community dynamics.

“You must remember that indicators are nothing more than descriptive signals which can weave together a narrative about what is going on within a certain geography,” she says. 

These maps are a starting point for creating mutual knowledge and understanding and can be used to measure progress in specific geographies of interest among specific populations of interest. Kurlowski says each indicator was selected for its representation of broader issues and is comparable at the national, state, county and local levels. This is important because “community-driven indicators can align programming and initiatives so that large and small public problems can be paired with appropriate public solutions.”

At the Edgar Dyer Institute for Leadership and Public Service, we believe that individuals across the community, state and nation can improve governance and solve problems by working together on a basis of mutual knowledge and understanding. Harnessing the power of public opinion and public data is important for local leaders, nonprofits and the community at large. The institute’s data analytics initiative performs data collection and analysis to support the institute’s policy consultation mission. In addition, it provides training in social science research methods for Coastal Carolina University students.  The analytics section is able to leverage pre-existing data or conduct original data collection through polling, interviews and focus groups. Key areas of focus include the collection of data, statistical analysis and data visualization.


October 2016: Reflections from the 2016 Dyer Fellows as the 2017 application process opens

‌Applications are now being accepted for the Spring 2017 group of Dyer Fellows. The Fellowship brings together a diverse group of Coastal Carolina University students to develop robust and relevant portfolios of work on a public policy topic of their interest and received specific training on how to craft supplemental research materials, including a policy brief, a survey and a press release. Fellows participated in fully funded trips to the state capitol in Columbia, South Carolina, and to Washington, D.C., to explore centers of policy formation and implementation at various levels of government.

Last year’s Dyer Fellowship students had the following reflections to share:

“The Dyer Fellowship impacted my life tremendously by giving me an opportunity to further my research interests, work with inspiring professionals in the academic field, and create stronger relationships with my professors. I feel that my work as a Dyer Fellow has highlighted my life as Coastal Carolina University student and has given me the opportunity to excel in my chosen degrees with academic honors. I gained self-confidence, pride, depth of knowledge and a clear understanding of what it means to be a scholar.” – Kelly Shelton, Dyer Fellow, 2016

“I am definitely more academically equipped now than I was before the fellowship. I have learned so much and have also had the chance to network with professionals who have so many different areas of expertise.” – Kelsey Callahan, Dyer Fellow, 2016

“This fellowship gave me an outlet outside of my normal courses and enabled me to say, ‘I can do more.’ The guidance by faculty and the encouragement to do something different was very rewarding. A singular takeaway from the fellowship was my sense of accomplishment and the knowledge that the University invested in me and the other Dyer Fellows in a way that contributed to our futures.” – Nicholas Blair, Dyer Fellow, 2016

The Dyer Institute is now accepting applications for the Spring 2017 fellowship group. Students seeking more information or who wish to apply online may visit this link. The deadline for applications is Nov. 1, 2016.


M‌ay 2016: Dyer Fellows Present Their Research at 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.The inaugural Dyer Research Symposium took place on May 4, 2016 in the Lib Jackson Student Union. The Edgar Dyer Institute for Leadership and Public Policy’s mission is to engage students in active learning opportunities where they may gain knowledge in various areas of policy research. The institute brought together a group of Coastal Carolina University students from all colleges and degree fields to participate in the 2016 Dyer Fellowship Program. The program is noncredit granting and aims to provide students with experiences that connect academic theory to practice as well as to foster the importance of civic-minded citizens. Over the course of the spring 2016 semester, Dyer Fellows have developed a fully formed research project on a public policy topic of their interest. Additionally, Fellows received specific training and attended workshops on how to craft supplemental research materials, including a policy brief, a survey tool and a press release. It is the mission of the Dyer Fellowship to ensure our fellows graduate from Coastal Carolina University with a portfolio of work that is relevant and applicable to their field of interest. In many cases, the students’ bodies of work may be the starting point for continued graduate-level research. 

Presentations included:


February 2016: Dyer Fellows Attend Team-Building Day at Wild Blue Ropes

The Dyer Fellows visited the Wild Blue Ropes aerial obstacle course in Charleston, S.C., on Feb. 6, 2016. The Dyer Fellows visited the Wild Blue Ropes aerial obstacle course in Charleston, S.C., on Feb. 6, 2016. The goal of the field trip was focused on team-building and having fun on an aerial ropes course. The day started with team-building activities on the ground and then moved to the high-flying ropes, which consisted of more than 70 challenges at 35 feet off the ground. Using climbing gear, this no-nets course allowed the Fellows to climb, swing and navigate swinging bridges, tight wires and climbing walls. A good amount of brainpower and teamwork was needed to maneuver from one challenge to the next. Throughout the day, the Fellows encouraged each other and had fun on the adult-sized jungle gym. Dyer polling coordinator, Drew Kurlowski, attended with the group and said, “I noticed some of the students were skeptical at first, but by the end of the day many overcame fears of heights and had fun in the process. It was really a rewarding experience.”

The Edgar Dyer Institute for Leadership and Public Policy’s mission is to engage students in active learning opportunities where they may gain knowledge in various areas of policy research. The institute has brought together a group of Coastal Carolina University students from all colleges and varying degree fields to participate in the 2016 Policy Fellowship Program. The goal of the program is to provide students with experiences that will connect academic theory to practice, as well as foster the importance of civic-minded citizens. Over the course of the spring 2016 semester, Dyer Fellows will develop a fully formed research paper on a public policy topic of their interest. Additionally, students will receive specific training on how to craft supplemental resources, including a policy brief, a survey tool and a press release. 


January 2016: Dyer Institute for Leadership and Public Policy Granted Membership in National Organization

First organized in 1979, the Consortium of University Public Services Organizations draws together university-based institutes that share a similar mission of conducting public-sector research for the community at large while affording students experiential learning practicums in public service. The Dyer Institute for Leadership and Public Service at Coastal Carolina University is the newest member of this prestigious group of research institutions, which include the Strom Thurmond Institute of Government and Public Affairs at Clemson University and the Joseph P. Riley Jr. Center for Livable Communities at the College of Charleston. The Dyer Institute plans to bring about student-driven grant and contract-based work in Horry County, South Carolina, for state agencies and nonprofits. Jacqueline Kurlowski, Director of the Dyer Institute, hopes that “membership and scholarship among these institutes will afford the Dyer Institute opportunities for collaboration and may expand the scope of public-service initiatives for our CCU students and our community.” The Consortium of University Public Services Organizations’ mission is to support university-based public service institutes on a range of contemporary issues and challenges. The Dyer Institute’s membership will facilitate networking, information exchange and collaboration among its member institutions. As of the beginning of 2016, the organization has 33 member institutions in 24 states.